How To Even Out Tan Lines, According To A Beauty Editor

By Ashleigh Cometti
A dress dilemma has one reader bothered by bikini top tan lines. Photo / Guy Coombes

This week’s Ask the Beauty Editor sees one reader write in about bothersome bikini tan lines ahead of a big event.

Dear Ash,

While I’ve LOVED how hot and sunny it’s been this summer so far, lazing about on the beach and at the bach, I’m not loving my

Despite being meticulous with my SPF application, I still tan when exposed to the sun, and as a result have what feels like permanently white lines running from my underarms and up over my shoulders.

I’m a bridesmaid for my best friend’s wedding next week and will be wearing a strapless dress. Is there anything I can do to help even out the tan lines so it won’t be glaringly obvious that I’m a sun worshipper on her big day? Thank you!


Dear Lizard,

Top marks for wearing SPF religiously all summer, even more so if the sunscreen you’ve been wearing promises broad-spectrum protection factor 30 or higher, and if you’re consistently reapplying it throughout the day.

But while sunscreen can fend off harmful UVA and UVB rays, depending on where your skin sits on the Fitzpatrick scale, you can still develop a light summer tan from being outdoors in the sun.

If time was on your side, I’d suggest a one-two-punch approach to evening up your bikini top tan line — a combination of covering up (just for a little while at least) to allow the colour difference between your summer tan and natural skin tone to fade and become less obvious, supported by using a gradual tanning product every night after you shower.

However, since you only have a matter of days before you saunter down the aisle with the rest of the bride tribe, instant tan is your best bet.

A spray tan is an excellent option if you don’t have the patience to self-tan, and depending on where you live, there are likely to be plenty of tanning experts to choose from. A handful of highly praised spray tanners in the wider Auckland region include Sarah Stanford of Sarah’s Spray Tan Studio, Hope Macdonald of Esperanza, or any of the team at Society.

If you’re slightly more adept at applying self-tan, thankfully there’s a whole host of tanning formulas that promise a quick fix. Products run the gamut from one-hour express foam formats, or transfer-proof glow givers designed to last the day only.

Whatever format you settle on, ensure you allow ample time for application — a rush job could only prove to worsen the appearance of tan lines and end up giving oompa loompa than golden goddess.

Viva loves Luna Bronze Total Eclipse Express Tanning Mousse, $48, and Loving Tan 2 Hour Express Mousse, $45, both of which promise a developing time of three hours or less to ensure deep, even colour.

Or for a one-night-only tan top-up, consider SugarBaby Bronze Radiance Cream, $35, or Isle of Paradise Disco Tan Instant Wash-Off Body Bronzer, $35, which can be applied using a tanning mitt but washes off in the shower.

Recruit the help of a tanning applicator mitt, sponge or brush for tricky-to-reach areas, or if you’re planning on attempting to spot-correct the colour difference that separates your natural skin tone from your sunkissed tan.

Maintain the colour by moisturising twice daily with a cosseting body cream or lotion to lock in hydration and extend the lifespan of your tan.



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