Holiday Party Prep (The Neck-Down Edition)
For most of the month of December, my motto is: Stay warm. As I write this, it’s 39 degrees, raining sideways and I’m wearing a turtleneck sweater and my thickest ski socks. The only skin showing? My face—and just barely, thanks to my high neckline. Thus, bronzed legs and décolletage are not high on my priority list. (Neither is shaving, if I'm being honest.) But, by next week when the parade of holiday parties (and cocktail dresses) commences, they will be.
Left to its own devices, my natural skin-color in December is sallow. I’m fair, but not like Nicole Kidman or Kate Winslet, who wear their porcelain skin well. I’m more of a grey-yellow hue, and typically have one or two bruises blooming somewhere. My husband says I’m like a ripe peach, which is a euphemism for 40+ and (literally) thin-skinned. Thus, to don a cocktail dress with any amount of confidence, I work a faux glow. I’m not talking about a mid-summer, full-throttle, self-tanning strategy. To me, in the middle of winter, that looks too-too. But I do like to deepen my skin-color subtly—then top things off with a little luminescence.
In my arsenal: Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer for Fair to Medium Skintones. This week, I started using this in place of my everyday body lotion. Unless you were out of the country for the last ten years, you are aware of this best-selling product. It's won accolades for making self-tanning a cinch, as in goof-proof, odorless and subtle. Because the lotion is laced, not brimming, with DHA (the ingredient that deepens skintone), the result is glowy, not Bahama mama. I choose to use the lighter of two color options, but even the Medium to Dark formula won’t leave you orangey.
It takes four to five days of daily application for me to see a real difference, which is why I start a week before the first fête. If you want to accelerate results, but still keep things understated, you could try Jergens Natural Glow 3 Days to Glow, which has a slightly-boosted DHA content and gets you glowing faster.
Then, as I’m prepping for a party, I spot treat with Westmore Beauty Body Coverage Perfector in Natural Radiance. (It also comes in Golden Radiance if your skin tone is deeper than mine, or you just want more glow.) I put this tinted lotion any place that will be exposed: my arms, legs, chest, even the tops of my feet., to camouflage aforementioned bruises and add a dewy luminescence that reads healthy, but not glittery. After applying, I wait about ten minutes to dry (I highly recommend waiting a FULL ten minutes, maybe even fifteen, or you run the risk of smudging makeup on whatever you're wearing. I know this from personal experience—and a panicked, vigorous five-Shout-Wipe rubdown). Next, take an oversized, clean bronzer brush (or just use a clean paper towel) and gently buff away any excess product. Then get dressed.
My finishing touch: I take the same big brush, swirl it in powder bronzer (check out my favorites here), then sweep over exposed bones (collar, shoulder, shin; you get the idea). Faux-la-la-la-la.