Tuesday, July 26, 2016

CAMOUFLAGE 101: HOW TO HIDE TAN LINES AND LOOK GREAT IN YOUR COSTUMES


 You put on your favorite costume, the one that always makes you  look and feel amazing, but like a slap in the face, you suddenly realize you can’t possibly wear it. It’s not because the hooks need to be replaced or you’ve gained or lost a few pounds, and certainly not cause you dribbled some form of condiment while scarfing down a post-gig meal backstage.

 It’s because your summer wardrobe doesn’t match your dance costumes!

Maybe you wore a halter-top this past weekend and your SPF wore off. Your chest and midriff are now evenly tanned… but the tops of your boobs look like two giant glow-in-the-dark white Hostess Cakes. Or perhaps you  got a sunburn while wearing that Kendall & Kylie “celeb style caged harness” swimsuit from Top Shop…and now there’s such an insane network of pink lines on your torso, it looks like you’ve contracted a hideous tropical skin condition!

 If you’re not religious about using sunblock -and you damn well should be- you’ll wind up with a tan or a painful burn. But even if you’re careful about using sunblock, you can still get those pesky tan-lines. And believe me, they look like absolute  %@$# on stage!

 I am  super-anal about wearing sunblock, but because of my mixed heritage and olive skin, I tan in a heartbeat, no matter what. Seriously, I can take out the trash in the early morning, and by the time I get out of the shower fifteen minutes later; I’ve got stripes across the tops of my shoulders from my tank top.

 Hey, it’s summer; we’ve all been there.

 But let’s get you back into your favorite costume, shall we?

To get rid of tan-lines quickly, first thing you need to do is exfoliate, cause it gets rid of all the dead cells on the surface of your skin. Exfoliating will literally buff away a bit of your tan, and it’ll keep your skin looking fresh and dewy, too.

 Please note that this works only for those who are tanned, not burned. If you’ve got a sunburn, it’s an absolute must to let it heal to the point where it’s not painful or tender, because you don’t want any scarring to occur. Instead, slather the burned area with Aloe Vera gel. Straight from the plant is best, but there are also plenty of gentle commercial formulas on the market, too. Take an aspirin or two, stay out of the sun and let your skin heal for a few days before exfoliating.  A nice all-natural spray to relieve sunburn pain is black tea.  Brew up a strong pot of black tea, let it cool in the fridge and transfer it into a spray bottle. Spritz the cool mixture on your skin after you bathe or whenever you want. The misted tea is refreshing and calming to the sensitive sunburned areas. But black tea also contains a high amount of tannic acid, which will help fade the marks on your body quickly.

 But back to exfoliation: I recommend Oil Of Olay Exfoliating Body Wash or St. Ives Purifying Sea Salt Body Wash.  Both are terrific, inexpensive options, plus they’re under ten bucks at most chain drug stores like Target, CVS, Rite Aid or Walgreens. If you wanna splurge a bit more, try Guyton Exfoliating Body Wash. It’s available on from www.glytone-usa.com or from Amazon; some department or beauty supply stores carry it, too. The glycolic acid isn’t a chemical peel, it’s easy on your skin, but helps your cells to shed and your skin to rejuvenate faster.

To make an ultra-cheap (but very efficient) D.I.Y exfoliating scrub, get a large glass bowl and add in these ingredients: a tablespoon of sugar with one cup of baking soda and half a cup of water. Mix it well, until it becomes a thick paste. Bring it into the shower with you, and with bath mitts or your bare hands, glob it onto your skin, scrubbing in long strokes or small swirls  (your choice, just as long as your hitting the affected area) like your damn life depended on it.

 Once you’ve exfoliated, now it’s time to camouflage those hellish tan lines.  If you’re skin is medium, olive-toned or dark, get a matte bronzer in a shade that’s a close match your actual skin tone; a shade or two darker is fine. If you’re fair, a rosy pink ought to work well. Just make sure you don’t use pearly or metallic shades- it won’t look natural and will only draw attention to your “disguise”. You can use cream or powder, whichever you prefer, both are fine. With a small soft dome blush brush – or even a cotton ball- dab the product onto the lighter area, but then blend it out onto the tanned area as well. If you apply the makeup only on the un-tanned skin,  instead of hiding the tanning marks, it’ll  make them look way too obvious.

 After you’ve applied the product, make sure to set it so it won’t rub off on your fancy costume. There are several makeup-setting sprays available. One of my go-to fixers is Ben Nye Liquiset, which is a theatrical makeup sealer in a spray pump.  It’s pretty inexpensive and really keeps any pigments in place, even when sweaty from performance.  However, aside from Amazon, it’s usually only available at costume/theatrical stores and some beauty supply places. There are drugstore brands that work just as well, such as L’Oreal Infallible Fixing Mist or Urban Decay Chill Cooling And Hydrating Makeup Setting Spray.  All of these products are made to be worn on the face, but they work just fine for tan marks on the body, too. None of them crack or smudge, and they come off with whatever sort of makeup remover you use also.

 My very favorite camouflaging product, which I use with or without tan lines, is Sally Hanson’s Airbrush Legs. It used to come only in a spray, but now, they’ve added a cream formula as well. This stuff is pure magic- it makes you look like the best filters on Instagram! It stays much better than any self-tanner, never looks streaky, doesn’t cake, and really lasts on stage, even through multiple performances. It gives your skin a gorgeous look, truly like you’ve been airbrushed. I’ve used it to hid bug bites, bruises, and scratches from my kitties, and even to completely hide my tattoos! Let it fully dry before you put on your costume, though. After it sets, it won’t rub off on anything. The only other thing you need to know is that if you’re using the spray, it would behoove you to use it in the shower, cause it could stain clothing (or a carpet) and it’s kind of smelly to use in a dressing room. However, the smell goes away as soon as the product dries. Also, sometimes it stays on the skin for an extra day or two, even after bathing… but who doesn’t want to look airbrushed, right?

These tips will allow you to have fun in the sun, but still look great onstage- tries them out and sees for yourself.

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photo: Dusti Cunningham, graphics: Natasha Vetlugin




  For more cosmetic  tips, purchase  my  double-disc instructional stage makeup DVD  “Bombshell” or a copy of "The Belly Dance Handbook  here:  http://www.princessfarhana.com/shop.htm

photo and graphics: Maharet Hughes/Graphic Vibe


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  2. Go out and buy an aerosol foundation that's a shade darker than your skin. This is my favorite way to hide tan lines. Spray it all over your chest, and you'll cover any imperfections at the same time. Use your fingers or a makeup sponge to tap the foundation into your skin to blend.

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