ASK SUSAN: TANNING TIPS (It’s Bathing Suit Season for Models)

Susan MinerFrom Slenderbread Magazine: Ask Susan (Supermodel turned Counselor and Model Mentor)

Q: Dear Susan, I’m fair toned and curvy, should I attempt tanning myself to become darker for swim gigs?

A: This is a great question! The answer is…. it depends. You must consider what your market is. I asked Ron Gerard, the director of NEXT Miami, what he recommends for his models. He said, “Residing in South Florida, it is almost a must for the models to be tanned. Whereas in other markets it is almost taboo. So if they have fair skin, I suggest they use self tanner because if they get burnt or blistered then they are actually hurting themselves. If they have a more ethnic background and have the skin pigment to tan well then I suggest they take a day or two in the sun, but no more. You want them to be their basic color and look healthy, but not too tanned.”
So, models if you are located in cities like Los Angeles or Miami then go for it. If you are working in New York or Paris I wouldn’t recommend being tanned unless the client requests it specifically.

I am all about helping you keep your skin fabulous well into old age (Like 45 – Yikes!). Here are a few guidelines for tanning in the sun and using self tanner:

Tanning in the Sun

  1. Wear sunblock that is at least SPF 30 on all exposed parts of your skin every day. Especially your face! This will prevent the “farmer’s tan.” You want your body to be as evenly tanned as possible.
  2. Never use oil while tanning.
  3. Tan in the smallest bathing suit possible (Yes, maybe in your own back yard so you don’t freak your mother out). Pull down the shoulder straps to avoid tan lines.
  4. Begin with half the amount of time in the sun that you think you can handle. You can always tan a bit more the following day, but you can not take back a burn or wipe any color off.
  5. Tan all parts of your body evenly. Think of a rotisserie chicken. Cover your face with a tee-shirt or towel for a portion of the time.


  1. Exfoliate! Gently exfoliate your entire body with an exfoliating cream or an exfoliating glove. Go over your elbows, knees and feet a couple of times. Do this no more than twice per week. Use extra care on your face, especially around your eyes. Use a cream designed for the face and be gentle!
  2. Self tan your face first. Pull your hair back after exfoliating. Dab a little eye cream under your eyes. Put a little cream or petroleum jelly on your fingernails, toenails and cuticles in order to save your manicure and pedicure. Mix an equal amount of self tanner and facial moisturizer in your palm, and smooth it over your face, neck and ears. Immediately wash your hands.
  3. Next is your body. Start with the bottoms of your legs and feet. Then work your way up each leg, using a smaller amount on your knees because they will absorb more and end up darker than the rest of your body if you are not careful. Next is your torso followed by your arms. Again, use a little less on your elbows. Rub it in well and in all directions. Wash your hands.
  4. Wait about thirty minutes to dress and wear loose clothing if possible. Try not to sweat for three hours after application.
  5. Correct any darker spots by gently rubbing them with a warm wash cloth.

Continue to wear your sun block after applying self tanner or tanning in the sun!

Be well,

About Susan Miner