Help me not ruin my best friend's wedding photos!
September 30, 2014 12:01 PM   Subscribe

I'm maid of honor in a wedding this Saturday. And I just realized I have a farmer's tan. How do I fix this?

I will be part of the wedding party on Saturday, in a sleeveless dress. I just realized that I have a pretty solid farmer's tan going on. What can I do to remedy this before Friday, when I fly across the country to the wedding?

Difficulty level: I'm on a grad student's budget, and have a zillion things to do before I leave. Some sort of drug store solution would probably be best. Also, I have never used self-tanner before, and am sort of a beauty novice. I don't want to show up looking orange, streaky, or obviously self-tanned.

Please help!
posted by bluloo to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Is a light cardigan in a color matching the bridesmaid's dress a possibility? I mean, it is an October wedding.

Re the photos themselves (especially photos of the ceremony itself, where wearing outerwear of any kind might not be appropriate), I'm pretty sure this is something that comes under routine retouching offered by the photographer.
posted by Sara C. at 12:16 PM on September 30, 2014

Check out this thread from a bride with the same problem:

The consensus seemed to be Jergens Natural Glow lotion. Maybe you can PM the asker to find out what she did and how well it worked.
posted by Rora at 12:23 PM on September 30, 2014

Response by poster: Oh shoot. I tried to look for other questions, but obviously failed.

Sara C, I dont think a cardigan is an option, at least for the ceremony and posed photos.

Rora, I've heard of the natural glow lotion. How quickly does that work, though? My understanding was it is designed to build up over time, which I don't have a lot of.
posted by bluloo at 12:29 PM on September 30, 2014

Farmer tan or farmer burn?

If it's a tan, Sally Hansen has a product meant for legs that you could probably try on your arms. I would try getting a can of whatever shade matches your tan best (it comes in 3 or 4 shades), and a makeup sponge. Then - apply sort of...graduated down your arm; like, most of it is where the sleeve of the tan ends, and then taper it so it's lightest by your hands. Then use the sponges to blend the edges.

And I feel your pain. I went on a day-long hike the day before my brother's wedding and stupidly forgot sunscreen, and woke up the following morning with my face a bright crimson and promptly panicked because "oh my god I'm going to be in so many photos" and I put on more makeup than I have ever worn in my entire life. (It was only awkward when the father of the bride hugged me in the receiving line and I got facepowder on the shoulder of his suit.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:31 PM on September 30, 2014 [4 favorites]

Airbrush spray tan on Friday is going to be your absolute best option. If there's one that is accessible and affordable near the wedding location, there's your answer. You could also do one now, but make sure it's 12+ hours before your flight so the dye is set well before you leave.
posted by telegraph at 12:31 PM on September 30, 2014 [3 favorites]

The Jergens stuff will work by Saturday. You could do two applications a day if you want to be sure.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:33 PM on September 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

i recommend you go as you are. ladies who farm, ladies who surf, ladies who climb mountains all look like that; there's nothing wrong with it, nobody ever tells them they look funny.
posted by bruce at 12:40 PM on September 30, 2014 [10 favorites]

Can you describe where your tan lines are?
is it the arms only or the arms and neck areas that are of concern?

Maybe enlist another person in the bridal party to help you position yourself in photos and/or to give you honest feedback for your cover-up method. Just keep it relaxed and don't bother the bride about it.
posted by calgirl at 12:42 PM on September 30, 2014

If you were in my wedding: I would not care about your half-tanned arms. I would be so happy to see you and so touched that you came across the country for my special day even though you are a broke grad student.
posted by kate blank at 12:51 PM on September 30, 2014 [18 favorites]

I think partly this depends on how picky/diva-y you think the bride will be. I am getting married next spring, and I would care exactly zero if one of my bridesmaids had funny tanlines/sunburns/etc. I'm not even sure I would notice unless it was extremely obvious and even then it would not make me upset. Of course, that's me, and you know your friend best. That said, I think a farmer's tan is probably better than a weird, failed attempt at self-tanning, which seems somewhat likely to happen if you have never attempted self tanning before and don't know which product will work best for your particular skin.

Another question is whether your friend is having professional photos taken.
If not, then she is almost certainly not in the "my photos must be perfect" category, and thus will not care about the tan.
If yes, then this will almost certainly be taken care of with Photoshop. In that case, it's really 100% about how you look on the day and will not impact any photographs.

Overall, I would just relax about it, deal with everything else you have to deal with, and go to the wedding and enjoy yourself.
posted by rainbowbrite at 1:27 PM on September 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

Unless your friend is really tightly wound, it's not going to matter. Heck, I had all kinds of wacky tan/other skin things going on when I was the bride, and it didn't matter. Also, Photoshop is a thing.

But if you personally are going to feel funny standing there in a dress in October with tan lines, yeah, Jergens Natural Glow 1-2 times per day between now and then. It's inexpensive, it looks reasonably natural and smells reasonably not-terrible. It's my pasty German mother's moisturizer of choice all summer long. Follow the directions, don't put clothes on right afterwards, and wash your hands once it's on.
posted by bowtiesarecool at 2:05 PM on September 30, 2014

Do the Jergens Natural Glow every day to build up a faux tan. Then, depending on how it's looking, do a test of the Sally Hansen airbrush tan that is linked above to even things out. Between the two, I think you should be fine.
posted by quince at 2:14 PM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Now is not the time to try a faux tan if you are a beginner, turning up orange & streaky for the wedding would be way worse. Jergens Natural Glow is pretty much foolproof and would certainly help tone down the contrast if nothing else. Bowtiesarecool's instructions are pretty spot on. Make sure to sunblock the burnt bits between now & then so then don't get any worse. Oh and exfoliate the sundburnt bits everyday that will help tone them down a little.
posted by wwax at 3:22 PM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you use the highly recommended Jergens Natural Glow, please use a really awesome moisturizer on your elbows / knees / ankles to keep those areas from getting TOO concentrated. Wash your hands well after applying -- especially your cuticles!

I wasn't in a wedding last year, but did use the product over a few days to get a little less pasty legged to attend a summer wedding and it worked like a champ!
posted by Mysterious Trousers at 9:53 PM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

I found the Jergens stuff didn't really work that well for me in similar circumstances - I managed to look really patchy and awful, and it actually seemed to highlight the difference in my tanlines. I am maybe not that great at beauty stuff but still.

I had much better success with the Sally Hansen airbrush spray stuff for legs. It's basically like really thick, spray-on make-up, which stuck really well, and had the benefit that you could scrub it off if it looked streaky (which obviously you can't do with the fake tan stuff). Mine actually lasted through showering and everything, for several days until I scrubbed it.
posted by indienial at 10:25 PM on October 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

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