How To Paint Yourself!

Learn how to create a more perfect skin tone for contests, photo shoots and fitness events.

This is a special tip sheet I have been perfecting and handing out for athletes and models wanting and needing a guide to create a more perfect skin tone for contests, photo shoots and fitness events. It is not a secret but it seems to be elusive. Many have found out the hard way that there is a formula that can and must be followed. Just slapping on more and more color won't fix a botched up paint job.

We don't tan ourselves by spending hours in the booths or out in the sun anymore. Be smart. Envision yourself with a sexy, flawless, bronzed body. Make it a reality by using a system that works every time!

When I asked npc national judge, sandy ranelli how I could improve my score at the 1999 nationals, one of the things she told me not to change was my appearance. She actually said my skin tone was the perfect color. Beautiful.

My procedure

For a perfect complexion score. You need before you start:

  • A painting partner is optional. I have found it easier and faster to paint myself. But get help if you need it!
  • 1-2 bottles of product. Get more than one bottle of product if you can afford it; better to be safe. Allow about 3/4 of a bottle per show-depending on how big you are. Lots of supplement supply stores sometimes carry this, or will gladly order for you.
  • ** It is not a good idea to mix products.
  • A good moisturizer.
  • An exfoliation scrub brush or cloth. Exfoliating gel or lotion is optional. Soap works fine.
  • 2-3 old bath towels. One to dry off with, one to stand on while painting.
  • 2-3 old washcloths or hand towels. One to put down over sink area, one to wipe up drips.
  • Old sheets and old pillow case.
  • ** Remember to bring all of these towels and sheets with you if you are traveling. Also, bring a towel to the show of event.
  • Plastic bowl or tupperware to pour product into. You have much more control this way.
  • Small long-handled sponge paint brush.
  • Small hand held paint sponge.
  • 3-4 pairs of disposable latex gloves.
  • Dark sweat outfit.
  • Dark rehearsal clothes.
  • Junk pj's.
  • Dark nice outfit for registration, or after the show.

Backwards countdown to show:

You will typically paint for three days in a row for a show. At least two for events unless you have a dark base. Waxing is highly recommended for as many areas as you can stand. This makes the paint less blotchy. Shaving, or hair remover products like nair work too.


      Count backwards approximately 10-14 days before day one of your painting calendar. (which is 3 days before your show.) 10 days is the minimum amount of days to grow hair for waxing.

** Do not start painting on the same day you get waxed, or after use of hair removal cremes. Skin needs a day to recover. Booth after waxing to re-tan waxed areas. Use hair remover or shave on any other areas you want smooth. (arms, chest, back, upper legs, butt!). Remember, the smoother your skin, the better your definition shows.

2. Start booth tanning for your base. The darker you start out, the more even your paint job will be with less effort. Tan 2-3 weeks getting in about 10-12 sessions total. Do not burn! Start slowly if needed. Peeling skin is difficult to paint over and hide.

** Women, and men who care: do not tan your face! Use self-bronzer.

3. Start exfoliating 4-5 days before day one of your painting calendar. Soak in tub until skin gets a little wrinkly. Use the jan tana body-scrub product. Scrub hard! Everywhere. Take a quick rinse in shower afterwards. Dry off and moisturize. Do this everyday until you paint. This is very important! Do not skip body parts. Be thorough. After you start your painting process, no more exfoliating. The only exception is if you are trying to fix or blend in a blotchy or rough spot.

4. If you choose to shave, only shave before your first coat of paint and, if you must, before last coat. During initial shave, shave as lightly as possible only where necessary. Remember to rinse in cold water afterwards.

** Do not shave everyday during the painting process. After shaving always rinse or stand under as cold of water as you can to close your pores. If you forget, you might get little dark black dots in your pores. Bad.

The Last 14 Days

Day What To Do
14 Days before show - grow hair for wax - booth - moisturize
10 Days before show - last chance to grow for wax - booth - moisturize
8 Start exfoliating (face included) grow hair - booth
4 Days before show - wax - booth after - nair other body parts you plan to. Gentle exfoliation over waxed areas.
3 Days before show - thorough shave - cold rinse - dry off - paint!
2 Days before show - no shaving - cold rinse, soap only if needed - dry - paint - let dry - sleep. In am quick rinse - dry - moisturize - apply face bronzer.
1 Day before show - light shave if necessary - cold rinse - dry off - paint - let dry - moisturize - apply face bronzer. Sparkles are optional!

** On the first coat, do not worry if it's not perfect. Do not over-blend; you will only rub it off. Just make sure you get it everywhere. No missed spots. Let dry - sleep. In am quick thorough rinse - towel dry - moisturize - apply face bronzer.


1. If your show is more than 1 day, evaluate your color. Paint again the night before if necessary using the same procedure.

2. Paint everywhere! Use a full length mirror. Lift up, lean over, bend, turn, straddle! Remember, the judges are below you looking up and under.

3. Always wear gloves. Wear glove on one hand at a time. Wearing glove on right hand, paint all you can reach and also paint left hand. Never paint palms. Let left hand dry. Transfer glove to left hand and do other half of your body and right hand.

4. Go easy on the ankles, toes, knees, elbows and underarms. If they don't need more paint the second or third time, then stop painting them. Blend around.

5. Never use paint on face. Use a face bronzer.

6. Avoid using creme hair removers on any broken skin. Floor and rug burns from routines included.

7. You should never be painting the morning of your show if you can help it. You have enough to do.

8. Buy extra-dark foundation. Get the budgeproof. Make sure it's dark enough or you will look funny. Bad. You need your own stage make-up. Do not rely on anyone else. Put a stage makeup kit together. Your everyday makeup won't cut it.

9. You can save your costumes, and outfits if you use the paint at night, rinse in the morning method. Otherwise, they get trashed.

10. If your clothes are light or white and get stained with product, as a last result use rit color remover on the stove top. Warning! All color will be removed.

11. After the show or event: wear dark clothing or stuff you don't care about for one more week.

12. Walk and stand with confidence! You look spectacular!

Note To People Of Darker Complexions:

Figure competitor mimi boman (overall at two figure shows) is of dominican/african descendent. She still adds a diluted coat of color when needed. She pours jan tana into a dish and adds equal parts of water, dips a washcloth into the mixture and smoothes it on.

Some are extremely blessed by the complexion gods and don't need any color, but don't hesitate to use a body bronzer if there are areas that need blending. Either way, you should still exfoliate to create a healthy, polished gleam.

Brenda Kelly: Sun ultra dark lotion for photoshoots. Jan tana "show tan" for darker looks. Lanc?face bronzer.

Elaine Goodlad: Pro Tan for figure shows. Sun laboratories "faces".

Lena Johannesen: Ban de solei dark crè­¥. Andreas chaling spray. Clarions face bronzer.

Cynthia Bridges: Pro Tan, Dermablend face bronzer.

Think of yourself as a luxury car before the all-important paintjob. The quality of prep work directly relates to the finished product. This is also true for your own color presentation. Shabby prep will get you shabby results. Prep with the works to get eye-catching results every time.