A self-tan sounds like the ideal win-win situation: a gorgeous glow without those dangerous UV rays. What could go wrong? Answer: a lot. From splotches to a disastrous orange tint, self-tanning is tricky business. Check out our guide below to ensure that you get the perfect, subtle fake tan…

Step one, EXFOLIATE! Use a scrub all over to get rid of any dead skin. (Try Burt’s Bees Mango & Orange Sugar Scrub – love its intoxicating citrus scent!)  Flaky skin equals an uneven tan. If you’re using the tanner on your legs, make sure to shave as well.

Following exfoliation, pick up your favorite moisturizer to hydrate your skin. This is key: the lotion will help make your skin as radiant as possible. Pay close attention to your elbows, knees and ankles, which are prone to streaks since they’re often dry. We’re partial to Nivea’s Q10 Skin Firming Body Lotion – go with whatever you adore!

Now it’s tanning time! If you’re a beginner, we strongly recommend easing into it with a gradual tanning lotion, like Jergens Natural Glow. Apply it as evenly as possible post-shower like your normal moisturizer. You’ll typically begin to see a glow within three days.

If you’re a bit more comfortable with self-tanners and want to see instant results, try tanning towelettes, like the Tan Towel. We love that this towelette is mess-and-fuss free. Simply rub the towel even on your skin in consistent circles – you’ll begin seeing the tan within a few hours.

If you consider yourself a self-tanning pro and want a faux glow that will last for weeks, use a tanning mousse (like St. Tropez’s bestseller). The mousse comes with a tanning mitt to prevent unwanted bronzed palms, but it’s without a doubt tricky to apply (especially around the tough spots like elbows and knees.) Only use this method if you feel confident enough to apply evenly. Some other long-lasting options: Fake BakeVita Liberata (which promises to last up to 3 weeks!) and Beautisol’s Self-Tanning Kit.

Post tanning, it’s crucial to immediately wash your hands. It’s better to wear disposable gloves or a tanning mitt, but quickly washing hands should prevent unwanted orange too. Wait until your body is completely dry before putting on clothing to avoid stains, and when you do wear clothing, make sure it’s loose fitting. If you really want the tan to sink in, wait up to twelve hours before showering.

Remember: mistakes happen…and that’s okay! If you see streaks, reach for a cotton ball and dip it in either lemon juice or nail polish remover. Gently drag the cotton ball over the streaky area until the tan appears even.

Happy tanning!! Share your favorite self-tanners and tips on PAMPADOUR!