There are plenty of girls who waste money getting spray tanned at the salon only to walk out with that telltale orange glow. And then there are girls who sit under the damaging rays of the sun or a tanning bed on a regular basis for a golden brown that could very well cause health problems later on.
What's the solution? How do you get the perfect glow? We're here to give you the the right information to save you time, money, and your youthful skin. It's easier than you think to DIY with self-tanning lotion and end up with enviable results. Just follow our top five tips and you're on your way to summery bronzed skin.
24-Hour Heads Up
There are two things you should do the day before applying self-tanner: shaving and exfoliating your skin. If you shave right before application, you risk inflammation. Same goes for a rough exfoliation job. The best way to exfoliate is with a specially made exfoliation scrub and a washcloth.
Make The Right Choice
There are different depths of color on the market for different skin types. Read the bottle. If you're naturally fair, you should start out with a lotion that says it's for fair skin. You can always switch to medium or dark after you've built up your self-tanning skills. Besides, it will look more natural if friends and family see you gain color gradually.
Before applying self-tanner, put regular body lotion on the parts of your body that are likely to absorb extra color, such as your elbows, heels and ankles. This will create a barrier that prevents spots darker than the rest of your body.
Put on latex gloves to apply so you avoid orange palms and dark spots in between your fingers. Use a circular motion when you're putting on the lotion. This will help you avoid those dreaded vertical streaks which are a telltale sign of at-home faux tanning. When you're done, take off the gloves and rub in a dot of self-tanner on the top of your hand(s) in a circular motion.
Make it Last
Put on baby oil before you hit cool or warm water (hot water should be avoided as it dries out your skin). The baby oil acts as a protectant for your tan's color, repelling the water ever so much, so your "tan" stays intact.
Image: Gisele Bundchen for Vogue Paris June/July 2012, via the TFS forums