We all know that the sun is your skin’s number-one enemy. But shunning it entirely has negative trade-offs like pallid skin, for most of us. Since tanning beds are no better—recent studies say they are as dangerous as arsenic—what options are you left with? Sunless tanner is our number one choice, if used correctly that is. Ensuring an even and realistic-looking tan isn’t impossible, but it does take some effort and prep work to get the best results.
Always apply to freshly exfoliated skin.
The rule of thumb is to apply self-tanner to well-exfoliated and moisturized skin (don’t use moisturizer directly before tanner but rather a few days before; if the skin is too slick, the tanner may not absorb properly) to prevent streaking. “Since dead skin cells shed naturally, it’s best to remove them before so that your color will be even and long-lasting,” says LaDonna Sheridan, sunless tanning expert and Fake Bake’s national sales educator and manager. For best results, exfoliate for a few days before using self-tanner.
Pull your hair away from your face.
When applying self-tanner to your face, blend the formula into the hairline so there’s no obvious demarcation line. Pull your hair back so that you can see where your hairline starts.
Apply one layer at a time.
The worst thing you can do is over-layer tanner, which can result in streaks or an orangey color. Instead, start off gradually and build color with additional layers, applying it evenly across the entire face and body.
Have a hair dryer on hand.
To speed up drying time, use a blow-dryer on low heat and wave it over treated areas.
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