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The Self-Tanning Guide For Fake Bake Beginners

May 24 2015 - 10:00am

Memorial Day weekend trip: booked. Skin? Still pale from this brutal Winter. But before you reach for that bottle of self-tanner, make sure you know how to apply it the right way. We consulted with St.-Tropez expert Sophie Evans to take the complexity out of a DIY [1] tan. Scroll to learn her best tips and tricks — and get ready to glow without baking in the sun.

Moisturize the Dry Spots

You likely already know that you should exfoliate preapplication, but you should also apply moisturizer to your hands, feet, knees, and elbows to avoid a too-dark finish.

Use a Q-Tip to Refine

Fair-haired women should be cautious when using self-tanner on the face, as brows can be inadvertently colored in the process. Prevent bronzed brows by using a Q-tip to wipe eyebrows postapplication.

Spray With Caution

When using a self-tanning spray formula, use downward strokes for the best coverage, and make sure to do it in the shower to avoid a big mess.

Getting Your Back Right

If you're using a lotion to self-tan at home, then don't forget your back. It's actually easier to use a dab of product on the back of your hand to cover that hard-to-reach spot (flexibility helps with this move too).

Keep Your Nails Product-Free

Wipe your toenails and fingernails after your finish to avoid the telltale sign of a fake bake: yellow nails. You can also wipe and moisturize your wrists and heels after self-tanning to avoid product from settling into creases.

Makeup Multitasker

Did you know you can use a self-tanning product as makeup, too? Apply an extra coat to eyelids and cheeks as a contour that will last for days.

Enhance Your Décolletage

Add a touch of self-tanner underneath the collarbone, along with a dab of illuminator above, to create a more defined neck and décolletage. This works especially well against a strapless gown.

Chlorine Interferes

When you go on vacation, keep in mind that the chlorine in the pool will actually alter your tan. Be prepared to reapply postswim as needed.

Avoid Oils

Stay away from oils if you want your faux bronze to last, as these products lift the color of the self-tanner. However, if you make a mistake, then you can use oil to erase accidental blotches.

Hide Hyperpigmentation

If there are specific areas where your complexion is splotchy (read: stretch marks), then use a Q-tip to apply a bronzing lotion at night for subtle coverage. Self-tanner can also disguise hyperpigmentation on darker skin tones.

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