If this is your first foray into the world of fake tanning, consider testing the product on a hidden spot to test the color and shade, and to make sure you don't have an allergic reaction. Though most self-tanner's are mild and harmless, everyone has a chance of having a reaction to different formula's so it's best to be safe than sorry.
Remember to exfoliate gently but completely in the days before applying any self tanner to ensure that your tan stays on longer. When you rub away dead skin cells that you don't need, the new layer of skin underneath is raw and will hold the tan longer.
Use a good moisturizer for a couple days before, but not the actual day of, the self-tanner application. If your skin is hydrated and moisturized, the tan will absord quickly and easily leaving you with a longer and glowing tan.
To avoid odd orange stains or streaks, wash your hands every five minutes when applying any tanner (and don't forget in between the fingers and your fingernails). Alternatively, buy some inexpensive plastic gloves to wear so you can avoid orange hands and/or fingernails all together when applying the application.
Go easy when spreading the self-tanner formula around your knees, ankles, feet and elbows, as the thicker skin there tends to soak up more of the color, which can leave you with dark orange areas. You can apply a light layer of lotion to these areas to help dilute the product or use it sparingly around those areas.
You might want to wipe down your underarms and belly button five to ten minutes after tanner application to keep them looking realistically bronzed and to keep the formula evenly spread throughout those parts of your body.
Your tan might look streaky as it dries. Don't panic until you've given it about three hours to dry and time for the color to develop completely. At first, streaks may appear if the product hasn't spread completely around your body. You can either rub in the self-tanner more or wait for it to dry and even itself out.
Some self-tanners will stain clothing, towels and other surfaces. Read the bottle before using and take any necessary precautions such as wearing an old bathing suit or shirt a few hours after application in case of any staining.
Don't like the results? Try, try again. Experiment with different brands, formulas and types of application to determine the perfect shade for your skin. You can also try different products on different body parts. When you experiment with different ways of applying self-tanner, you learn what types and products work best for you.
No matter how lovely and tan you look, remember that it's fake, and your skin is not building up a resistance to the sun's rays. Remember to use a good sunscreen every day, and reapply tanner as needed at nighttime.
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