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How to apply sunless tanners

Kori Ellis is an editor and writer based in San Antonio, TX, where she lives with her husband and four children. At SheKnows, she writes about parenting, fashion, beauty and other lifestyle topics. Additionally, Kori has been published i...

How to... Get your glow on

You don't need to bake in the sun to get a fabulous tan. Instead, use sunless tanner to achieve glowing, beautiful skin without the risk of sun damage.

If you don't know what you're doing, applying sunless tanner can turn into a disaster, resulting in orange, streaky skin. We spoke to spa director Victoria Collata of jaie3 salon.spa.beautique to learn how to get the perfect glowing tan.

ExfoliateStep 1: Exfoliate

"Exfoliate while you shower or bathe with a textured cotton washcloth," explains Collata. "Avoid nylon or loofah scrubbers that can cause a streaky effect. Start at the base of each extremity, working toward the heart. This will remove dry or dead skin and increase circulation, allowing for a smooth application. Pay special attention to rough areas like elbows and knees."

Choosing exfoliating products >>

Use a small amount of self tannerStep 2: Use a small amount

Don't slather on a ton of product or apply it while it's cool. "Warm tanner at room temperature because, if the body is heated, the tanner will activate quickly," says Collata. "This can be achieved by placing the bottle of tanner in a bowl of warm water for five to 10 minutes. Depending on the size of the area, squeeze about a nickel-sized amount of tanner into your hand."

Get a great tan without the sun >>

Apply the self tannerStep 3: Apply in a long, fluid motion

"Start the application slightly above the base of each extremity and apply in long, fluid movements," says Collata. "For example, if applying to the arm, start at the forearm and work the lotion in a long, fluid motion up towards the body and down towards the hand, feathering off at the end. Be cautious of rough areas such as elbows and knees. Blend lotion into these areas last to avoid streaks."

More self-tanning tips >>

Wash handsStep 4: Wash hands immediately

"Wash your hands immediately after application and allow 15 to 30 minutes for lotion to dry before wearing clothing to avoid transferring tanner to fabrics," Collata says. "It is best to wear dark-colored clothes immediately after application. Avoid showering for at least four to six hours."

Quick tip

Don't go from pasty white to golden brown overnight. For a naturally progressing tan, select a self-tanning product that gradually darkens your skin with continued use.

Reapeat self tanner weeklyStep 5: Repeat weekly

Collata says to keep your tan glowing all season long, you have to keep up the maintenance. "After the allotted time has passed, shower but do not exfoliate. For best results, repeat steps two through four for two days, then repeat steps one through four once per week following initial application."

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For more info on this topic...For more sunless tanning tips, check this out:
How to prepare skin for sunless tanners

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