Make sure your skin is clean, says Hollier. You should be wearing little to no moisturizer, and all areas of your body that you intend to tan should be exfoliated the night before. Shave your legs and get rid of any leftover lotions and/or oils that are lingering on your skin. These can prevent your color from sticking and actually put you at risk for those tell-tale LiLo streaks. If you plan on bronzing your face, make sure you've removed any makeup.
To create an allover even glow, use a sponge, suggests Hollier. "This will allow you to blend your sunless tanner evenly and eliminate the possibility of any fingerprints or smears, which can occur when you use your hands," she says. You won't have to stop multiple times just to rinse your palms or worry about the likelihood of dyeing your hands orange.
Certain parts of your body tend to soak up more sun than others, while dry spots like your elbows and knees often absorb self-tanner much faster. To get the most even, natural-looking tan possible, Hollier says to apply each part of your body (and face) separately. For your knees and elbows, dilute your self-tanner with a bit of moisturizer to help weaken the glow, and skip the areas of your body "where the sun don't shine" (such as your palms and soles). When working on your face, blend the tanner into your hairline, and don't forget to bronze your ears.
Once you're done applying your tanner, wait for it to dry completely before touching your skin or re-dressing. You wouldn't want to ruin a perfectly good glow because you were too impatient to wait, now would you?
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