How to get a great faux tan

Jan 12, 2012 at 5:00 p.m. ET

Just because it's the middle of winter doesn't mean you have to be as pale as Casper. If you've always shied away from sunless tanners, rest assured they've come a long way, making getting a good fake glow a cinch. Here are a few ways you can get glowing, and not end up looking like Snooki.

Get a natural bronze with sunless tanner

Even if you don't have a beach getaway planned this winter, you can look like a golden goddess (and without damaging your skin with UV rays!) with some sunless tanning products and these simple steps. Just be ready when everyone asks where you vacationed!

Prep your skin

Shave up to a day before you plan on applying self tanner (avoid shaving immediately beforehand as your skin can benefit from the rest period). Then exfoliate your skin well as you need to give yourself a good, thorough scrub down before you even pick up your sunless tanner. Sloughing off any dry, patchy dead skin cells, which will cause patchy, uneven colour (the dead skin cells will absorb more product, and thus turn darker) is what will give you that even, natural glow you seek. Ideally, though, you should exfoliate regularly — not just pre-self tanner — so your skin is as fresh and smooth as can be.

Moisturize legsMoisturize well

Using a non-greasy lotion that absorbs well, moisturize your skin to prep it for soaking up the sunless tanning product. Apply extra amounts to areas including your toes, knees, elbows and hands. These areas are notorious for absorbing the sunless tanner as they tend to be dry, so additional moisturizer will help prevent this from happening by acting somewhat like a barrier that dilutes the products from penetrating as much.

Apply your faux glow

If you're particularly nervous about using sunless tanner, you may want to consider a product that builds a glow slowly over time, such as a body moisturizer with tanning ingredients that'll build colour gradually. Alternatively if you want immediate gratification, opt for a spray that will give you colour instantly. To ensure even spray all over, you may want to enlist the help of a friend to spray you. For colour that will develop within hours, go with a faux tan lotion or cream and take your time rubbing it on to ensure even application. Since you are using your hands to apply the product, it may be wise to use a pair of gloves to do so (or ensure to wash thorougly, especially between your fingers and your knuckles) in order to avoid much darker hands.

Don't forget your sun protection

Just because you're a golden goddess doesn't mean that you can skip the SPF. The sun's rays can still cause your skin damage in the winter and wearing sunscreen is your best defence against not only melanoma but also premature aging and wrinkles.

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