If you’ve ever invested in a pricey fake tan only to wake up to streaky or orange skin, you know how disappointing it can be when your dream color turns into a nightmare. In most cases, tanning disasters can be blamed on bad skin care, low-quality products and messy applications.
Whether you’re an experienced tanning pro or still a complete beginner, committing the 10 simple rules below to memory can help you get the best fake tan with every application.
1. Take good care of your skin. The best fake tan starts with great skin care. For even coverage and bigger color payoff, your skin needs to be healthy and hydrated. To get a head start before you tan, use a rich body lotion on a daily basis and stay away from products that contain alcohol or any other drying ingredients.
2. Find your favorite tanning solution. If you plan on tanning regularly, it’s important to find a formula that fits your schedule and personality. Lotion and mousse are great for at-home tanning, but spray tans are ideal if you want fast results and don’t mind paying for professional treatments.
3. Choose the right shade. Picking an unflattering color can ruin an otherwise perfect application. To avoid ending up with a fake tan that looks unnatural, never go more than two shades above your base skin tone unless you already have a naturally dark complexion.
4. Do a test patch. If you’re new to fake tanning or are planning to use an unfamiliar product, try testing it on a small area that can be easily hidden from view. DHA allergies are uncommon, but they can happen in people with sensitive skin. Doing a trial run can help you avoid both an unexpected allergic reaction and a full-body fake tan that isn’t right for your skin tone.
5. Exfoliate the day before applying your fake tan. To avoid streaks, you need to start with skin that feels smooth and perfectly polished.
6. Tan with naked skin. Because beauty products and makeup contain powerful ingredients, they can cause discoloration by interacting with the chemicals in your tanning solution.
7. Apply blending cream to transitional areas. Elbows, ankles, palms and your hairline are all examples of spots where your fake tan should be a little lighter for natural-looking results.
8. Use a tanning mitt for better coverage. Made with special fibers for optimizing tanning lotions, tanning mitts protect your palms from staining and make it easier to reach out-of-the-way areas like your back.
9. Wear dark, loose-fitting clothes until your next shower. Tanners can sometimes bleed, and many popular formulas come with instant bronzers that easily rub off on fabric. While wearing dark shades prevents marks on your clothes, going with a looser fit safeguards against uneven color absorption.
10. Steer clear of water for at least eight hours. Showering or sweating can cause runs in your color, so you want to avoid both until your tan is fully developed.