The absolute BEST way to apply sunless tanner

By: The Beauty Experts at L'Oréal Paris

If you want a natural-looking glow, you've got two options. One is to bake in the sun -- dramatically increasing your chances of getting melanoma -- and the other option is to go faux. Fortunately, thanks to so many great sunless-tanning formulas that deliver natural-looking results, the answer is really quite obvious: Fake it!

Feeling hesitant? Don't be. You may have been "burned" in the past by subpar potions that left your skin either splotchy or overly orange, but now it's time to give a faux glow a second go. We've got a foolproof method and the perfect product to help you get a flawless fake tan.

Step 1: Complete Your Other Beauty To-Dos
Things like shaving, waxing, even getting a manicure or pedicure can cause a faux tan application to fade. To make the most of your self-tanner, tackle those to-dos first.

Step 2: Exfoliate
Self-tanner clings to dry skin, which means that you'll end up with dark splotches wherever you don't exfoliate. For your body, minimize the dry spots by using a coarse scrub in the shower. Focus on key areas like the knees, elbows, ankles and heels. For your face, use a cleanser with salicylic acid to help remove dead skin.

Step 3: Dry Off
It's probably the easiest step but definitely an essential one. Wait until your skin is completely dry before moving to Step 4.

Step 4: Apply Lotion
Even though you've diligently scrubbed your wrinkly bits (see Step 2), those few spots will require a touch of moisturizer to further prevent unwanted staining. Don't oversaturate -- just a dab will do -- and avoid oil-based formulas that can enhance streaking.

Step 5: Choose a Self-Tanner
Pick a bronzing potion based on your normal skin tone versus the result you're hoping to achieve. In other words, if you have fair skin, try a light-to-medium formula. If your skin is olive-toned, you can go with a formula for medium-to-dark skin. For the most natural-looking results, we recommend a formula that boasts gradual color over multiple days of application. Our pick: Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Serum.

Step 6: Apply the Tanning Serum
Start with your feet and work your way up to prevent lines and marks that bending from the waist might leave. Stop after you've massaged the serum into your neck and the top half of your arms.

Step 7: Take a Break and Soap Up
Wash (and dry) your hands before applying the color to your remaining body parts -- the lower half of your arms, your hands and your face

Step 8:Continue Applying Tanning Serum
Finish your arms and your hands first. Then begin applying the formula to your face. Using your fingertips, apply tanner to the areas that would naturally get the most sun: your forehead, the apples of your cheeks, your nose and chin. Be stingier with dry spots like the sides of your nose, between your brows and around your lips. Then, lightly feather any remaining formula toward your hairline and below your jawline for a naturally blended effect. Now wash your hands again!

Step 9: Let It Set
Let the formula dry completely. You should also try to avoid showering and sweating for at least six to eight hours.

Step 10: Keep Glowing
There are a couple easy ways to help prolong the life of your fake tan. First, make sure your skin is always moisturized. And second, use gentle cleansers -- this time avoiding retinols and salicylic acid.

Follow this guide and you can generally get results that last up to two weeks! After you've achieved success (and we know you will) just start back at Step 1 to reboot your faux glow.
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