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We asked makeup artist Lauren Schill about some of the most common self-tanning mistakes. She shares her best advice for using sunless tanner and lets us in on her secrets for achieving a natural-looking faux glow.
1. Learn what type of tanner you prefer
Self-tanner is available in gel, cream, mousse and spray forms. Before you go all in, it's a good idea to test each type of tanner to determine the one you're most comfortable applying and that works best for you, advises Schill.
"I prefer cream because I know I'm applying it evenly," she says. "Whereas if you use a spray, you can miss areas, which will make your tan seem uneven."
Choosing a product with some colour in it is helpful, as you'll know where exactly you're applying it. Mousse and gel products often allow for a more even application, creating a more natural look, but the key with any product is to be diligent when applying it.
"Just make sure the tanner is even all over," says Schill. "Sometimes you may need help. If you want your back done, for example, ask a friend," she advises.
Exfoliation is the cardinal rule of achieving a natural-looking tan. "Make sure you exfoliate first," says Schill. "If you don't, you're putting the tanning product on top of a layer of dead skin, and that dead skin is going to come off and you'll lose your tan faster."
This rule applies to both your face and your body, says Schill. "Exfoliate with an actual body scrub, but use a different scrub on your face," she advises. "Then apply the tanner to clean, dry skin."
Page 1 of 2 -- Discover four more great tips for getting the perfect faux glow on page 2
3. Use a glove
If you're afraid of looking streaky or staining your hands, Schill recommends using a self-tanning glove, which will help you create a more natural look that's even all over.
"They usually run about $7, and they leave a very nice finish because there's no streakiness from your fingers," she explains.
If you're not sure what type of glove to use, opt for a self-tanning kit that comes with its own mitt to optimize both product and application.
Keeping your skin healthy and hydrated by moisturizing daily will ensure a longer-lasting tan.
"If you're using tanning products, you always want to moisturize when you get out of the shower and before bed," says Schill. "Keeping your skin moist will prevent dead skin cells, so the tan will last longer."
However, if you're already using a tanning product avoid using tinted body moisturizer. While tinted moisturizer can replace foundation on your face, it will only make the rest of your body appear darker, so opt for a body butter with natural oils instead, suggests Schill.
5. Use bronzer
If you're not comfortable applying self-tanner to your face, Schill suggests using bronzer instead. "Start with a big brush and apply the bronzer to the hollows of your cheeks," she instructs. "Then use whatever is left over on your brush on the rest of your face. Don't apply any more product to your brush because then you'll look too dark."
Next, apply bronzer to your neck and your chest to prevent a contrast between the colour of your face and the rest of your body. If you've created a tone that you don't think suits you, use makeup remover and start again.
"The best part about bronzer is that you can load up on as much or as little as you want to create that perfect glow," says Schill.
6. Remember SPF
Spending too much time in the sun and allowing your skin to burn will not only make you look older, it will also cause your skin to flake and peel, making your tan fade faster.
"The sun is the number 1 cause of aging skin," says Schill. "You always want to wear SPF on your face." And regardless of how tanned you want to seem, always avoid tanning beds, she affirms.
It's easy to boast a fresh, summer glow without spending hours baking in the sand. By choosing a product you're comfortable with and maintaining a simple day-to-day care routine you'll create the perfect, long-lasting sunless tan in no time.
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