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How to Get a Natural-Looking Fake Tan

Everyone's seen the streaky, orange results of fake tans gone bad. Here's how to avoid becoming a tangerine-tinted mess and get a flattering, bronze glow.


  • Step 1: Exfoliate Exfoliate with a body wash that contains sugar, which gently sloughs off the top layer of dead skin. You'll get more of an even glow.
  • Step 2: Moisturize Moisturize your entire body to rid yourself of dry spots that soak up more pigment. Using a moisturizer with a gradual tanner with give your tanning lotion a more natural look.
  • Step 3: Choose your tanner Choose a self-tanning lotion for medium color, a self-tanning gel for a dark shade, or an aerosol spray for the darkest hue.
  • Step 4: Start at the bottom Start with your feet and legs to avoid bending over later and creating weird lines. Apply in a circular motion to avoid streaks. If using an aerosol, hold the can two feet away from your body, moving constantly as you spray.
  • TIP: Put tanner on straight legs and arms to avoid getting too much in knee, ankle, and elbow joints.
  • Step 5: Get your back Get your back by putting lotion in the center of a three-foot piece of plastic wrap and rubbing across your back like you would with a towel. Or spray aerosol into the air and step into it backwards and repeat.
  • Step 6: Wash hands Wash your hands immediately to avoid tell-tale tanned palms. Once you're finished, your color will look like you earned it at the beach!
  • FACT: Coppertone introduced QT, the first sunless tanning product, in 1960.

You Will Need

  • Exfoliating body wash with sugar
  • Moisturizer with gradual tanner
  • Self-tanning lotion
  • gel
  • or spray

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