7 Self-Tanning Hacks Every Girl Should Know

We all want a golden glow once summer hits—when we're baring skin in shorts, sundresses and bikinis, having a little color is a must! Whether you're naturally tan or need a little help in that department, the safest way to get the shade you love is with self-tanner. Those at-home lotions have earned a bad rap: streaky legs, orange palms and a not-so-nice smell. But you can get a natural, gorgeous glow without baking in the sun's rays—so long as you follow the tips below!

1. Do a test patch


Self-tanner isn't the easiest to remove, so be sure the coloring is exactly what you want before you slather yourself head to toe. You may also be sensitive to ingredients found in some tanners, like DHA, which can cause redness and itching.

2. Wax or shave the day before

Putting self-tanner on uneven skin is not the wisest decision, so make your legs completely smooth 24 hours before applying self-tanner. Don't apply self-tanner immediately after shaving, though; it could irritate your skin!

3. Exfoliate before using tanner

If you rub lotion into your skin without exfoliating first, dead skin cells will absorb the tanner and create splotching. It's simple and easy to exfoliate, and leaves your skin glowing and smooth.

4. Make sure you're completely dry

This one sounds pretty obvious, but it's essential. After drying off with a towel be sure to allow your body another 10 to 15 minutes to air dry completely!

5. Moisturize dry areas

To prevent the tanner from creating uneven color, moisturize the areas that are dry to prevent them from absorbing more color than other parts of your body. Make sure to get places like your nose, knees, and elbows.

6. Protect your palms

No matter how good your self-tanner technique, everyone will know your secret when they see your orange palms. Prevent this mishap by wearing tight, disposable gloves or washing your hands after every application. Some tanners even come with an applicator mitt!

7. Use the right amount for each area

Your face obviously needs way less tanner than your legs. Use the guide above to get an estimate for how much product to use on each area of the body.

With these steps, anyone can master the art of self-tanning. So protect your skin while still getting that summer glow, collegiettes!