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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Boise State chapter.

As spring (and spring break) approaches, the days are getting warmer and the sun is shining brighter! It’s almost time to bust out that long-lost pair of cutoffs again!

But there’s one problem: most of us haven’t tanned in literally forever. Fear not, collegiette! There is a quick and simple solution to put some color back in your skin! Self-tanning lotions are a fast and effective way to a radiant glow. HC is here to give you all the details on how to properly tan– with a bottle.

The tanner:

Photo courtesy of victoriassecret.com.

Here at HC Boise State, we believe that the best products are those which are tried and true. One of the best tanning lotions we recommend is by Victoria’s Secret. “Beach Sexy Self-Tanning Tinted Lotion” is a product that smells surprisingly nice for a self-tanner and supplies a beautiful, rich hue to the skin.  

The accesories:

Besides your basic tanning product, you’ll want to buy a couple of other important items. First item on the list: a pack of latex gloves from Walmart (or any drug store) is essential to keep your hands from turning orange. Some self-tanning products will come with a mitt for applying the lotion. In our experience, however, latex gloves work best. Be sure to wear them when you apply your product!

The second product we’d recommend is a water-based moisturizing lotion. This needs to be applied to all your dry skin spots before you apply your tanner. It’s extremely important for the lotion to be water-based. Be sure to double-check the back of the bottle. If water is one of the first ingredients on the list, you’re good to go. 

Photo courtesy of amazon.com

The process:

Now for the most exciting part – applying your tanner! We’ve broken it down step-by-step for you. 

  1. Shave and exfoliate. Use a loofah or washcloth to exfoliate everywhere: especially target those rough areas such as knees, elbows and ankles where skin tends to be extra dry.   
  2. Apply your water-based lotion to all dry spots. Caution: don’t apply too much lotion! Use a modest amount and rub it almost all the way into your hands. While your hands are still slick, quickly run them over problem areas such as elbows, knees, and ankles.  
  3. Get to it! Remember to put your latex gloves on first. Then, break up your body surface into sections (not literally) and apply tanner to them one at a time, completing covering each surface. Start with your forearms, then move on to your upper arms. Do you shoulders and chest area as well. Then, move down and do your calves, followed by your upper thigh, buttocks, stomach, and lower back area. Have a friend help you out and apply the tanner to hard-to-reach areas such as your back. Remember to rub the lotion in all the way to avoid streaks.
  4. Let it dry! Although you may think the product has fully absorbed, that is not always the case. Try not to wear tight-fitting clothes for the few hours following your application. Otherwise, you might be left with weird tan lines from the inseams of your skinny jeans. We recommend putting on a robe or towel and lounging around for a bit after application. 
  5. Still can’t stand the smell? It’s okay to mix a little bit of a sweet smelling water-based lotion along with your tanner when applying the product. That way, you’re not suffocating from the odd odor that usually accompanies tanning products. We suggest “Moist Hemp Bronzing Moisturizer”. Mix the lotion with the tanner in the palm of your hands and apply both at the same time. Using a gradual tanning lotion is a good idea because your tan will be that much more intensified. Just remember that gradual tanning lotions need to be reapplied every day to build a tan, unlike self-tanners.