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How to Prevent Self-Tanner Disasters

With summer comes sun-kissed skin—except when you're in the studio all day! When you find yourself months into peak sun season with no tan lines to show, reaching for a bottle of self-tanning lotion or spray seems like the perfect quick fix. It's easy, cheap, safer than broiling in the sun all day and convenient—you just lather it on and go, right? Not exactly. From streaks to splotches, self-tanner can go very wrong. If you're worried about overdosing on the orange, don't sweat (that'll only make it worse!): DS rounded up the best tips to tame your faux tan.


Problem: Streaks and blotches

How to avoid it: Make sure you've fully exfoliated the areas where you plan to apply product. The pigments in self-tanner cling to dead skin cells, so if you're dry and haven't (gently) scrubbed your skin, the color will be uneven and streaky. As you apply the tanner, be sure to distribute it evenly. Apply a little less to your elbows and knees, as these drier areas absorb more pigment and will become darker faster.

Problem: A too-orange shade

How to avoid it: If you're unsure how your skin will react to a specific shade or brand of tanner, mix it with equal parts moisturizer to dilute the color a bit. If you want a darker hue, slowly blend more tanner than moisturizer into the mixture.

Problem: Orange palms

How to avoid it: Wearing gloves to apply your tanner is one solution, but sometimes the gloves' rough material can distribute the color unevenly (and you can end up with an equally strange white-glove look). If you prefer to apply tanner bare-handed, make sure to wash your palms with soap and warm water afterward to get rid of any residual product.

Post-Disaster Solutions

If you do find yourself looking like an Oompa Loompa, exfoliate your skin in a warm shower to help even out the blotchiness and remove excess product. If the tanner is especially stubborn, add a squeeze of lemon juice to your loofah—the acidity will help break down streaks. For blotches that run down your legs, try shaving and moisturizing, followed by another round of exfoliating.

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