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We had the pros shows us how to get a natural-looking glow with body bronzer—and it's much easier than you think. Click through for their genius tips on everything from how to prep your skin to how to apply it the right way.
"Before applying self-tanner, exfoliating in the shower is a really important first step for prepping skin from head to toe," says Victoria's Secret makeup artist Karan Mitchell. "This smoothing body scrub sloughs away any dry skin from the winter."
"It's important to moisturize, but wait until it's fully absorbed into your skin," says Mitchell. "If the moisturizer is still damp, it will dilute the tanning product."
"Pay special attention to moisturize super-dry parts of your body like your feet, hands, elbows and knees so they don't over-absorb the self-tanner," says St. Tropez Skin Finishing Expert Fiona Locke.
"Try not to shave right before applying self-tanner either," says Mitchell. "Shaving can cause small bumps that you can’t see and your tan might not look even the next day."
Bronzing products can get overwhelming—there are so many different formulas to choose from! There's gel, foam, powder, cream, mousse, sprays—the options seem endless. "It’s all a matter of personal preference, but it is much easier to work with a gel or cream to get the most control," says Mitchell.
"Prevent unwanted staining on your hands by using an applicator mitt," says Locke. "They're so easy to work with!"
"To get self-tanner on every inch of your body, start from your feet and work your way up. Remember to bend your knees and elbows while applying it so you fill in the creases," says Locke.
"For hard-to-reach areas, a spray can be great to reach sections like the middle of your back," says Locke. "And don't be afraid to combine two different types of formulas, like a spray with a gel, to find what combo works best for your skin."
"You can absolutely use the same tanner for your face that you use on your body. Just make sure to avoid applying it to the nose, ears and eyebrows so blotchy patches don't appear. Or, you can blend the product into your regular moisturizer to guarantee an even glow," says Mitchell.
"To make sure you your tanner doesn't go on streaky, try a product that has coloration or tint so you know exactly where you applied it," says Mitchell.
"For the most natural-looking faux tan, make sure that you don’t go over the same area too quickly. Wait an hour in between applications and then reapply until you get the desired shade," says Mitchell.
"Use an exfoliator or salt scrub in the shower to remove the product," says Mitchell. "Soaking in a warm bath with baby oil can also do the trick," says Locke.