It was gorgeous and sunny Sunday, so of course being outside enjoying it was a must! But as soon as I put the shorts and tank top on I made a big realization. I am pale.

Not a good look in the summer. So how can you get instant color that makes you look like you've been enjoying the beach for weeks?

There are a lot of different self tanners on the market that can help you get the summer glow you want without the harmful UV ray exposure you don't. But whether you choose to try a spray or a gel, a lotion or a mousse, the technique to getting the perfect self tan should be the same.

  • 1

    Shaving and Exfoliating

    If you want even color, you've got to start with a good base. Make sure to shave any areas where you don't want hair at least an hour before applying your self tanner of choice. Self tanners also work best of fresh skin, so be sure to exfoliate with a body scrub an hour or two prior to applying as well.

  • 2

    Protecting Certain Areas

    You probably don't want tanner on everything. So you've got to take steps to avoid color where you don't want it. Vaseline comes in handy for this step. Applying it to your eyebrows, lips and around your nail beds will keep the tanner from darkening these areas and make it easier to wash away when your done.

    Wavebreakmedia Ltd
  • 3


    No one is tan on the palms of their hands, so if you get them covered in color it will be a dead giveaway that your tan is fake. Make sure to wear rubber gloves when applying your tanner. And before they get covered in product, start applying tanner to your face, neck and small areas like behind your ears making sure to work in a small circular motion.

  • 4

    Work Feet Up

    After getting your face and neck covered move on to your feet. The feet don't need a lot of product, so don't go crazy, and then start heading north going legs to stomach to chest to arms. After the arms you can remove the gloves and CAREFULLY apply a small amount to the backs to your hands.

  • 5

    Paint Your Back

    It sounds strange, but you'll want to use a paint brush to apply the self tanner to your back. They say it takes a little practice to get used to, but makes things much easier once you have it down.

  • 6

    Wipe Away Excess

    After every area you want colored is covered, grab some tissues to start wiping some away. Expert self tanners say removing excess color from your wrists, tops of feet, elbows, and your knees helps to make your glow look more natural.

  • 7


    After your self tanner is applied you can help it dry with a standard hair dryer. Take a few seconds to run the hot air over areas you've colored to speed up the drying process. Then wait at least an hour before getting dressed or going to bed.

  • 8

    Fixing Mistakes

    If you wake up the next day not liking what you see, there are a few ways to fix any mistakes. Applying more tanner to areas that look paler than the rest of you is one. Or if the problem is dark spots you can use a little lemon juice to "erase" areas that look like the color got globbed on.

    Mariusz Blach