There's nothing healthy about a tan but nothing sexy about pasty pale. Conundrum. Since savvy beauties shun the sun (a far cry from Coco Chanels first intentional tan in the 1930s), we turn to sun-kissed color from a bottle. But self tanners require a bit of TLC when applying. We're sharing the secrets of using self tanners.

Related: Our favorite self tanners

9 Tips for Using Self Tanners

With May as Skin Cancer Awareness Month and our high wedge sandals shimmying head-on into shorter skirt season, here are a few tips for applying self-tanners.

  1. Exfoliate beforehand. Give yourself a nice dry brush before your shower, instead of using a salt or sugar scrub that can leave behind oil on your skin.
  2. Keep your hands clean. Use plastic gloves from at-home hair color kits.
  3. Don't go too dark. Just don't. Choose a shade that might match your natural sun worshipping self.
  4. Customize the mix. If you're nervous that you grabbed a too dark formula, get a lighter glow by mixing 1/2 lotion (oil-free or it'll be Streak City) and 1/2 self-tanner.
  5. Protect Your Hair. Apply body lotion around your hairline and eyebrows prior to self-tanning application so you don't discolor your hair.
  6. Buff it out. After applying the cream to your body, use a tube sock put over your hand a la sock puppet and rub in circular motions to ensure no areas have too much tanner.
  7. Rely on tools. Use makeup sponges to apply to face, tops of feet and tops of hands.
  8. When you're done, put a quarter-sized dollop of hand cream on your hands and rub it in around the wrists to blend any tan lines. Do the same with your feet.
  9. Spot remover. Mess up? Panic not. Lemon juice mixed with sugar, rubbed in small circles at the offending streaky spot should do the trick.

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