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Question: How can I get a natural looking tan without the risk of sun exposure?

Answer: It’s time to get golden! Like most of us during this time of year, we want a radiant, glowing tan minus the harmful results. Baking in the sun all day greased in oil or visiting the tanning salon are for the olden days. Now, you can achieve a natural golden glow without compromising your health and skin by faux-tanning. A little weary about self-tanning because it can be fake-looking? You’re in luck because sunless tanners and bronzing makeup have advanced far beyond the usual streaks and orange palms. Just in time for summer, here are a few tips on how you can get sun-kissed using the best products for a realistic tan.

Before applying a self-tanner, you’ll want to prep and exfoliate your skin by showering and shaving completely. It may be helpful to apply Vaseline on your nails and cuticles to avoid stains or wear a mitt for tanning like ULTA’s Sunless Mitt. You’ll also want to test a spot the day before you apply to make sure the color isn’t too dark or orange.

Now it’s time for the fun part: applying. Avoid rushing through the process, so you don’t end up with an uneven tan. Begin at your feet and work your way up to avoid color creases. Once you’ve applied an even coat over your entire body—with the exception of the palms and the soles of your feet—apply a layer of lotion around your wrists, ankles, elbows, underarms and back of your knees. This is necessary because not only does it diminish the color in these areas that are naturally lighter, but it also makes your tan look more real. You’ll want to wait at least ten minutes before putting on any clothes, and dark clothes are better to prevent splotches. If results don’t meet your expectations, wading in the pool (chlorine dilutes the color) or scrubbing in the shower can fade your tan.

Keep in mind that self-tanners come in various forms such as gels, lotions, sprays, foams and many more. The application technique will vary depending on which one you use. Also, products that work for one skin type may not work for another, so you’ll want to try out different products suitable for your skin. Fake Bake Flawless, however, works for all skin tones and comes with an application glove for even results. Sun Laboratories also has a great line of sunless tanners from medium to dark. A personal fave and all-inclusive brand is Tanwise, available at Sally Beauty. From tanning lotions and face gels to sprays and mousse, Tanwise has everything you need for a gorgeous shimmer. If these products or methods are outside of your comfort zone, you can try a sunless tanner lotion like Jergens Natural Glow moisturizer for effective results and less streaking.

A good fake tan is possible in lieu of sunbathing and dangerous tanning beds. Once you pick the right product for your skin and apply properly, you’ll be well on your way to bronzed beauty all year-round—no basking in the sunlight required.

What are your tips or favorite products for a sunless tan?