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Question: Are there any spray tanning tips I should be aware of (as a newbie)?

Answer: As someone who tends to stay out of the sun, I am a true believer in the sunless tan. Spray tanning is a great way to achieve that sizzling summer glow without the health risks. Immediately effective, spray tans can help you look fabulous for special events or get ready for bikini season in as little as one appointment. To pull off a natural looking tan, remember that less is always more. Err on the side of caution to avoid the negative side effects of sunless tanning. Layers upon layers of self-tanner doesn’t always translate into a deeper tan—overdoing it can leave you streaky and orange. Yikes!

But, have no fear—there are some basics tricks when it comes to mastering the art of an even spray tan. Here are our best spray tanning tips:

Before your spray tan appointment

Preparation is key. The morning of your appointment, exfoliate with a good loofah or body scrub so that the tanner can absorb evenly into your skin. Your knees and elbows will need the most attention, as these are the parts that tend to soak up the most color. Don’t put on deodorant, perfume, or makeup before your spray tan. You want to be a fresh, blank canvas. Dress appropriately. Leave your little white dress at home, ditch the nice lingerie, and opt for loose fitting, dark clothing and sandals. The last thing you want to do after your appointment is to put on something tight that will most definitely ruin your new tan.

During your appointment

When seeing a specialist, make sure to discuss how dark you want to go. Also alert them of any dry skin areas or cuts and sores. If you prefer the booth, make sure to follow the instructions carefully. Some machines will tell you to rotate or twirl, while others are automatic. Keep your arms away from your torso and stand with your feet spread apart to avoid the inner sides of your legs from touching. Put a towel down on the floor of the booth to avoid discoloring the soles of your feet. Check for imperfections. If you see streaks or blotches, gently pat them dry. Also inspect if the color has settled in evenly on the areas of your body where there are skin folds and crevices (think of your knuckles, in between your toes, your elbows, and knees). You’re most likely to see the telltale signs of a bad spray tan in these areas—so be extra careful!

After your tanning appointment

Let the tanning solution dry completely before putting on your clothes (this should take about 20 minutes). This part is crucial—you wouldn’t slip into a pair of closed-toe pumps immediately after a pedicure, right? Oh, and skip the bra if you can. Let your tan set in for about 6-8 hours after your appointment. Do not shower or engage in any strenuous activity that would cause you to sweat during this time. The night of your spray tan, or preferably the next morning, shower (do not exfoliate this time) and apply lotion.

Why fry in the sweltering sun when you can get that gorgeous, radiant tan all on your own? Enjoy the summer and get glowing!