If you long for the perfect tan but know you can't soak up the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays, using a self-tanner is the way to go!

Follow these tips to get the perfect at-home glow.

  1. Exfoliate. It's always best to exfoliate your skin before applying any type of tanning product; if you skip this step, you may end up with uneven or streaked results. Try L'Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze Sunless Scrub ($8). Use a soft cotton washcloth to exfoliate while you shower or bathe.
  2. Dry your skin. Make sure your skin is clean and air-dried before you apply the self-tanner. If your skin is not dry or if you're already wearing a lotion, you may get uneven patches that will be hard to correct.
  3. Apply self-tanner. To avoid staining your hands, it's important to wear protective gloves. Remember that knees and elbows will appear darker, so apply only a small amount of lotion to these areas. To cover your skin evenly, use downward, fanning strokes. Start with your legs (remember to shave beforehand), then work your way up. For your face, try Banana Boat's EveryDay Glow Face Daily Moisturizing Lotion ($5-$7), which has a hint of color. Be sure to blend it into your hairline, neck and jaw area.
  4. Let it dry. Self-tanners generally take a few minutes to dry. Allow the lotion to dry thoroughly so you don't stain your clothing. Most tanning products last about five to seven days. To keep your tan looking fresh, touch it up with a tanner-moisturizer like Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer ($6).