I am a fan of Neutrogena Micro-Mist Airbrush Sunless Tan ($10.99), which provides just a hint of color with each application. If you're prone to dryness before or after self-tanning, try Avène Moisturizing Self-Tanning Lotion ($22), infused with thermal spring water, to soften and hydrate skin.
When I self-tan, I start by gently scrubbing my skin with a loofah or mesh sponge ($2 to $4) in the shower to remove dead skin cells so the tanner goes on more evenly and lasts longer. Then you should dry the skin thoroughly, apply self-tanner from head to toe, and rub it in well, avoiding heels and knuckles (where the skin is thick and will absorb too much of the self-tanner).
Smooth an extra layer of tanner onto your face. Since skin is thinner on the face, it often takes more product to get a head-to-toe match. Wash your hands afterward so the tanning cream doesn't get stuck between your fingers and turn the skin unnaturally dark.
If you want a self-tanner and SPF in one product, try L'Oreal Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Lotion SPF 20 ($9.99). But be sure to apply a lotion with an SPF of at least 30 before heading outdoors.
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