Self-tanning lotion is a great way to keep your skin a healthy, golden color year round while avoiding the sun's harmful rays. However, applying a tanning lotion isn't like putting on other body lotions. If you're not careful, you could end up with streaks or an uneven color -- which won't look healthy at all. Follow these steps to get the most natural glow possible.
Prep your skin. Take a shower, being careful to wash off any lotions or products you have on your skin. Use an exfoliating sponge with body wash to gently exfoliate away any dry or rough patches of skin.
Dry off thoroughly with your towel. Make sure your skin is completely dry to avoid uneven coverage of the tanning lotion.
Use the hair tie to put your hair up and out of the way. You won't want to be touching it when you are handling the self-tanning lotion.
Protect your hands with disposable gloves. When you tan naturally, your palms don't get darker. Wearing gloves will ensure that you will not have orange palms from the tanning cream.
Start with about a half-dollar size amount of self-tanner in your gloved palm. Begin with the feet and work your way up, applying more than you would with body lotion but not so much that it won't rub in. Squeeze more tanner out as you need it.
Be care when applying the tanner to places where skin is thicker. Use slightly less self tanner on your ankles, knees, and elbows to avoid uneven coloring.
Continue up your torso and arms. Don't forget your neck. You want to match every part of your body as closely as possible to give yourself the natural tan look. You can add more tanning lotion to the places that look lighter than some of the other areas of your body.
Take special care when applying it to your face. Start out with a very light application of tanning cream, letting it dry, and building up more over time to avoid mistakes.
Remove the gloves, wash your hands, and dry them off. Finally, apply a small amount of the self tanner to the backs of your hands and wrists using a disposable spatula.
Avoid wearing clothes or touching anything until you are completely dry. This usually takes about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the tanner.
Make sure you choose an appropriate color for your skin tone.
Store the bottle in a plastic baggie or something else that is sealed, so the lotion will not leak and stain the counter, the shelf, or floor.