How To Apply Self-Tanner The Right Way, So You Don't End Up With A Streaky Orange Mess

I hate to do this, but I’m going to come right out and say it: we only have one month of summer left. Soon, we’ll have to say goodbye to fruity drinks, summer Fridays, and weekends at the beach. But you don’t have to bid your perfect golden skin farewell as soon as Labor Day rolls around. That, my friends, is because self-tanner exists. (Praise hands!) I know, I know. You’re terrified of looking streaky or orange. But guess what? With the right products and application techniques, you don’t have to.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve fallen victim to a streaky self-tan dozens of times, whether due to choosing the wrong formula, using the wrong tools, or pure carelessness, you’d think I’d have thrown in the towel (mitt?) after the disastrous streaks that my body has endured. But I’ve since learned from my mistakes, and I’m not letting the streaks win any longer. I will have a flawless glow into the fall. So, In order to cover all of the bases, I’ve consulted St Tropez Skin Finishing Expert Sophie Evans to share her fool-proof application secrets.

What You'll Need

1. Exfoliate

About 24 hours before you self-tan, exfoliate your entire body using an oil-free body scrub. "Make sure to pay extra attention to dry skin, such as your knees and elbows," advises Evans.

2. Moisturize

In order to avoid muddy spots, Evans suggests applying a coat of moisturizer only to your knees, elbows, ankles, and any dry patches that you have. Excess formula will stick to drier areas, causing them to turn out darker, but moisturizer will create a barrier.

3. Apply

When tanning large areas of your body, Evans advises dispensing two pumps of mousse at a time onto your mitt, and applying directly to skin using a flat hand and light strokes. Save your hands and feet for last, only using the excess foam left on the mitt. That way, you'll prevent too much color buildup on those spots. And if you see a wonky patch, "don't try to rub it, "says Evans. "It'll remove the layer of self-tanner from your skin. When you shower, any trouble areas should blend together."

4. Clean Up

Orange nails are never cool, so after you apply, clean up your nails and cuticles on your hands and feet with a makeup-remover wipe to remove any excess pigment.

Images: Emily Geraghty/Bustle