The 10 Best Tricks for Making a Fake Tan Look Totally Natural

Admit it: Your skin hasn't seen the sun in about two weeks. Whether that's because you've finally listened to your dermatologist and stopped laying out, or you just rarely emerge from the office for your hourly dose of vitamin D, your skin now looks translucent under the lights in your apartment. You miss that healthy glow, and you need that healthy, natural-looking tan to feel like your normal self again.

Ideally you'd jet off to the Bahamas, or maybe the South of France, but you've got bills to pay and a cat to feed. The vacation will have to wait, and you'll have to continue looking like Casper the Friendly Ghost. Of course, you do have a wedding to go to next week, and then there's that important first date, and add that to your growing list of things where you'll want to look like you've got that pretty, bronzed glow going on.

You'll have to get some of that radiance back pronto, so you've decided faking a real tan is the only way to do it. Tanning beds are so 2003, not to mention dangerous, and the idea of stripping down for a stranger to spray you with a tanning gun is less than appealing. So an at-home self-tanning session is the obvious choice. After you exfoliate, shave, and apply, you'll totally look like you went on that vacation to the South of France. (Harry Styles and a yacht not included.)

Exfoliate With Sweet-Smelling Brown Sugar

Fresh Brown Sugar Body Polish, $38, Amazon

First things first: You've got to exfoliate. Use the Fresh Body Polish all over your skin to get rid of dead skin cells that can ruin your perfectly even tan. This one's healing oils are perfect for those dry spots you always have trouble with, plus it smells like brown sugar.

Get a Close Shave Before Adding Color

C onair Dual Wet/Dry Rechargeable Shaver, $20, Amazon

Shaving is hard, but it's one of the most important steps to take before you can start to apply your tan. The Conair rechargeable shaver is sure to give you a close shave with twin independent floating cutters and foils that work on wet or dry skin. (You don't want stubble all over your legs, so take your time and make sure you don't miss any spots.)

Get Your Tanning Mitt Ready

Thermalabs Ultimitt, $13, Amazon

When you have trouble with streaks or stained palms after applying your spray tan (who doesn't?), you need the Thermalabs Ultimitt. The durable but ultra soft material won't rip, stretch or crack, and users rave about how evenly it applies a tan every time. Spray the tan directly onto the mitt, and apply it in circular motions. You'll never look uneven again.

Pick the Kim Kardashian-Approved Self-Tanner

Vita Liberata Tinted Tan Mousse, $46, Amazon

For the ultimate self tanner, look no further than the bronze goddess herself. Kim K. swears by the Vita Liberata Phenomenal Tan Mousse, which goes on clear and appears after a few hours. The rich, natural-looking color lasts for up to three weeks, and users say its streak-free finish and simple application process make it the best self-tanner they've ever tried.

Or See Where You've Applied With A Tinted Formula

Body Drench Quick Tan Instant Self Tanner Bronzing Spray, $10, Amazon

If you're looking for something a little more affordable, Quick Tan is the perfect option. Its bronze tinted formula goes on smooth, letting you can see where you've applied before the color fully develops three hours later. Itch-free and non-greasy, this self-tanner will fade gradually, instead of getting patchy like other options.

Bronze Your Face With a Specialized Lotion

St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Lotion Face, $24, Amazon

When it comes to tanning your face, a little can go a long way. Don't risk looking like an Oompa-Loompa! Instead, go for the St. Tropez Bronzing Lotion. It won't block sensitive facial pores, and it gives a nice glow without going over the top by gradually building your tan. It's perfect for all skin tones, so you don't even need to worry about matching it to the rest of your body.

Wait A Day, Then Use Moisturizing Shaving Cream

EOS Ultra Moisturizing Shave Cream, $17, Amazon

Once you apply your tan, you won't be able to moisturize too much or your tan will move around and fade, so make sure your skin is protected with a moisturizing shaving cream. The EOS Shave Cream has aloe, oats, and antioxidants to hydrate your skin and keep it looking radiant.

Don't Forget to Blend Feet Tan Lines

Amopé Pedi Perfect Electronic Pedicure Foot File, $30, Amazon

When your tan looks amazing, you'll want to stomp around in a short dress and heels — but awkward foot tan lines can get in the way. The No. 1 best-selling Amopé Foot File keeps your feet as smooth as the rest of your body with a replaceable head that spins 360 degrees, gently removing all that nasty dead skin on your heels.

Mistakes Happen: Even It Out With Baked Bronzer

Lorac Tantalizer Baked Bronzer, $33, Amazon

If your body ends up being a little darker than the rest of your skin, Lorac Bronzer is the ideal solution. Its radiant formula can apply wet or dry, and users say the subtle shimmer adds the perfect glow. Just add the powder anywhere the sun would naturally hit your face, and no one will ever know your tan isn't real.

Erase Excess Product With Soothing Coconut Oil

U nreal Tan Eraser, $25, Amazon

Once you're perfectly tanned, make sure you take care of any extra product on your hands. Streaks on your wrists and build-up around your knuckles are always telltale signs of a fake tan, so wipe them off with Unreal Tan Eraser. The formula safely removes unwanted color without scrubbing, while the shea butter, almond, and coconut oil keep skin hydrated.

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Images: Fotolia (1), Amazon (10)