Self-Tanning Tips For Pale Skin So You Look Perfectly Bronzed Instead Of Orange & Streaky

Even though I know tanning is bad for me, I can't help but crave that sun-kissed glow sometimes. But when I want to be a few shades darker without having to sit in the sun for hours, I'll admit I can be a little wary of self-tanning my fair skin. Because, as most paler ladies who have dabbled in sunless tanner know, achieving an even and natural finish can be pretty difficult. And yeah, I've had my fair share of awkward mess ups.

On fair skin, self-tanner has the tendency to appear more orange-toned, and application can be trickier as well. (Things I wish I could've told my teenage self.) Thanks to our pale starting shades, we seem to be more prone to streaks. The contrast between the deep tan we aim for and our natural hues can easily give a zebra-type effect if we're not careful. Which is why it's important to follow instructions carefully, and adhere to self-tanning tips for fair skin. That way, your faux tan will look just as natural as if you had spent a week on the beach (but without all of the sun damage). So if you run on the pale side, here are seven self-tanning tips to know so you can achieve a flawless bronze every time.

1. Shave In Advance

Clarins Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster for Body, $46, Clarins

In order to achieve a totally even tan, it's important to shave or wax at least 24 hours in advance. This way, no hairs will get in the way and cause your tan to be anything less than perfectly smooth.

2. Exfoliate

La Mer The Face and Body Gradual Tan, $100, Creme De La Mer

Regardless of how light or dark your skin is, it's always important to exfoliate first. But the lighter your skin, the greater potential there is for a patchy tan to be more obvious. Exfoliating will help remove dead skin cells so there is a smooth canvas for an even tan. Splotchiness avoided.

3. Patch-Test

St. Tropez Self Tan Classic Bronzing Mousse, $42, Nordstrom

St. Tropez skin finishing expert, Sophie Evans, explained to InStyle.com that darker tanners can look unnatural on fair skin tones. She recommends patch-testing the product you wish to use on a small area of your skin to ensure that it matches your natural tones before proceeding. This way, you can avoid turning out an unnatural shade of orange.

4. Try A Gradual Tan

Jergens Natural Glow Revitalizing Lotion, $9, Target

Taking it slow and building up your color is one of the best ways for those with fair skin to achieve their perfect shade without accidentally going too dark. Choose a gradual tan that suits your skin tone, and use it every day or every other day until you reach your desired color.

5. Layer Products

Tarte Brazilliance Plus+ Self Tanner, $39, Tarte Cosmetics

If you do want to go dark though, still start with a gradual self-tanner that will help you get a few shades darker before using a traditional self-tanner. This will allow you to adjust more gradually to your new skin color instead of being shocked by a sudden change. Plus, it will also create a nice base for going darker so you won't have to worry as much about turning too orange or leaving behind streaks.

6. Use A Mitt

Vita Liberata Tanning Mitt, $7, Nordstrom

Mitts not only save your body from a streaky application, but they also save your hands from turning orange in the process. Ensure you have a well-blended (and therefore more natural-looking) tan by always using a tanning mitt to apply your product.

7. Don't Skimp On Tanner

Fake Bake Fair Lotion, $14, Amazon

One of the biggest reasons streaks appear, though, is due to not using enough tanner. I know the idea of using too much and turning too dark is a real fear for those with pale skin. But actually trying to spread too little product too thin is what results in streaks. Your skin can only absorb so much tanning agent, so over-application is not as much of an issue as some areas having enough tanner and others needing more. By selecting the right formula (a gradual tanner, or one you patch-tested), and not skimping on the tanner, you won't have to worry about streaks or turning too dark.

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