Using a self-tanning lotion is a great way to achieve a natural, sun-kissed glow without having to expose your skin to the sun’s harmful rays or dangerous UV rays from a tanning bed. Unfortunately, if you’re not careful, using self tanner can also lead to an orange, streaky appearance. Fortunately, we’ve got some tips you can follow to ensure a natural-looking, streak-free tan.

Start With Exfoliation

The key to a successful “fake” tan is to start with clean, freshly exfoliated skin. When your skin is properly exfoliated, the pores open up, which is ideal for maximum absorption of the tanning lotion. The best way to exfoliate before applying a self-tanning lotion is to take a warm shower and scrub gently with a loofah. Once you’re out of the shower, pat the skin dry with a clean towel before applying the tanning lotion for best results.

Woman in bath washing leg in bathtub with a lot of bubble bath foam. Leg of beautiful young woman in bath in bathroom.

Be Careful Around Knees and Elbows

One of the most common mistakes people make when applying tanning lotion is applying too much around the knees, elbows, ankles, and wrists. The skin around these areas of the body tends to be rougher and thicker, which can lead to uneven absorption and a deep orange color. The best way to avoid this is to apply tanning lotion sparingly around these areas; you may even want to apply a small amount of regular lotion to these spots ahead of time to minimize absorption and ensure a natural look.

Wash Hands Thoroughly After Application

Whatever you do, don’t forget to wash your hands (especially your palms) after applying tanning lotion! Otherwise, you’re sure to end up with bright orange hands that will be a dead giveaway that you’re sporting a fake tan.

By following these tips while applying a self-tanning lotion, you’ll be well on your way to building gradual, natural color without worrying about doing damage to your skin in the process.