How to Apply Self Tanner Like an A-Lister

 Henry Flores/

When it comes to seeking a pretty, summertime glow, more stars are swapping the tanning bed (everyone except the Jersey Shore cast, that is) for bottles of self-tanner.

But when it comes to faking a gorgeous tan, things can get spotty — literally. Check out these tips that Us Weekly got straight from St. Tropez's Skin Finishing Expert, Sophie Evans.

Exfoliate or shave first. This will not only give you silky legs, but also will help prevent splotches. If you're prone to large pores post-shave or wax, wait about 8-12 hours before applying a self tanner to avoid dots showing up on your legs from the color, advises Evans.

Skip the moisturizer. It's important to keep your skin dry and product-free pre-tan. The exceptions: elbows, knees, hands, feet, or any spots of severe dry skin like an eczema patch. "These areas soak up the tan really fast and can develop about 10 shades darker if not protected by a moisturizer beforehand," says Evans.

Choose your potion. There are a slew of formulas available, so how do you know which is for you? According to Evans, aerosols are easy to apply and dry very fast. Mousse also has quick-drying power and gives you more control. Lotions are the most hydrating and will generally last the longest — 10 days as compared to five for the other formulas.

If this is your first bout with self-tanner, Evans recommends starting with a gradual formula. "Build a light glow that you are happy with then move onto the deeper tans, which will demand far less applications and time," says Evans.

Troubleshoot any problem areas. "Always work with enough product so that you can glide it over the skin freely," advises Evans. "Streaks happen due to a lack of product." Since your skin will only absorb a certain amount of product, it's better to follow the "more is better" rule. When it comes to removing dark spots, Evans recommends St Tropez Tan Remover to get rid of stains on your palms and nails. As for your problem areas like your ankles and joints, blend a moisturizer up the crease in the wrist and along the back of the heel to make the tan perfect and seamless.

Maintain your tan. Apply the product every day until you achieve your desired color. "Gently exfoliate the skin every 2-3 days with a fine scrub and keep your skin moisturized between applications," says Evans. "That will help keep your color in a beautiful natural tan tone state." Evans recommends St Tropez Tan Optimizer)

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