I know what you’re imagining when you hear “spray tan.” That episode of Friends where Ross goes to the Mystic Tan booth and gets TWO TWOS on his FRONT.
But spray tanning has come a long way since then. I mean, I would still NEVER EVER recommend you step foot into a spray-tan BOOTH. It’s just … not going to look how you want it, okay?
What I DO recommend, if you’re pasty white like I am and want to attain a golden summer glow without the painful sunburn in-between, is a hand-applied airbrush tan. Here are a few pro-tips for getting a good fake tan, and making it last:
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Make sure you get a good look at someone who has used the formula at the salon you choose. If the person spraying you is orange, you will be too. On the flip side, when you find a salon with a formula and a technician that work for you, hold on for dear life. I trust my tanner so much I’ve sent friends to her for their wedding day (I mean, she sees me buck naked, so we have a special relationship).
Avoid the face
Go for a face-formulated wipe where you can control the color. I love Alpha Beta Glow Pads, starting at $12, for this purpose.
Wear loose-fitting clothes
Cotton. Washable. Dark. Self-tanner stains, and tight seams leave white lines on a fresh spray.
Don’t try to cover up tan lines
Got a bad burn you want to try to hide? Don’t. If you’re a peeler, the spray tan won’t stop it, and you’ll end up looking like this:
Exfoliate and moisturize
To avoid the above, or any unpleasant dark splotches on your dry skin, take the time to exfoliate and moisturize for the few days before your spray tan appointment. It’s good to add a little moisturizer just before you get sprayed as well to help protect broken skin from turning orange or overly brown.
Take the slimming approach
If you’re doing your own tan, make sure to go darker on the outside of your torso and extremities to provide the slimming effect of a sun-kissed tan.
Buy the right tools
Invest in a small foam roller. The tool (seen here for $5) that was developed for streak-free cabinets will provide streak-free tanning as well. Use it to smooth any drips or smudges in your tan as it dries.
Have the Windex ready
Windex is a great secret weapon for getting tell-tale stains off your palms and feet. Make sure you don’t drip it on the part of your tan you’d like to keep though — it’s strong stuff and will leave you splotchy.
Touch-up between tans
Keep your good tan going with a solid at-home spray! I like the pump spray from Infinity Sun ($40) between airbrush tanning sessions.
That’s it! Good luck, spray tanners. May Ross be with you.
Images courtesy of ThinkStock and Morgan Shanahan.More On