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You're Good to Glow: Self-Tanning Tips

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Get a natural-looking tan without the sun damage! Here, sunless tanning tips and tricks for getting healthy, golden skin the safe way.

Fake a Golden Glow

Repeat after us: The only healthy tan is a fake one -- meaning one that comes from a bottle. Want to look golden in your bikini? Heidi Klum and the beauties of Victoria's Secret get extra bikini-body confidence from Meredith Baraf, a makeup artist for the brand. Here, her sunless cocktail for creating the most natural-looking glow.

Buff Before You Bronze

DHA, the tinting ingredient in self-tanners, "attaches to the amino acids in the top layer of your skin," Baraf says. "Scrubbing first gives you an even tone." Use a buffer with sugar (such as Caress Evenly Gorgeous Exfoliating Body Wash, $3.50, drugstores), which gently sloughs.

Prime Yourself

Moisturize from head to toe to minimize dry spots, which absorb excess pigment. Baraf suggests using a gradual tanner (try Hawaiian Tropic's lower-DHA Island Glow Medium Daily Moisturizer). "It helps regular tanner [applied in the next step] look more natural," she explains.

Tint Your Skin

Apply your chosen tanner (see our best self-tanner picks on the next page) in a circular motion to avoid streaks. When using an aerosol, hold the can 2 feet from your body and keep it moving to avoid depositing too much color on one spot, Baraf says. To reach your back, put tanning lotion on the center of a three-foot strip of plastic wrap and sweep it across skin in a back-and-forth motion (the way you dry off your back with a towel), says Tamar Vezirian, founder of Gotham Glow NY Airbrush Tanning in New York City. Or get into the shower, spray tanner into the air, and step backward into the mist, then repeat, Baraf suggests.

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