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Sunless Tanning Tips to Help You Avoid a Trump Tan

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    Shed Some Skin

    You've heard for years to prep skin by using a facial and/or body scrub wherever you plan to use self-tanner, but you should also exfoliate to even out a blotchy, fading sunless tan. You don't have to remove all of the previous tan; exfoliating will smooth out any rough patches of skin and guarantee that the next tan goes on a little more uniform. And just like with nail polish, added layers will appear more even so your skin will look as smooth as a politician sounds.

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    Face the Light

    The average American woman showers daily but washes her face twice per day, so your tan tends to fade faster from your face and hands. (Related: The Best Facial Cleanser for Your Skin Type.) To maintain even color, apply self-tanner to just your face and backs of hands between full-body sessions. Most sunless tanning product brands offer a face-specific line, or you can do a 24-hour patch test near your jawline with your body tanner to make sure it doesn't cause a reaction. Sometimes a quality self-tan will allow you to skip foundation all together, but if you prefer full-coverage, just make sure your foundation color matches your new glow. If you're going for a subtle tan, a little powder bronzer might do the trick.

  • Less Is More

    For sunless tanning newbies, try a conservative approach at home and mix a little lotion into your self-tanner for a lighter color. If you want a deeper bronze, let that layer dry and add another, or apply on consecutive days until your reach your desired color. This reduces the risk of error and will prevent you from wanting to call in sick and cancel all social plans. This is also a great strategy for the backs of hands and tops of feet. Several light applications will ensure less tell-tale signs of a fake. (Plus, find out How to Prevent—and Fix—Self-Tanning Disasters.)

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    Go Green

    For years, the biggest gripe about sunless tanning is the left-over orange tinge but sunless tanning products and spray-tanning booths have come a long way so most products look more realistic these days. However, take an extra step to fool everyone into thinking you spent all weekend away, basking in the sun. At home or after a spray tan, use a dark cloth and gently towel off. Don't apply any pressure, and move in a circular motion to remove the very top layer of self-tanner. Your tan will continue to develop but if you leave this layer, the residue will oxidize and could create that unwanted, Donald Trump-esque orange hue.

    For olive skin tones, reach for a green-based self-tanner like the St. Tropez Dark Range line. Yes, the green color is initially alarming, so plan to apply on a night in, but it washes away in the shower to reveal a realistic brown glow.

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    Get Real

    Use self-tanner more sparingly in the areas that wouldn't naturally see as much sun. Apply a little less around the eyes and between fingers and toes but don't skip these areas all together! Reverse raccoon eyes or any too-light or too-dark patches are dead giveaways of a fake tan. Before a spray-tanning session, generously apply the salon-provided barrier cream to prevent absorption on any rough areas of skin like elbows, knuckles, and knees, and apply a light layer to those areas that tend to hide from the sun. At home, a petroleum-based gel or thick, moisturizing cream will get the job done.

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    Brush It Off

    So you did everything right and woke up with one leg darker than the other. Skip the lemon juice and don't bother with the sunless tanning remover sold at your local tanning salon. Instead, when you have an uneven tan, grab your whitening toothpaste (make sure it's a paste, not a gel) and use it to 'wash off' any areas where you noticed you used a heavy hand with your application. If you opt out of wearing a mitt to apply your tanner, you can also use toothpaste to wash your hands post-tan and leave your palms evidence-free.