Tanning is a favorite among many women and teenage girls – but did you know that spending just 10 minutes in the sun can dramatically increase your risk of getting melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer? Why play with chance when you could opt for a no-risk option such as sunless tanner? Although many products in the past may have left you looking a bit orange, this is a foolproof way to get and maintain a sunless tan. We at Lionesse have put together this helpful guide on how to do sunless tanner the right way.

Woman waxing her legs at home.

Complete All Other Skin Care Procedures First
Before indulging in some sunless tanning, you will want to make sure you have shaved, waxed, tweezed or got your mani-pedi combo done before hand. These types of procedures can actually rub the sunless tanner away from the skin, leaving you looking blotchy and undone. Best course of action? Complete these steps first and foremost.

Woman using a pumice stone to get rid of the dead skin from her legs.

Exfoliating 101
Before applying a sunless tanning product, you will want to make sure you have exfoliated all of the skin on your body before applying the tanner. Sunless tanner sticks to dryer skin, which can also leave you looking blotchy and undone. When you are in the shower shaving as in step one, be sure to use a coarse scrub all over the body. Pumice stones work well for the feet, elbows, and knees – which can actually become darker with the application of sunless tanner. Avoid this bad look by removing dead, tired skin.

Dry Out
Make sure when you get out of the shower that your skin is 100% dry before moving on to the actual application process. You will otherwise look streaky – and nobody wants to look like a zebra with stripey sunless tanner.

Woman applying cream on her toes.

Apply a Minimal Amount of Lotion
Applying a very small amount of lotion to the skin will help the sunless tanner adhere to the skin, and prevent the skin from becoming dried out. Don’t overdo it – a little goes a long way. Be sure to tackle those elbows, knees, feet, and any other darker spots on the body with some moisturizing body lotion as well. Remember though – a small bit goes a long way.

Woman with a sunless tanner at a beach.

Pick Your Poison
Well, not really – but we are referring to your sunless tanning product of choice. You should opt for a sunless tanning product that gradually gets darker over the course of a few days rather than one that gives you color all at once to avoid a fake look. There are even some brands that don’t smell nearly as bad as the traditional sunless tanning products of old, and work very well to give you a natural look.

Apply Your Tanner
When applying your tanning product, work from the floor up so you won’t end up rubbing any tanner off that’s applied to creases on the body. When you reach your neck area and have blended it into the skin well, rinse your hands thoroughly before applying it to your face, arms, and hands. This will ensure your hands don’t become discolored from all the excess product buildup. Once you apply to the face, be sure to spend time focusing in on the areas that would generally receive more sun naturally, such as the forehead and cheeks. Once finished, wash hands thoroughly, and allow the product to dry completely before getting dressed. A good rule of thumb is about 20 minutes or so. Try not to sweat or take a shower for 6-8 hours after application.

Woman applying a moisturizer on her skin.

Maintain Your Faux Glow
To maintain your fake tan, simply apply moisturizer regularly and whenever you feel the tan is fading, simply begin again at step one.