If you’ve had a self-tanning fail, you’re not alone. Too many of us make little mistakes here and there that end up costing us messy, smudged and blotchy tans that look anything but natural. Mylene Wait, CEO of Vita Liberata South Africa, has put together some at-home self-tanning tips to prevent these mistakes and help you build and preserve that perfect summer glow:

How to preserve your self-tan?

Maintain your tan by moisturizing twice daily and avoid shaving and waxing. Don’t use shower gels or moisturizers that contain essential oils as these oils can strip the tan, reducing the length of time you get out of it. For an extra tan-boost, a lotion with a gradual build tan effect is a great option to top up your colour after a few days.

Here are five tips for getting the perfect at-home tan:

1. Prep the skin

First, start on the inside by eating lots of fruit and vegetables and drinking plenty of water. Then the most crucial step that we often forget is to exfoliate! This helps the provide a smooth canvas for the tanning product. You can exfoliate with a great pre-tan body exfoliator or an exfoliating mitt.

2. Circular motions

For the best results, apply your products in a circular motion to prevent streaking. You don’t need to rub it in too much, either. You aren’t a piece of furniture! The actives will naturally absorb on contact.

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 3. For creases

In dry areas such as the elbows and knees, apply moisturizer and allow to absorb for at least an hour before tanning. And of course always wipe knuckles, knees and the back of the hands lightly with a damp washcloth or wipe after applying the tan to ensure the most natural looking tan. The skin on these areas is drier and can result in a darker fade if you don’t dab them after.

4.  Apply evenly.

Use a tanning mitt and always start on the face first, taking the product down and then blend. Arms, chest and legs follow but save the feet and hands for last. You want as little product on the mitt as possible for the most realistic results.

5. If you don’t have a tanning mitt…

Use a large makeup brush! Even a soft sponge is better than your bare hands. Never mind the fact that you’ll have tanned palms which is totally unnatural looking, you’re more likely to cause streaks.

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