There’s nothing quite like a fresh tan after lying in the sun all day. Your skin feels fresh with a slight sunburn over your nose and cheeks. Your hair is extra light, and your skin feels super soft. The tan after a beach day is like none other, but unfortunately, we can’t get than tanned feeling all year long. And that is where self-tanners come in. Self-tanners are fantastic for those who want to keep the tanned look going throughout the winter without going to a tanning bed. And with recent advancements with self-tanners, they look more and more natural. You can almost exactly mimic looking like you just stepped off the beach in the middle of August. Perfecting the self-tan takes some time, though, and here are some essential tips:

Find the right self-tanner

There are so many different types of self-tanners out there. Some people prefer a gradual in-shower lotion as it’s easier to do, while others like a dark mousse for the immediate dramatic effect. Regardless, it’s essential to find a self-tanner that works for you and stick with it!

Get a mitt

If you decide to use a self-tanning mousse, a mitt is critical. Using a mitt means you won’t have unfortunate tanning stains all over your hands and fingers and ensures a more even tan overall.

Exfoliate first

The last thing you want to do is apply self-tanner onto dry skin. Exfoliate your entire body before applying self-tanner to make sure the application is even and streak-free.

Shave the day before

Have a big date on Friday? Exfoliate and self-tan Thursday and shave on Wednesday. Yes- it can get a little complicated planning this all out, but shaving the day before you self tan guarantees the color will spread more evenly to your skin.

Apply lotion to dry spots

First, you shower and exfoliate, then you apply lotion to any dry spots on your body, such as elbows, knees, and wrists. Using self-tanner on dry spots can cause the color to come out darker and look uneven overall, and applying lotion to those areas will minimize those chances.

Start at the bottom

Working in circular motions, start at your feet and work your way up to your neck and face. Do your arms and hands last and try your best to cover every space of your body, so you’re not left with an awkward pale patch on your back.

Consider your face

Not everyone self tans their face, as the skin on your face is much more sensitive than the skin on your body. If you do decide to tan your face, it’s crucial to be super careful and spread out the color evenly. The skin on your face also tends to be drier, so it’s essential to keep your skin hydrated beforehand. They do have specific self-tanners for your face, so those are also a great option.

Keep your tan going

Nothing is worse than spending all the time perfecting a tan, only for it to come off within a few days. Keep your tan going by taking the right measures, such as keeping your skin moisturized after you shower and avoiding harsh exfoliators.