Even though you want to look like a bronzed Brazilian goddess (a la Gisele) this summer, it doesn’t mean you’re hitting the tanning bed anytime soon. ELLE has the best dos and don’ts for saying À bientôt to pasty winter-white skin and hello to gorgeous, glowing tanned skin, without the sun — or the streaks!

Whether you are an at-home tanning kind of gal, or the spray-me-quick at a tanning salon chick, check out these tips before you slather on the gel, cream, lotion, or get a spray. ELLE enlisted the help of Sunless Tanning Guru Pat Lamoureux, owner of Kix Tan in Vancouver, for tips on what to do to make your skin smooth.

DO: Exfoliate! Nothing is more important than exfoliating prior to treatment when it comes to self-tanning. ” This will smooth out your skin’s texture, ensuring even results in the beginning, and days later as the colour starts to fade away,” explains Lamoureux. She suggests scrubbing your skin all over in a circular motion while in the shower. Buff away the dead skin with an exfoliating prep product like California Tan Primer, sugar and salt scrubs, or just plain soap, with a shower puff, loufa, or a rough face cloth.

DO: Allow 6-8 hours of development time, even if the product claims it can be shorter. Hold off on the shower, singing in the rain, or excess perspiration to get the deepest colour and remain streak-free.

DO: Apply self tanning creams lighter on problem areas like knees, elbows, ankles, or any other dry skin patches. Try this tip: “Apply a light coat of water-based moisturizer to these areas before application to prevent excessive absorption,” suggests Lamoureux.

DO: Scrub your palms! Scrub them clean every five minutes when applying self tanning lotions yourself. “This prevents the tell tale sign of a sunless tan gone wrong, orange coloured palms,” says Lamoureux.

DO: Moisturize daily. You want to keep your skin from drying because this can prematurely cause your fake tan to fade. It also keeps your skin looking moist, fresh and young.

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DON’T: Get any esthetics done that will involve skin treatments like facials, waxing, bleaching, and pedicures for a week after your sunless tanning treatment. The procedures can irritate the skin and make the tan fade. Lamoureux suggests booking the procedures a few days prior to your sunless tanning treatment.

DON’T: Use products with AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) or BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid) for 5-7 days after your sunless application. “They are designed to exfoliate,” explains Lamoureux. “Therefore they make your tan fade more quickly. ” But they are useful when you are getting ready for your next round of tanning treatments.

DON’T: Worry if 5-6 hours after your sunless tan treatment your colour appears too dark. “With spray tans and some at-home products that include bronzers, your skin can appear almost double your end result colour after that amount of processing time,” says Lamoureux. “Wait until after your first shower, and the colour will look much more natural.”

DON’T: Use old tanner from last season. Self tanning products don’t carry a long self life and can actually start to degrade after 6 months. This can make them have a foul odor, and can even produce unfavourable results or irritate the skin because of the chemicals.

DON’T: Rush! Preparation and practice go along way. If you don’t have time or the patience to apply at home, then seek out a professional tanning salon, or spa, that specializes in sunless, for an airbrush tan. “In Vancouver, at Kix Tanning exclusively, you can book an airbrush, or try the all new Autobronzer, the future of sunless tanning,” says Lamoureux. A sunless treatment in the Autobronzer takes a total of 5 minutes, with only 6 seconds of actual spray time, in an open, non-booth like environment.

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