- Rub yourself smooth. While you're in the shower, exfoliate (pay special attention to areas with rough skin like elbows, knees, ankles and heels). Then dry off well (water can prevent the tanner from absorbing evenly).

- Don't tan in a steamy bathroom. Apply self-tanner in a room that's not extra-humid. Otherwise you'll end up streaking the color.

- Use less. If you don't know how much you need, start with a dime-size dollop for half a leg or full arm; you can always build a darker tan later.

- Keep fingers tight during application. The spaces between your fingers can cause streaking. Or wear latex gloves (available from your local drugstore).

- Moisturize thick/dry skin. After self-tanning, rub moisturizer on knees, elbows, heels, ankles and knuckles to dilute tanner (to avoid telltale dark spots).

- Keep track of the time. Every tanner recommends allowing a certain period of time (anywhere from 10-30 minutes) before dressing. (Wet self-tanner can stain anything it comes in contact with.) When the time is up, you're ready to dress.

- Apply sunscreen. Even if a self-tanner contains SPF, you still need additional protection (an SPF of at least 15) if you spend extended time in the sun.

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