I am SO glad guest blogger Hayden of Pretty In My Pocket (download it now if you haven’t already, gurls!) covered this topic. If you’re anything like me in recent years, you’re worried about skin cancer and aging, but still need to be bronze when bikini season hits (no one wants to see me pale at the pool–trust). Here are your best options for at-home, safe “sunning!”

time to self tan witty and prettyWait, could it be? Is that…? Oh thank God. Between #PollenFest2k13, the bipolar temperatures of the past two months, and the big, fat, heinously grotesque beast we call taxes, us Southerners have been hesitant to get our hopes up. But I’m here to shout it from the rooftops (and rooftop pools): WARM WEATHER HAS ARRIVED! Which (if you’re human) should mean two things: Day drinking and a serious need to be bronze.  So whip up that much needed Mai Tai and listen read up as I go through some of my top picks for self-tanning bliss.

First things first! The biggest must-do for at-home self-tanning is absolutely, 100%, no ifs ands or butts about it, EXFOLIATE before you amp up in skin color. Now this does NOT mean you should jump in the shower and ferociously scrub off the first layer of your skin. Just take a good loufa and moisturizing body wash with exfoliating beads and really lather up every inch of your skin to get the daily dull off. I love Olay’s Total Effects 7-in-1 Advanced Anti-Aging Body Wash ($9), which exfoliates and replenishes (i.e. makes your skin perfectly primed for a smooth, streak-free tan). Or you could do something with a little more scrubbing power like Bliss’ Lemon + Sage Body Scrub ($36) or Alba Sea Salt Body Scrub ($11).

There are several different types of self tanners, neither of which is remotely better than the other. It’s more about finding which form of application works best for you and your lifestyle.

primp picks self tanner

Tanning Lotions: Estee Lauder’s Bronze Goddess Golden Perfection Self Tanning Milk for Body ($28), L’Oreal’s Sublime Bronze Luminous Bronzer Self Tanning Lotion ($11). Lotion may be the old-school form of DIY tanning, but it’s stuck around for a reason. If you can master even application, you’re golden (literally).

Tips: Use broad stroaks and spread the product on with uniform swipes in all directions. For more subtle, streak-proof results, blend half tanning lotion and half regular lotion in the palms of your hands before applying to skin (especially helpful in the drier knee and elbow areas, which can absorb more product and turn darker). If you have dry skin, this is also a great way to get buildable color and necessary moisture all at the same time. Skip areas where the sun don’t shine (hello, heels and hoo-ha) and wash your hands immediately after.

Tan Towels:
 Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pads for Body  ($48 for 8 towels), Tan Towel Self Tan Towelette Full Body Application ($24 for 5 towels). The Dr. Dennis Gross pads are my personal fave and the ultimate in realistic and healthy self tanning. Without harmful parabens and sulfates, they utilize active Vitamin D to give skin believable, natural color.

Tips: Cut the towel in half to get the most out of each application. Use the first half on the bottom part of your body, rubbing in circular motions, and use the second half on chest, arms, and face. Just make sure you rub the towel on every part of your skin and you should stay streak-free. Keep in mind it takes about 3-5 hours for color to fully develop.

Tanning Mousse: 
St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse ($42 and comes with the must-have tan applicator mitt). This is your ticket to looking like a cast member of  Dancing with the Stars (seriously, this is what they use). While I’m not promising you’ll appear to have .02% body fat like those freakishly coordinated dancers (b*tches), you can see where the color goes as you apply it, which means less mess-ups. Note: In general, St. Tropez products are badass, so you can’t go wrong when choosing this brand.

Tips: Unlike lotion, there’s no need to rub this mousse in. You literally take the mitt and paint yourself from head to toe. Check out this instructional video for assistance. (Pssstt… Give your body one good coat then feel free to go back and subtly darken the sides of your abs for a little contouring.)

And those are my personal picks for quick and easy summer sun. There are tons of other tanning products which can all be found on the PRIMP app. Use the bar code scan or search for the self-tanner you’re inclined to buy and find ratings, reviews, and more product details. While you’re at it, don’t forget to find yourself a top-notch moisturizer to help your fab fake bake last longer.

Happy bronzing, babes,

If you’re into beauty booty (aren’t we all?), download the PRIMP app for a life-changing experience next time you’re picking our products. And read more from Hayden on spring’s most eye-popping makeup trend, making your kissable lips even hotter, and how to wow with bold brows.

And stay tuned for a follow-up post on the best self-tanners for faces!

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