Photo: Gregor Halenda
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Glycolic and lactic acids in Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Glow Pad for Body ($45 for eight pads; exfoliate to create smooth, soft skin so the DHA (the chemical in self-tanners that darkens skin) colors evenly. One deeply saturated pad is enough for your entire body.

Start using Sephora Moisturizing Bronzing Body Lotion ($16; a few days before a summer wedding or poolside barbecue. The nongreasy cream moisturizes with glycerin while slowly building a beautiful bronze tone.

One allover sweep of Kate Somerville Somerville 360° Face Self Tanning Pads ($48 for 12 pads; is enough to provide your complexion with an immediate glow (courtesy of mica particles) and, in two to four hours, a hint of tint.

The fast-drying formula of L'Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze Clear Self-Tanning Gel ($10.50; drugstores) features a light, citrusy fragrance and a unique jelly-like consistency. Spray on the gel, then blend for a streak-free finish.

For olive skin tones: Rodial Brazilian Tan Dark ($56; has a silky texture that absorbs quickly and gives you a deep, rich color that lasts up to ten days.

Because DHA can develop a deeper, uneven color on rough or dry skin, apply a bit of Xen-Tan Blending Balm ($16; on your elbows, knees, and ankles after self-tanner. Moisturizing aloe vera, jojoba oil, and vitamin E in the balm prevent streaks and dark patches.

Wary of applying self-tanner on your face? Try Philosophy Here Comes the Sun Age-Defense Gradual Glow Self-Tanner for Face ($26; The ultralight formula looks and feels like a moisturizer but has enough DHA to give you a very gradual tan.

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