Thorough exfoliation is crucial (do it at home pretreatment, or have it done at the salon), says cosmetologist Aldona Roth of the Paul Labrecque salon—color goes on more smoothly. Application:
Make sure you or the technician blends to get rid of any unevenness. Longevity:
Expect your tan to last five to seven days. Because there may be rub-off, wear loose, dark clothes and avoid sweating or bathing for eight to ten hours posttreatment. Maintenance:
Use a light moisturizer to avert flakiness. Sunbathing is okay (with SPF, please!), but swimming in chlorinated pools is not. Take quickie showers with minimal soaping, and skip heavy exercise: Sweating can dissipate the tan. Safety:
The chemical in spray-on tanners—dihydroxyacetone (DHA)—is FDA approved for external application only; wear a mask on your nose and mouth during application (use a cream to tan your face), and limit treatments to twice yearly.
Want to DIY? Try Victoria's Secret Bare Bronze Self-tanning body spray (above), $18, VictoriasSecret.com
. See more of our picks for the best self-tanning products