May 2, 2014 at 11:10 AM ET
From her personal product picks to before and after tips and tricks, TODAY Style Editor and Bobbie.com's Bobbie Thomas shares everything you need to know for a foolproof faux glow.
The smoother the skin, the smoother the tan — so be sure to exfoliate or shave first. Textured scrub gloves and nylon polishing towels are especially effective when it comes to removing dead skin (and also help to combat streaks and discolored patches). Apply a light layer of lotion to elbows, knees, heels, toes, etc to prevent those dryer areas from absorbing excess formula (which will result in darker blotchy patches). Petroleum jelly will act as a barrier for palms, nails, cuticles, or any other places you don’t want to tan.
St. Tropez offers up several options for face and body including sprays, lotions and mousses. It’s worth investing a little extra in their applicator mitt ($6.50) to help evenly distribute the product and keeps your hands from getting stained.
For an on-demand tan that you can rinse of immediately, their Wash-Off Instant Glow for face and One Night Only body formula is a cult favorite ($6.50-$42, sttropeztan.com).
On the flip side, gradual formulas are great for fair skin tones, but can sometimes be too subtle. So a personal favorite is a ‘medium-strength’ option, Jergens 3 Days to Glow lotion. You’ll get a noticeable boost of color after just one application, but still have the option to build up to a deeper color ($8.49; drugstore.com).
For those who like double-duty beauty, Dr. Dennis Gross' Alpha Beta Glow Pads for face and body are fantastic, as they pack a punch with vitamins and anti-aging ingredients. The body version of the pads also contains a hair growth inhibitor ($32-$45, dgskincare.com). Dr. Denese’s Glow Younger Self-Tanning Gloves are not only super easy to use, but are also infused with peptide technology, and aim to soften the appearance of lines and firm skin's tone ($42 for 12; drdenese.com).
Last but not least, get a flawless finish by setting your new tan with a hair dryer and some body powder. Stand in front of a fan or use your hair dryer on a cool setting to help dry any tacky areas where the formula may not be drying. Then use talc to absorb excess moisture to help prevent streaking. Sprinkle some all over, but especially on high friction spots or any areas that tend to perspire (like under your "girlfriends"). Finally a quick blast with your blow dryer will remove excess.
Our resident Style Editor and author of The Power of Style, Bobbie Thomas shares the buzz about beauty, fashion, and more on TODAY and at Bobbie.com. Consider her your go-to girlfriend, style MacGyver, and Wikipedia for women who you've seen in her underwear. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram.