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6 Self-Tanning Tips Every Redhead Should Know

For most of the year, I’m as fair as any other redhead (“ghostly” is the term my family prefers to use). But during the summer, as I start spending more and more time outdoors, a wondrous thing happens: I start to tan. Naturally. By some unusual genetic combination, my skin will actually develop that elusive glow on its own.

And while I’m grateful that I don’t burn instantly when exposed to UV light, that doesn’t mean I’m a sun-worshipper. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Actually, I prefer going the safer route and getting my tan from a bottle.

Despite what you may think, redheads can absolutely rock the faux sun-kissed look. The combination of vibrant hair and tanned skin is gorgeous.

If you’re willing to throw caution to the wind and embrace the tropical version of yourself, be sure to keep these tips in mind:

1. Avoid moisturizing immediately beforehand

The product won’t absorb properly and will leave a streaky finish.

2. Exfoliate first

This is a must! It sloughs off the dead skin cells that can cause discoloration and unevenness. Use the scrub everywhere you’re going to be using the self-tanner, but especially around the less fleshy areas, like your knees, ankles and elbows.

‘Redhead Friendly’ RecommendationSoap & Glory Sugar Crush Body Scrub

3. Go as light as possible

Find the formula that offers the lightest shade of tan possible. You want it to look real and subtle, and no redhead can get truly, deeply bronzed (even ones like me!).

‘Redhead Friendly’ Recommendations: Clarins Self Tanning Instant Gel, St. Tropez Self Tan Express Bronzing Mousse & Fake Bake Flawless Self-Tanning Liquid

4. Go gradual

Try a daily moisturizer that contains a self-tanner. This will let you control the depth of the color. Use it every day until you’re as tan as you want to be, then reduce applications to every other day (or even less frequently) to maintain.

‘Redhead Friendly’ Recommendations: Jergens Natural Glow Moisturizer Fair to MediumSt Tropez Gradual Tan Lotion in Light/Medium

5. Don’t forget your face and neck

Use products specially formulated for this area. If you’re leery of using a formula that doesn’t wash off in the shower, try a powder bronzer for a temporary flush of color. Using a big, fluffy brush, sweep it over the places that naturally get sunkissed first (your forehead, nose, cheeks and chin) and also lightly along your neck and décolleté.

6. Be sure to adjust your makeup accordingly

This is the perfect opportunity to try out those shades of coral, orange and bright pink that may have seemed too harsh when you were pale.

‘Redhead Friendly’ Recommendations: Clinique True Bronze Pressed Powder Bronzer & Butter London Plush Rush Lipstick – Frisky

And remember to Rock it like a Redhead!