Prepare your skin. Never just “slather self-tanner on your face” and hope for the best. It’s “surprisingly easy” to achieve natural-looking color if you follow a few steps—beginning by exfoliating with either an oil-free scrub or peel.
Moisturize in spots. The driest areas of the face are around the nostrils and above the top lip. Lightly moisturize them using an oil-free lotion. Excess oil or dryness “can keep the self-tanner from absorbing properly.”
Apply slowly. Start with dime-size amounts in areas where you naturally tan first: forehead, cheeks, bridge of the nose, and chin. Blend outward from those points, and “feather the tanner out into your hairline.” Avoid the eyebrows, “which can turn orange.”
Be patient. A gradual self-tanner works best, but “it can take two to four applications” to “reach the right shade.”