A dear pal recently asked how to get her bronze on before a winter vacation to Hawaii. After nearly passing out in jealously, I consulted my own past tanning methods and summoned a list of tips to find the right products to help fake a glow (and not fade into the sand).
Second, don't overdo it. Gone (thankfully) are the days of the strive for orangey-brown skin. Instead, work with your natural undertones to determine if you are cool, warm or neutral to match the right depth of product. Create a color intensity that complements you and looks natural.
Third, weigh the options of at-home application or enlist a spray-tan professional. My vote is always to seek a professional. Self-application, even with the help of a buddy, is never as good as the person who has the training and equipment.
Fourth, do your research. For at-home, check out reviews on Sephora. Tip: St. Tropez is a constant winner and has developed the widely regarded industry-standard in at-home tanning. For spray-tan salons, check out Yelp and Google to read reviews on the best places to go.
Fifth (and finally), give yourself a test run. In both the at-home or professional versions, you never know how your body will react and the color will appear. Try it out at least two weeks in advance to make sure it's what you really want. And take the advice on the bottle or from the salon - exfoliate before and moisturize after.
With that, bronze goddess, enjoy vacation! We'll be here on the mainland, not writhing in jealousy.