1. Shower, shave and scrub. Shave off any unwanted hair and use an exfoliator like Passion Fruit Body Polish, £12, Fake Bake (www.fakebake.co.uk) to remove dead skin beforehand.
Expert Tip: "If you tan regularly, remove old colour build-up by rubbing an extra blob of scrub over areas such as the neck, ankles, wrists, knees and in-between the breasts," explains A-list bronzing expert James Read.
2. Moisturise extra-dry bits
Dry skin tends to absorb more DHA (the stuff in the tanner that turns skin brown), so to prevent patches it's essential to apply a thin layer of a light moisturiser like Nivea's Light Touch Moisturiser, £4.75 (available nationwide) over dry areas like knees, elbows, wrists, ankles, feet and hands before you tan.
Expert tip: "Apply a generous layer of Vaseline's Lip Therapy, 94p, over eyebrows, nails, hairline and ears to stop colour from staining them," says James Read whose celeb clients include Sienna Miller and Kate Moss.
3. Tan your body
Try one of the new generation subtle bronzers like Everyday Gradual Tan Mousse, £20, St Tropez (www.st-tropez.co.uk) that gives skin an extra light tint- perfect for that barely-there glow that's so hot right now. To avoid ugly streaks, use large, sweeping upward strokes, starting at your ankles and working you way up your body. And avoid rubbing the product into your skin, like you would a body lotion, as this can cause an uneven result.
Expert tip: "Don't forget hands and feet," explains James, "so rub any leftover residue from your palms on to the top of each foot, and rub the back of your hands over your bum (fleshy areas hold on to excess colour). This will transfer just enough tan from your bum on to your hands and prevent staining your palms."
4. Upkeep your colour
To keep your tan looking A-list fresh, moisturise daily and start exfoliating after two or three days to help the colour fade evenly and prepare skin for your next tan.
Expert tip: "Avoid super-oily body lotions and scrubs as they stop self-tan from penetrating your skin and break down existing colour," explains James.
By Donna Francis