12 Self-Tanning Secrets From the Woman Who's Seen Hollywood Naked

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I'm no stranger to fake tanning. In fact, I actually have a bit of a complicated relationship with it. Middle school was rough, and long story short, I was teased mercilessly for how pale I was—bearing in mind this was the golden age of baking in the sun and/or lying in tanning beds the second school was out. Suffice to say, I've probably spent a year's salary on an impressive mix of spray-tan packages, lotions, mousses, aerosols, oils, mitts, removers, and pretty much every other kind of treatment or paraphernalia associated with the art of self-tanning. I've honed my practice, and while I've actually been working to lessen my faux tanning (it's a comfort blanket—what can I say?), nothing makes me happier than a freshly applied layer of mousse or a professionally wielded airbrush session.

I've tried every self-tanning brand in the business, and I've experimented with virtually every SKU and formula from each. (Remember: Having the perfect fake tan has been a deep-seated passion of mine since middle school, right around the time OG brands like Jergens and L'Oréal began launching self-tanning tints and lotions.) Being a beauty editor, I've also had the pleasure of meeting a healthy handful of the best spray-tan artists in the world—both the ambassadors and creators of top-selling brands.

However, in trying harder to embrace my natural skin tone, it had actually been a hot second since I had applied self-tanner, let alone been sprayed by an industry-leading, celebrity-loved artist. So when I was offered the opportunity to meet with celebrity spray-tan artist and product developer Kristyn Pradas, I was intrigued. I had been craving an amazing tan, and after learning Pradas has been the exclusive artist behind Victoria's Secret Angels' runway glow for the past six years and works regularly with the radiant likes of Ariana Grande, Ashley Graham, the Hadid sisters, and Kate Beckinsale, I was sold. Plus, Pradas just launched her very own 100% natural self-tanning line just over a month ago, and being the aggressive tanning consumer I am, I felt obligated to check it out.

I feel confident telling you that Pradas gave me the best (aka most natural, long-lasting, least-smelly) spray tan of my life; her product line, Pradas Glow, is impressive AF; and she's an angel of a human being to boot. It's fitting considering her angelic roster of clientele. Of course, as I was pretty much in the presence of self-tan royalty, I picked her brain for everything there is to know about self-tanning—from the best formulas to the biggest mistakes. Ahead, 12 self-tanning secrets from the woman who has seen Hollywood naked. Keep scrolling!