When I see pictures of Lindsay Lohan I do not think “she looks hot” I think “she looks as though she has that disease where you eat too many orange things and then you turn orange.” If you want to not look like that and still apply self tanner (and not, for that matter, be Orange Like Snooki) then Fiona Locke, St. Tropez’s Skin Finishing Expert, has some valuable advice for you.

Why does Lindsay Lohan look like a giant carrot?

A lot of it, unfortunately, is product choice. There is a certain ingredient in self tanners called EHA. That is the main ingredient in tanners. If you pick a product that has too high a percentage of that ingredient, you can turn a color. If it’s possible, whenever you’re in a situation where you can test out a little tanner before applying it all over, do. Fortunately, with St. Tropez’s products I find that I have yet to see anyone turn anyone turn that strange Oompa Loompa color.

Is there any way to make the shade a little bit lighter? The stuff I put on was a little orangey for me – if I use a smaller daub of it, will it look closer to my skin tone?

One secret tip I tell people is that if you went out and bought a self tanner, and now you’re nervous because there’s a dramatic contrast between the color of the product and your skin, you can mix it with your own moisturizer. That will cut the color in half.

Is that why gradual ones always say that they’re a tanner and a moisturizer?

It is! If you can get an everyday product like the mousse or the lotion it’s very subtle, and slow, and gives you a lot more control. But if you’ve already gone out and got a tanner, and now you realize “wow, I’m kind of scared to use this” start mixing it with your own lotions.

Do they make any products especially for people who want to not look too tan?

The everyday products definitely help in that regard. The other thing now that I really like are wash-off products. They’re great for people with a fear of commitment. It will give you the same results as applying the self tanner. If you’re going out and you think “I have a date, and I want my legs to look really great tonight” you can put it on, and, if you don’t like it, wash it right off.  It’s the same results but there’s no commitment. And they make it for the face as well. Often people are very nervous about what they put on their face, especially if it comes to a self tanner. If it’s your first time, I highly recommend it! If you don’t like you’re not stuck with it, and it can give you a feel for how tanner is going to look on you.

How do I stop it from streaking? I tried the perfect legs product, and I really kept trying to apply small amounts smoothly, but it still came out streaky.

Perfect Legs is kind of a different product. If you’re a first timer, I really recommend the mousse.

I loved the mousse! It was great. But if I’m using the Perfect Legs product…

Right, the Perfect Legs gives you instant coverage, which is useful sometimes, but it’s a little bit more like putting make-up on. It’s about using enough, which I know might not be your inclination if you’re a first timer. It looks like a lot, but when you generously apply it, then it goes on a lot more smoothly. But if you’re looking to use self tanner on your legs, I really do recommend the mousse just because it’s so light. You’ll only end up streaky on the places you miss. But with products like Perfect Legs, the more you apply, and the less fearful you are, the better.

How do I avoid getting oompa loompa hands? Do I have to wear gloves when I apply the cream? I tried washing them afterwards, but it didn’t seem to work.

They make self tan remover, and I definitely recommend that. Keep it next to your sink and use it any time you apply anything. The hands just stain so easily. They’re so porous. It’s such a minimal purchase, but you can do a few pumps and the color is completely gone off my hands. There aren’t many people who make them, but St. Tropez does. It may seem like an unusual thing to invest in, but I think it really does make sense to get a few things that make your overall look as natural as possible.  If you’re doing this, you want to make sure you’re doing it right.

How do I get it applied to my back? There are places I can’t reach, and I’d feel sort of weird asking someone else to smear self tanner on me.

It’s challenging! Bronzing spray is good in that regard, because you can turn the can in any direction. It’s probably your best bet because you can spray it on easily. With the mousse I tend to try to reach around, and go over each shoulder. It takes a little time to get it perfect on the back.

Any good general tips?: On the very dry areas of your body, like your ankles, and hands, and knees it’s good to put a little moisturizer on before you apply the tanner. The drier you are, the more likely you are to absorb a lot more color. Freshen the skin and exfoliate before you apply anything. The other thing that people don’t think of doing is three or four days after you’ve applied the tanner, gently exfoliate again, because it will help the tanner fade more evenly.