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Thanks to fair-skinned celebrities like Katy Perry, Cate Blanchett and Kristen Stewart, porcelain-pale skin is making a comeback. But super-pale gals don't always want to go au naturel, and sometimes a little self-tanner is a girl's best friend. The key is to choose a color that will give your fair skin a golden glow without turning it Oompa-Loompa orange. Knowing what to look for -- and avoid -- when you're shopping for self-tanner can help you do just that.
Look for a color that's only about two shades darker than your natural skin tone, recommends makeup artist Carmindy in "O, The Oprah Magazine." Porcelain girls who try to go darker than that are likely to end up with streaky tans and weird discoloration.
Opt for neutral or cool self-tanners over warm colors. A too-red self-tanner can make porcelain skin look ruddy or irritated.
Go for the lighter shade if you're torn between two similar colors. You can always layer on more self-tanner if you decide you want to go a little darker, but lightening up a too-dark self-tanner is more challenging.
Opt for a self-tanner that contains a low percentage of dihydroxyacetone, also known as DHA. The DHA percentage should be listed on the product's label. High DHA levels are the most common cause of icky orange discoloration.
Choose creams or lotions over gels and sprays. Creams and lotions give you more control and spread more evenly, reducing the risk that you'll end up with a streaky tan.
Pick a tinted self-tanner so you can check your application as you go. Streaks and missed spots really show up on porcelain skin, so seeing your application can help you avoid embarrassing results.
Be prepared to try more than one self-tanner to get the results you want. The chemicals in self-tanner affect some people's skin more dramatically than others, so plan to apply a few test patches to get the color you're looking for.
If you're nervous about self-tanning because you don't want your color to look fake, consider using a lotion designed to apply a small amount of color that builds up over time for a more subtle approach.