Self-tanning season is officially on!

We’re about 6 weeks away from Memorial Day so it’s time start thinking about your skin as an accessory—more specifically, golden, glowing skin that you’ll be baring in the months to come. If you’re thinking that it’s too soon, consider the facts that it can take a little practice to get your self-tanning mojo back, and you don’t want to go out pale and pasty one day and as a bronze bombshell the next.

The key is to start slow since summer doesn’t happen overnight (well, thanks to climate change it just might), and that’s where a gradual self-tanner comes in. I’ve been using St. Tropez’s Gradual Tan In Shower Lotion because it takes a few uses to get your glow on. After three or so easy applications (i.e. slathering it on, standing around for 3 minutes and washing it off), consider yourself ready to rock shorts and skirts. Note to St. Tropez: If you could somehow incorporate a timer into the bottle, that would be a big help.

Once you have your base, you can use a regular self-tanner once or twice a week to maintain your glow. I’m partial to Vita Liberata’s Fabulous Self Tanning Tinted Mousse in Medium because it consistently delivers good results. The tinted foam lets you see where you’ve applied (and where you need to blend) and it dries fast so you can get dressed and be on your way.It may not have felt like spring everywhere this weekend (I’m talking to you, Northeast), but the calendar doesn’t lie…

As we all know, self-tanning snafus happen, no matter how careful or experienced you may be. So be sure to have a Bronze Buffer on hand for touch-ups. These reusable sponges wipe away unwanted color instantly so you can say bye-bye to streaks and hello to a flawless, natural-looking tan.

Have you put self-tanning on your calendar yet?