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Kate Moss's Playboy Cover Secret Weapon: Her Perfect Tan (Plus, How to Get Your Own at Home!)

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Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott

If you’ve seen Kate Moss’s Playboy photos, you may have noticed (well, maybe not) her totally gorgeous, glowing skin. It’s hardly the first time she’s needed to strip down to reveal buffed, bronzed skin (you may recall these photos) — and as before, she turned to her longtime friend and St. Tropez skincare guru Nichola Joss, to get her prepped and polished for the magazine’s 60th anniversary issue, on stands Dec. 6.

“For Playboy, it was going to be iconic — celebrating 60 years of the [famous] covers,” Joss shares. “It was a little more sexy [than her naked St. Tropez shoot]; whereas that was very much about her skin and her tan, This was a little sexier, a little above that. She could play with the character.”

But like the St. Tropez shoot, this one required a week’s worth of prep — starting with massage, then doing the first application four days out, then monitoring Moss’s skin to see where it could use more color, contour and highlighting. Moss, along with famed fashion photographers Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott (and the whole Playboy team) had a specific result in mind, which Joss then created.

“She was very much in control with Mert and Marcus, what kind of look they wanted to achieve, with her looking like herself,” Joss says. “They do have guidelines … it is about that sexy, golden, glowing skin, not too heavy or flat. The Playboy bunny — there’s a look they’re trying to achieve.”

RELATED: One of our favorite (and Gwyneth Paltrow’s, too!) skin products!

Once they had her finished glow down, Joss and Moss worked to achieve certain looks for certain lighting, using the brand’s gold Illuminating cream and highlighters. “When we look at highlighting, it’s about contouring, making sure the lights hit the right part of the body to get that amazing curve,” Joss explains. “It was about making sure that lights bounce off the limbs correctly … to make sure it’s creating that lovely curve. The gold Illuminator pulls the light in and bounces off the skin. When we contour, we look at sweeping the sides of the waistline, creating that great curve on the waist, the inner thigh to give definition, gives muscle definition as well.”

KAte Moss Playboy cover
Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott

And despite the lack of clothing between them, Joss says there’s never any awkwardness when she gets Moss in camera-ready condition. “I know her so well, I know her body. She’s very comfortable with me.” Joss says.

You may not have a Playboy photoshoot coming up, but for your own dramatic reveal, Joss says the most important step is exfoliation — especially anywhere you’ll be highlighting and contouring. Indulge in skin-hydrating products, like Moss did on the shoot (“Dry skin under a camera flash looks very flat and one-dimensional,” Joss says), then use St. Tropez’s mitt and mousse for a tan finish she swears you can’t mess up.

Once that’s one, add a bit more to the mitt and sweep it up your inner thighs, down your décolleté and in circles at your natural waist for a little extra help. Add highlighter where you’d like light to reflect (ie. down the front of your legs) and voila! You’ve gotten the same treatment as Moss for her sexy shoot — your own set of bunny ears are optional.

What do you think of Moss’s pics? Have you tried self-tanning and contouring at home? Dish in the comments!

–Alex Apatoff