Friend or foe? Fake tan often has a bad rep and it can feel like no matter what formula you slather, spray or swipe on the inevitable orangey streaks, blotches and splotches are simply not worth the effort. But once you get it right, results can be … golden and of course it’s far better for you and your skin if you resist the urge to sunbath (we insist… don’t do it!) The art of self-tanning is fastidious and one that requires patience, precision and most importantly an exceptionally good formula. With summer around the corner and dull winter limbs starting to re-emerge we’ve put together the definitive guide to a flawless faux glow that’s better than the real thing. Get ready for gloriously golden skin ….minus the mess
1. PROPER PREP
The biggest mistake you can make when fake tanning at home is not spending the time to prep your skin properly. The best results come when skin is as smooth and hydrated as possible.
Start with a good and proper exfoliation – this will remove dead skin cells and ensure the tan absorbs evenly. The best way to do this is with a vigorous dry body brush (Joanna Vargas Ritual Brush is a robust body brush that really gets the job done perfectly) - this not only buffs away dead skin cells it smooths skin, boosts circulation, helps minimise cellulite and stimulates lymphatic drainage … it’s incredibly good for you and excellent for the health and texture of your skin.
Next rinse off all that dreary skin in the shower and if you need a little extra exfoliation use an oil free body scrub such as Cane & Austin’s Glycolic Body Scrub - this will buff, smooth and prime skin perfectly. Especially on those notoriously rough patches like your knees, elbows and ankles – all those niggly areas where fake tan likes to collect and stain.
Be wise with your product selections here, it’s important to use oil free solutions as oil based scrubs and cleansers leave behind a residue that interfere with the efficacy of the tanners and can cause streaks too. And if you’re tanning your face, same rules apply - be sure to exfoliate with a cleanser or pad that includes some exfoliating acids to slough away dead and dull skin, and encourage even absorption.
The most common cause of a patchy tan is dry skin, so it’s crucial to moisturise those notoriously tricky areas prior to application. Focus on wrists and hands, elbows, knees, ankles and feet and perhaps around your nostrils if your face tanning.
It’s a good idea to wait at least 10 minutes after showering until you are completely dry then use a lightweight lotion such as Shani Darden Weightless Moisturiser or Dr Rogers Lotion for your face and for your body our top pick is Codage Hydrating Body Milk a super lightweight and nourishing formula that quickly absorbs and wont mess with your tan … this will keep those areas from turning too dark or that nasty unwanted orange. .
Always apply with a tanning mitt! Smooth on product in circular motions, blending and buffing the tan deeper into the epidermis. The more you buff and work the product into your skin the better, this ensures a more even and streak free finish, helps prolong the tan and encourages a better fade out.
Our preferred solution for tanning is a mousse as it’s a far easier to apply, sets faster and streaks less. Vita Liberata’s Phenomenal Mousse is in a league of its own when it comes to fake tanning – this mousse never streaks, is a completely clean formulae and odourless too. PLUS it gives a real summer holiday colour not a bottle bronze, lasting exceptionally long, only leaving with you a perfect fade, no patchy bits.
It’s best to use small amounts of the product each time – one or two pumps of mousse at a time and then starting with your feet and ankles working your way up to your shoulders to prevent any marks when you bend over. Save your arms and hands for last and try not to race to wash your hands, just blend it gradually with your wrists and arms as you don’t want white hands with bronzed arms .
Once your tan has been applied ensure skin is hydrated during the days that follow, hydrated skin will look more radiant and it will ensure a more even fade. As oil breaks down your tan, opt for a hyaluronic-based body moisturiser and avoid any enzymatic body and skincare such as glycolic or lactic acids, as these can accelerate the fade time of tan.
To prolong your tan even longer, apply a low level DHA gradual tan such as Vita Liberata’s Gradual Tan – this will simultaneously hydrate skin as well as ‘top up’ your tan with a gradual buildable tan for prolonged golden tan that perfectly achieves that natural summer glow.