Whether you’re getting ready to go on holiday or you’re just preparing for summer get-togethers in the garden, getting fake tan ready is a must. But how to avoid scary streaks and dreaded darker spots? Don’t worry, we’ve put together a top guide full of our very best fake tan tips to achieve a flawless tan nobody will question for a moment. This is one fake tan routine you’re not going to be able to live without!
Getting the perfect fake tan to suit your skin can often be a bit trial and error (that’s just the way it is, sorry!), so it may take a few different products and tests to get the ultimate tan that suits you best. Try it on a small patch of skin first that’s kept out of sight so you can see if you like it before going all over. If you’re feeling particularly pasty and your legs resemble milk bottles, it may be better to use a gradual fake tan product to build up a natural looking base.
2. Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate
Exfoliation is the absolute best prep for fake tan – and don’t let anyone tell you any different! If you’ve got dry patches of skin, the self-tanner will soak more readily into these areas, which will leave your tan looking patchy. Use a loofah or terry cloth flannel alongside an exfoliator when washing to thoroughly exfoliate areas that are more prone to dry skin; e.g. ankles, feet, neck, elbows and knees. Taking exfoliating seriously? Try out an exfoliating glove, which will help you make sure you don’t miss any dry spots.
Try to do this the day before you apply your tan and avoid using any oil-based products as they can prevent your self-tanner from absorbing into the skin properly.
3. Shave or wax the day before
It’s best to wax, shave or use hair removal cream at least the day before you apply the self-tanner as doing it straight before can make the fake tan collect in your follicles creating dark spots. If you need to shave after you’ve applied the fake tan, do this at least 24 hours after using shaving gel to protect your skin and a fresh razor. Shaving will naturally exfoliate your skin and can take the top layer of your tan off so it’s best to wait if you can.
Getting rid of those patches of dry skin effectively will require moisturising just before you fake tan. Apply more body moisturiser than you think you need and target the key areas we’ve mentioned before as well as other areas you think may attract the tan – e.g. scar tissue.
5. Have a plan of action
Before you start applying the tan, make sure you’re fully prepped and know exactly where you’re applying your fake tan. This will help to make sure all of the areas you need to cover are taken care of. The best way to fake tan is to start at your feet and work your way upwards so your arms are the last thing to do as this will avoid smudging bits you’ve already done. Get between your toes and right around the backs of your ankles as this is where your tan can really show itself up as being fake!
Wear a tanning mitt too as this will help to create a streak-free finish. And, if no one’s on standby to help reach that awkward bit between the shoulders, opt for a tanning lotion and a long handle applicator.
6. Don’t forget the hands
When you’ve finished, you might think you can just take off the mitts and enjoy your glowing skin, but forgetting your hands is a cardinal sin in fake tanning. Moisturise your hands thoroughly, covering your wrists, knuckles and nails. Then apply a little self-tanner to the backs of your hands and rub these together. Keeping your hands back-to-back, link your fingers to get some tan on the insides.
The best way of applying fake tan to the face is by following the same rules for your body, but paying even more attention! You’ll still want to exfoliate and use your favourite face moisturiser before applying the best self tanner for your face. As this will be different for different skin types, it’s definitely worth doing a patch test on a small area before going all in.
Apply the tan to your face just like you would foundation with your fingers in quick circular motions, concentrating most on areas that would naturally catch the sun like forehead, nose and cheeks. Remember once it’s dry to use a foundation to match your new healthy glow!
7. Let it dry properly
You’ll need a bit of patience after you’ve applied your tan because you shouldn’t get it wet for at least six hours. Try to avoid wearing anything tight for this same period too; things like seat belts can rub your tan off and give you bizarre lines.
The product you are using will indicate how long it should to take to dry but if you find you’re in a rush and your fake tan’s still sticky, use the cool setting on your hairdryer to try to get it dry.
And…voila! Fake tan success!