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10 steps to a perfect fake tan - every time!

tan woman on beach

It might be old fashioned, but to my mind there is no-one who doesn’t look better with a tan. Not a ‘leather-handbag’ mahogany one, more an ‘I’ve been for a jog in California’ gold.

Getting that naturally is not a very good idea unfortunately, not least because up to 80% of ageing comes from unnecessary sun exposure.

With that in mind, it is just as well that sunless tanners have come so far. Gone are the ‘tango’ days of looking like an Oompah Loompah. With a few small steps, anyone can go gorgeously golden, risk free (thank goodness – I cannot TELL you the humiliation I wrought on myself for years with fake tanners that I did not do well AT ALL).

Here are the top tips I have found over the years for a streak-free finish without a fuss:

  1. Scrub first: Everyone knows you need to scrub from head to toe, but I recently found out through a St Tropez tanning expert that the type of exfoliator you use can make or break your glow. Look for an oil free scrub. Scrubs with oils stop the tan being absorbed evenly and mess with your colour!


    I love a good body-brush personally. Head to toe, in the direction of the heart – gets the blood pumping and the body as smooth as silk!


  2. Depilate the day before (48-hours if you wax): If you don’t for a start your pores are open after a wax, so you risk infection and if you shave, that is how you get those odd little stubble blots. Leave it 24-hours and the final result is always much better.


  3. DON’T moisturise all over with body butter: It used to be advised to slather yourself in rich creams – that will just make the product slip all over your skin. Instead, moisturise with a lotion an hour or so before you do your tan, then apply the butter to the knees, feet, elbows and face only.


  4. Use a mitt: Mitts are god’s gift to grubby girls. You simply apply the product to your mitt, then buff it in in circular motions working from the top down – streak free with ease and you can reuse them – just chuck in the washing machine and dry naturally.


  5. Check your streaks: It sounds a bit odd, but you know when you get a white streak, you buff it in? Well that is NOT what you need to look for. It’s the brown streaks from the richer tanners that are the places you will get giveaway marks. BUFF, BUFF, BUFF.


  6. Vaseline your brows and hairline: Nothing looks worse than collections of tan around your hair. Vaseline it.


  7. Dilute the colour: For areas that grab colour quickly, like the face, knees and hands, mix your tanner with some moisturiser and build the colour up. You can always add more colour, but it’s a BUGGER to get it off, so be patient with it.


  8. Pick the right tone: Fair haired blonde with translucent white skin? Don’t pick up dark – you will look like a teak sideboard. Start with the lightest you think you need and build up!


  9. To tan your hands: Tan experts at Templespa say to take the mitt off, put a blob of tan mixed with moisturiser on the back of your hand. Placing the back of the hands against each other rub each up and down. Make sure you pay attention to webbing of hands and around the wrist!


  10. Maintain it: Moisturise with a rich body butter twice a day for that lovely summer sheen, exfoliate from head to toe every other day for even wearing (paying particular attention to the knees, ankles, elbows and hands) and don’t shower or bathe in extreme heat as it will strip the colour!
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