– The Skin Edit’s Guide to a Golden Faux Glow –
Whether you’re tanning for the middle of winter or the middle of summer (in the UK, its the same thing), we’ve got you covered with our 10 Tan Commandments; from pre-tan waxing, pre-tan-prep, to the best way to maintain your golden faux glow.
We’ve all had that moment. You know the one I’m talking about. That moment, when you’ve looked in the mirror and the fake tan you have lovingly applied, has not so lovingly graced you with an Oompa Loompa look (not to mention the streaks) that could haunt your Instagram feed for years to come. Our simple, tanning tips will help guide you through the process of application and make orange a thing of the past.
TAN COMMANDMENT ONE: Don’t Skip The Prep
It’s easy to leave everything to the last minute, I know. But trust me, this is one area where planning ahead pays off. Complete all of your Waxing Treatments and Manicures/Pedicures at least 24 hours before you apply self-tan. If you leave them until after your tanning session, it will remove all of the colour. Importantly, if you don’t leave enough time between waxing and tanning, the tan can react with the open hair follicles (not a good look if you’re tanning ahead of an event).
TAN COMMANDMENT TWO: Repeat after me, ‘EXFOLIATE’!
Exfoliate! Please, I beg you. This is one of the most crucial elements of perfecting your faux glow. Exfoliation, will help to sloth away all dead skin cells and will create a smooth and clear skin base for the tan to be applied. Having a smooth, even skin surface will also help to deliver an even colour and prevent dreaded streaking.
Remember to avoid any exfoliators which are oil-based. As lovely as they may smell and feel, the oil will create a film-barrier between the tan and your skin. I recommend Guinot’s Gommage Facile 200ml. It contains loofa fibres, which gently exfoliate rough patches and dry skin. Use it on wet skin, in circular motions and focus on your driest patches; elbows, knees and heels etc.
If you suffer from very dry skin, try exfoliating gloves. Use them once a week, in the run-up to tanning. Always use circular motions and again, pay attention to your driest areas, including the décolleté.
For the face, you can not beat our Lesley Leale-Green hero product, Guinot’s Gommage Biologique. This is one of our most famous products in the clinic; a natural exfoliator which has gentle fruit acids to sloth away dead skin cells effectively. For a more intense exfoliation try the Clarisonic PRO with your normal skin cleanser or an AHA based cleanser for clear, smooth and flawless skin.
TAN COMMANDMENT THREE: Moisturise. Moisturise. Moisturise.
Just like exfoliation, moisturising is crucial in the run-up before your faux-glow. If you are having your tan applied in a professional salon, don’t moisturise, apply deodorant or perfume before you visit. This just prevents any complications with application. Your professional therapist should be taking care of any necessary prep for you.
If you are tanning at home, and you can’t live without moisturising your face, stick to water-based moisturisers (avoid any face oils) on the day. Moisturising your body before you faux tan, is ideal before application. Remember to let your moisturiser fully sink in before you begin to apply your faux tan and pay particular attention to the naturally dry areas of the body; knuckles, wrists, hands, elbows, ankles, knees and feet.
If your hands are a little shaky, try applying a light layer of moisturiser or vaseline to your hairline and eyebrows to prevent unwanted colour absorption.
TAN COMMANDMENT FOUR: Pore-fection.
If you are tanning at home, celebrity tanning therapist and St.Tropez Tanning Expert Jules Heptonstall (his clients include Poppy Delevingne and Sienna Miller) suggests that you blast skin with cold water before the end of your pre-tan shower. It will help to close up the skins’ pores and reduces the risk of the pores becoming blocked with tan. Little brown spots are a big giveaway of a faux tan.
TAN COMMANDMENT FIVE: Application
Before you apply your tan, make sure that skin is dry. Skin should completely free from water, oil and any other liquids. Even the smallest amount of moisture left on the skin can be the culprit for streaks later.
Always wear applicator mitts or latex gloves to prevent the dreaded tango-hands! When applying faux tan, always begin from your feet, working you way upwards; this way you prevent any ‘crease’ marks on your tummy during the application process. Then from your wrists and work inwards. Use long sweeping strokes and change direction to help distribute the colour effectively and evenly and to avoid streaking. When it comes to your back, unless you have a therapist on retainer, think about investing in a body brush. Or, if you already have a long-handled exfoliating brush, place your tanning mitt over the bristles and apply the tan down each shoulder and over the middle of your back. Alternatively, invest in a 360 degree Self-Tan Spray. For hands and feet, all you need to do is use the leftover tan on your mitts from your body application.
When applying tan on your face – don’t be put off! For the face mix your self tan with a small amount of moisturiser to soften the colour of the tan formula. This will give you a more natural faux-glow and minimise the risk of breakouts.
The Tanning Hour: A Guide to Selecting the Best Faux Tan
At the end of application, wipe your palms, nails and brows and apply a little more moisturiser to help blend and minimise any colour transfer. Apply moisturiser at the bottom of your wrists too. Buff with a buffing mitt to minimise the chance of a tan line left over from wearing mitts.
TAN COMMANDMENT SIX: Its All About the Final Polish
If you’re not used to baring all on the beach and want to take your faux tanning skills to the next level, these handy tips will help you hide a sculpt and highlight your body to golden perfection. Add additional tan to any areas you want to shade or contour. Focus on the collarbones or the underneath your bicep indents, the outer torso and between your thighs. This can be done quickly with bronzer. You can even highlight your tan with an illuminator/body highlighter/powder; focusing again on the collarbones, shoulders and cheekbones. You can even apply this trick to the front of your legs to create sheen and definition. A shimmer bronzer/highlighter down the front of your legs will help to elongate and slim. This same trick can be applied to your tummy; dust the same shimmer bronzer/highlighter down the sides of your waist to help contour and define the area.
TAN COMMANDMENT SEVEN: Thou’ shalt Maintain thy Tan.
To keep a faux tan looking flawless, keep this is mind. Water is the enemy. Avoid baths if you can, sticking to cool showers. Always pat yourself dry and refrain from rubbing the skin. Your towel will have an exfoliating and lifting effect on your tan if your rub! If you are going to the beach or are planning on lounging by the pool, wear a water-resistant SPF. Invest in a moisturising body product which helps to extend a tan. I love the Vita Liberata Moisture Boost Body Treatment. It is incredibly hydrating after a day on the beach and helps to extend any tan.
Finally, we’ve all spotted the obvious faux-tanner across the room; there is nothing more obvious than heavy faux tan patches were it begins to fade. Buffing your skin and reapplying once a week will help to keep your faux tan masterpiece a secret.
TAN COMMANDMENT EIGHT: Take your Time
When you tan naturally, the golden rule is to tan slowly (and safely). The same principle applies to tanning the faux-way! If you are planning a golden faux glow for a special event, start the process nicely in advance to prevent any problems. I recommend at least three days in advance. This way you can apply a light layer of tan on the first day and see how it develops on your skin, (without having to panic if you don’t like it) and then develop and deepen the colour with another light layer the next day.
Alternatively, invest in a gradual tanner. Start using it 5 days before your event and slowly build the colour to your desired strength every other day.
TAN COMMANDMENT NINE: Dress for Success.
Although some tans are now instant with a development time of 1-3 hours, most self tans take between 8-10 hours to fully develop. If you can, avoid showering before this time is up, to get the maximum tan development time possible.
When dressing, opt for loose, dark clothing to prevent any rubbing or from clothing being stained. Definitely no gym leggings or jeans! Try to avoid going to the gym, exercising or swimming/sauna etc. in this period as perspiration will cause the tan to streak and lift.
TAN COMMANDMENT TEN: If at First you don’t Succeed.
If you’ve gone overboard and don’t like the effect of the tan, do not panic! Most fake tans have a natural life span of 7-10 days. If that’s still too long click here for our guide to Tanning Detox.
More from The Skin Edit: The Sun Factor. Do you Practice Safe Sun?