With the summer coming to a close, you may be noticing your sunkissed glow starting to disappear, or maybe you’ve not been able to catch a tan altogether! When it comes to getting some colour in the colder months, you may be thinking about your options. Spray tans can be expensive and inconvenient, so you might be wanting to give the bottled stuff a go.  If you’re looking somewhat reflective and want to get your bronze on, follow this fool proof guide for getting a perfect streak free tan!

Fake tanning can be daunting for the first time, and there are certain steps to follow before you start. You’ll want to prep your skin first, making a smooth base to ensure even and full coverage.

Step 1: Exfoliate

Grab your exfoliator and get ready to do some scrubbing. Removing dead skin cells is important before applying any tan.  An oil free exfoliator is ideal as it will leave you feeling soft and your skin prepped. A natural loofah is also great for removing dead skin cells. If you’re planning to shave your legs before you tan, it’s best to do so with a fresh razor. Shaving before you exfoliate will ensure that you’re super smooth and your skin will provide an even base. Make sure that if you’re going to wax or shave, to do so at least 24 hours before applying fake tan.

Once exfoliated, use an oil free body wash and rinse with cool water to help close any open pores. Dry with a towel to go over areas you have missed.

Step 2: Moisturise

Moisturising your dry areas using an oil free lotion such as aloe vera, will help create an even tan. Dry skin will absorb more pigments, which can lead to a patchy skin tone. Make sure the moisturiser is completely soaked into your skin before tanning, as the smallest bits of moisture can result in hard to rectify unsightly streaks.

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Step 3: Pick your product

Get savvy with the different types of fake tans out there and make sure you use a shade appropriate for your skin tone. If you’re naturally very fair, don’t go for a tan that is too dark, as it will end up looking very obviously unnatural. For darker skin tones, opt for something deeper to bring out your colour.

There are many different kinds of do-it-yourself fake tans, so it can be hard to know what to go for. For example, tanning mousse tends to dry a lot faster and is easy to apply. With self tan you will usually notice a colour change after 8-12 hours, and gradual tanners are great for those trying it out first time, as you can build up your colour with further applications day by day.

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Step 4: Apply!

A sponge mitt is a must have when applying fake tan, as its flat and smooth surface will leave you with a nice even coverage and your hands will be protected from the dreaded orange palms look.

To apply, put your fake tan on the mitt, and then fold it in half. This ensures you don’t apply too much of the product to your skin. Apply sparingly, starting at the feet and working your way  up to your neck using long, vertical strokes. It’s also best not to apply tan directly to your dry areas such as elbows and knees, and instead blend the tan towards them with the mitt. Make sure that you spread the tan, instead of rubbing it in, as this may make the finish uneven.

Tan all over to ensure an even coverage and don’t worry about applying over the same spot twice as this won’t affect the colour – it is better to do this than leave any patches. Use a body brush with your mitt over the bristles to get to any hard to reach places, such as your shoulders and back.

If you’re planning to tan your face, use a product specifically for that area. Use a sponge to ensure flawless coverage, focusing on areas such as your cheekbones and jawline where sunlight would naturally fall to ensure a low maintenance, subtle contour.

Step 5: Leave to dry

Before your tan fully dries, lightly dust some talc-free baby powder onto areas such as your armpits, elbows and knees to ensure that you’re not sweating your tan off, so it develops properly. If your tan is taking a while to dry, use a hair dryer on a cool setting around your body to speed up the drying process. The air will also activate the developer. If you must, wear loose fitting clothing whilst you are waiting for your tan to dry and avoid anything that’s too tight as this can result in patches.

Avoid washing your hands for two hours whilst the tan is starting to develop, instead use an oil free wipe over any areas where you don’t want your tan to settle, for example your palms and cuticles. A cotton swab and a gentle cleanser is good for removing the tan in unwanted areas such as toe nails and cuticles. Use an exfoliator to scrub off any excess.

After the tan has developed, rinse your skin and gently towel dry. To keep your tan for longer, use gentle cleansing products and avoid anything oil based, as this will compromise your even tan. Keep heavy exfoliating to a minimum too, to help prolong your glow as long as possible.
Apply once every day for the next 2-3 days if you are opting for a much deeper tan, this allows for the tan to develop and will you leaving looking naturally bronzed.

If you’re still put off by the idea, or don’t want to commit to the longevity of a fake tan, try an instant tan that will wash off with soap and water, or pick up a bronzer and lightly apply to areas where sunlight catches for a natural and subtle glow.