My Top Tanning Tactics


Fake tanning isn’t something I like to do often. However, when I do require sun-kissed skin (for whatever reason), I need to be able to get it right the first time. I can’t be dealing with a streaky legs, an uneven skin tone or white-untouched patches. I also can’t afford to waste time or money. I doubt I’m alone in this, which is why I decided to put together a list of my top tanning tactics for you to follow. I’ve also included a breakdown of my favourite products in the hope that this will make the self-tanning process a little easier for you.

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty, shall we?


For first-timers:

1. Find a friend willing to help

If you’ve never self-tanned before, you may not know how hard some areas are to reach yourself. I highly recommend you try tanning with a friend before you attempt to go it alone. If you choose a good friend, she’ll point out the spots you’ve missed and help you get them if you can’t. Of course, you must do the same for her…

2. Shower/shave 24hrs before

Showering and shaving the day before will help the overall outcome of your tan. You don’t have to do this together, but by all means you can! Lol the main point is, shower or shave too soon before tanning and you’ll end up with dark spots in your hair follicles and pores. Think of it as prepping a blank canvas for the new colour.

3. Exfoliate well

Before the two of you jump straight on into it you’ll also need to exfoliate well. I like to do this right before I tan, as it ensures any dry skin is removed and my pores are deep cleaned. Failing to exfoliate can leave your tan looking patchy, as the product will cling to dry skin and a build up of natural oils can interfere with how the product develops. This is another important step to creating that all-important blank canvas. Without it you have no chance of getting the new colour to sit evenly on the skin.

4. Always use a hand mitt 

Whether you’re using a wash-off self-tanner, a gradual tanner or a tinted body oil always, and I mean A-L-W-A-Y-S, use a hand mitt. I can’t tell you know many times I’ve stained my hands with fake tan before, or how many hours I’ve spent trying to fix them before going to an important event. They cost as little as £2 and are well worth the small investment! Not only do they help promote seamless application, they can also be used time and time again when well looked after.

5. Practice with a wash-off tan

Neither one of you confident? If that is still the case, you can always practice using a wash-off self-tan. These types of products literally wash off with water as their name suggests. They’re not great for spring showers or beach-based holidays, but they are ideal for getting your technique right. You’ll soon feel like a pro and want to give the real stuff a go.

For the advanced:

1. Exfoliate regularly, as well as just before tanning

If you tan at home regularly, I’m classing you as an advanced self-tanner. You’ll already know all five steps above, so what can you learn from me? Well, let’s face it: I’m no real expert. Nevertheless, I am highly obsessed with the beauty industry and therefore have insights that some of you may not. The first is exfoliating regularly, as well as right before you plan to tan. This may sound like a given but even celebrities fail to do so sometimes, and we know this because it shows! Exfoliating every other day will reveal radiant, heavy skin and therefore leave you with a much better looking, longer-lasting tan.

2. Slap body butter on ALL dry areas

Body butter acts as the ultimate moisturising barrier for dry areas such as joints, feet, hands, elbows and ankles. I use it to stop fake tan developing too dark in certain areas. Dry patches will soak up the most tan and develop it differently, so these are the areas you want to protect. Moisturisers can often work in the same way but many are watery and not great for targeting specific areas. Body butter is thick and heavily hydrating, making it the perfect partner for fake tan. Avoid any products that are water or oil based.

3. Use a beauty brush for the face/neck

This is new, to me at least, so I figured I’d mention it. Jaclyn Hill suggested using a large foundation brush to apply fake tan in to the face and neck in one of her videos and ever since I’ve been addicted. It makes total sense but for some reason, seems pretty bold. It’s really not – and does of course (like anything Jaclyn suggests) work better than anything else I’ve tried.

4. Moisturise every day 

If you’re doing all of the above and still looking somewhat patchy, you need to do a little extra work on those dry areas. Are you using the right products for your skin type? Are you moisturising day and night? These are the sorts of questions you should be asking yourself right about now.

5. Don’t forget the ears! 

Think you’re fully fake-baked? Double check, because there’s a good chance you’ve forgotten something small, such as the ears or in-between the toes.

My fave tanning products:

Face Exfoliator: St. Ives Blemish Fighting Apricot Scrub

Body Exfoliator: Soap and Glory Sugar Crush Scrub

Body butter: The Body Shop British Rose Body Butter

Tanning Mitt: St. Tropez Tan Optimiser

Body Tanner: St. Moriz Instant Self Tanning Mousse (Medium)

Face Tanner: Simple Kind To Skin Sun-Kissed Moisture Cream 

Beauty brush: Zoeva 104 Buffer Brush

Everyday moisturiser: Simple Kind To Skin Hydrating Light Moisturiser

What are yours? Let me know using the comments section below!

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