A healthy glow is a wonderful confidence booster but, if you don’t live in a warm climate or you don’t want to risk the skin damage caused by the sun’s rays, you can get a great tan with an instant tan product. Yet we’ve all heard the horror tales of streaks and blotches so, to avoid the tangoed look, there are three unbreakable laws for applying a natural-looking fake tan.
Don’t skimp on the preparations
Before applying fake tan you should exfoliate thoroughly as dry skin and rough spots with cause unsightly patching. If your skin is a little dry or has been neglected for a while, plan a few days of rigorous exfoliation and moisturising as part of your skincare routine to make sure that your skin is soft and receptive to the tanner.
Using a body brush, a body scrub or a rough cloth, use a circular motion all over your body, paying particular attention to those areas which tend to be dry such as the elbows, ankles, wrists and knees. Apply moisturiser or light body oil and leave it to soak in, using a heavier layer on the rough areas to normalise the epidermis, and repeat this process daily until your skin is soft and smooth.
So that the tanner doesn’t sit in your pores, shave your legs the night before you plan to apply the fake tan and give your skin time to settle. Always make sure that your moisturiser is applied a few hours before you use the tanner so that you have better chance of an even application. Just before applying the fake tan, smear Vaseline on your nails and cuticles (hands and feet), hairline and eyebrows to avoid staining – particularly if your hair is a light colour.
Choose the right product for your skin type
It is vital to consider the type of tan that will suit your skin. Tanning towels, for example, have a more natural effect on paler skins, whereas olive skin tones can bear a more intense lotion and shade. If you would rather take the build up slowly or are unsure of exactly the effect you want, either use a tan-infused moisturiser or add the tanner to your body lotion to dilute the effect and allow you to control the application process.
Take your time with the application
Even expensive products will look cheap if the application is slapdash. It is best to apply the tanner methodically to make sure you don’t miss bits, and gently to make sure that the coverage is smooth. Starting with your arms and legs, work on one limb at a time, only moving onto the next area when your skin is evenly covered. You can use tan mitts (available from most chemists), thin rubber gloves, or even a pair of socks to protect your hands and make the application even.
If the application seems a bit heavy, use a clean sock or mitt to remove the excess and even up the colour. When dealing with the difficult areas of elbows, knees and ankles, some recommend applying the tanner as usual, and then rubbing it off with a clean cloth – enough will remain to colour the skin naturally but not so much as to cause patching.
If you need to remove unwanted tanner from between fingers and toes you can use a cotton wool ball dipped in nail polish remover. To keep palms clean without touching the back of your hands wipe them on a damp wash cloth, but always remember to wait at least 10 minutes before getting dressed to prevent streaking.