Whether it's a rich bronzed look or a gorgeous golden undertone you're going for, fake tan is a safe and simply way to give your skin a healthy-looking glow. Find out how to select the best fake tan for you, how to prep your skin and how to achieve an even, streak-free application with our fake tan guide.
Before you begin prepping and priming your skin for application, you need to decide which type of fake tan you want to use. There are plenty of different formulas on the market, and each comes with its own benefits.
Mousse is ideal for beginners as it gives you more control over the product with minimal mess. A mousse formulation usually dries quickly to create instant colour, which means you can patch up any missed areas before heading out.
Especially effective for those with dry skin, a tanning lotion provides ample moisture. The consistency makes sure your tan glides on smoothly and produces an even finish that restores the skin's softness.
Sprays are wonderfully easy to apply and great for all-over tanning. Choose one with a multi-angle applicator that helps reach those hard-to-get places like the back of the legs.
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Achieving the best fake tan starts earlier than you think. If you want even and long-lasting colour, you'll need to carefully prep the skin first. Start with a good exfoliator to remove any dryness and finish with your favourite moisturiser
Exfoliating helps to remove dead skin cells, allowing the tan to be absorbed and reducing uneven tan on rough patches of skin. When exfoliating, pay particular attention to any areas where you experience extra dryness, like your elbows, knees and ankles, to ensure a streak-free finish. For the best results, exfoliate at least 24 hours before you apply your tan to make sure the skin is primed and ready.
When you're done exfoliating, follow up by applying plenty of moisturiser. Again, pay particular attention to typically dry areas so that your tan has the best chance of adhering to the skin. Leave a two or three-hour gap between moisturising and applying your tan so that your skin has plenty of time to absorb the lotion.
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In order to achieve expert control, use a tanning mitt for applying your product. Using a mitt makes sure that whatever formula you're using will apply smoothly and evenly.
Work your way from the bottom of your body to the top, leaving out tricky areas like the feet. Starting at the shins, apply your product using a circular motion so that the formula absorbs well.
Next, it's time to target those hard-to-reach areas. The best way to do this is to use the leftover product from your mitt and lightly buff it around your ankles, feet, knees and elbows. This should ensure a streak-free finish and keep the application consistent. Struggling with your back? Get an extra pair of hands on the task!
When it's time to remove your artificial tan, the easiest and most effective way to do so is gradually.
Start with a light body exfoliator mixed with some bath or massage oil and gently rub into the skin in circular motions. Use a fine-grained polish to avoid aren't abrasively scrubbing at the skin, as this may cause the tan to fade in patches.
The softening properties of the oil will break down the tan, removing the colour evenly. To speed up the process, use a fresh tanning mitt and gently rub in circular motions to cover a larger surface area of skin.
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While it's easy to love the quick and reliable colour that applying fake tan gives pale pins, there are always times you want to achieve a natural tan.
If you're going to tan safely it is absolutely crucial you apply the right sunscreen for your skin type. Look for SPF, broad spectrum and UVA protection when you're searching for sun lotions. Fair skin types should opt for a sunscreen with SPF 50 for maximum protection, while those with very dark skin may only require SPF 15.
Understanding the way in which your skin tans is also an important factor. Each person's skin has its own cut-off point – when it stops producing the skin tanning pigment melanin – so spending a long time in the sun does not necessarily mean a better tan. Typically, this cut-off period is around two or three hours. After this, you risk exposing your skin to UV damage, so head inside and rehydrate while you cool down.
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Now you've achieved your sun-kissed glow, remember that frequent practice is the only real route to becoming master of the tanning mitts. Add the finishing touch to your skin with a good body oil for a healthy-looking and radiant shimmer.