Protecting yourself from the harmful suns rays doesn’t mean that you have to give up your gorgeous summer glow. You can get your pre-summer / summer tan the safe way: with a spray tan or use self-tanning products at home.
Apologies for the length of this blog post but as a Tanning Technician as well as a Makeup Artist I have a lot of tips that I have learnt over the years. No 1 being: Practice makes perfect if you choose the self-tanning option.
Here are a few self-tanning tips for making you naturally sun kissed rather than a streaky mess!
1. Pre-Tan Prep
Before you Begin – make sure that you have waxed (24 hrs before) or shaved, exfoliated and moisturise your skin. I know what you’re thinking; thats a lot of prep for an ‘at home tan’ but I can assure that its necessary.
Shaving or waxing after a tan can remove the product from your skin and so its better to get waxing done the day before or shave in the shower before you start to apply your tan.
Applying tan over skin that hasn’t been exfoliated will only fade as the cells shed and so if you get rid of those dead cells first you will end up with a longer lasting, non patchy tan.
Focusing on rough areas like your knees, elbows, ankles, and heels. For your face, use a facial cleaner to remove dead, dull skin. Avoid anything oil-based, since it leaves behind residue that causes streaks.
BE CAREFUL WITH THIS ONE! Moisturisers that contain oil can prevent the tanning agents from developing properly but sometimes we need a little help with very dry areas like hands, feet, elbows, knees and face. These areas tend to be dry and will absorb more pigment than other areas of your body, causing unevenness.
If you have fair hair, add a light layer to your hairline and eyebrows to stop them from absorbing tan and changing colour too!
With regards to your actual moisturiser, you need to make sure that it is OIL FREE. If possible use the self tan brands own moisturiser that they recommend such as Fake Bake’s Oil Free Moisturiser . As with your body scrub, if you use an oil based product it will leave behind a residue that the self tan cannot adhere to.
2. Application Tools
After applying my moisturiser I wait for 5 minutes to allow it to sink into my skin before beginning to apply the fake tan lotion with a tanning mitt.
I like to use the Xen Tan Luxury Tanning Mitt from Look Fantastic as its only £4 and is super soft and washable (hand wash).
There are loads of tanning mitts on the market but some other favourites are:
- Velvotan Deluxe Double Sided Tanning Mitt – Amazon £4.95
- Velvotan Self Tan Applicator Original Body Mitt – Amazon – £2.99
I begin with my legs and work up and inwards including my tummy, arms, legs and neck. I then get my husband to help me reach my back and ‘colour me in’! However if you’re not lucky enough to have someone to do your back for you, you can also use a ‘back and body tanning mitt such as :
Previously I have tried extendable tanning arms/wands which you can use for applying fake tan to your back. I tried the one from Boots a couple of years ago however I found it to be quite awkward to use as the pad on the end was quite small however the Tan Wand (above) which I’ve found on Amazon seems to have a larger surface area which should be easier to use. Let me know if you but something like this and how you found it.
3. Application Method
Always apply self-tanner in a cool, dry area to keep yourself from perspiring. If you’ve just had a shower (See Pre-Tan Prep) you’ll want to leave your hot and steamy bathroom before you apply your tan as humidity/steam, water, and sweat can break down the
self-tanner, creating a streaky application. Its best to move to another cooler
room and if you have carpet, put a towel on the floor first.
Don’t be scared when applying your self-tan. The product is meant to be
applied liberally to ensure that your whole body is covered thoroughly. If you
apply tour tan with a light hand, you won’t get a more subtle effect; just
streaks and dark patches. To help avoid streaks, apply tanner in circular
motions, approximately one teaspoon at a time, from your feet up to your face, otherwise,
it could gather in creases and make marks as you bend over. Remember to
save your arms and hands for last.
Professional Tip: To successfully apply tanner in your knuckles,
bend your fingers so your hand looks like a claw. This way you will cover
the insides of the creases and avoid white stripes across your knuckles.
Professional Tip: Modify Your Technique for Your Face – I like to mix the self-tan with a small amount of oil free moisturiser to
just thin out the formula a little bit so it applies easier but also to ensure
that the colour isn’t quite as dark as my body. Mix the two together on the
mitt and gently apply to the face. Don’t forget your hairline, ears and eye
Professional Tip: Wipe your nails, palms and
brows after application and apply some oil free moisturiser at the bottom of
your wrists and buff in using the buffing mitt to minimise the chance of a
Professional Tip: Most self-tans dry very quickly, and you can go to bed after approx. 30-45 mins. If you will be wearing the
self-tan with clothing or going to bed, I sometimes add a fine layer of talc
free baby powder (my favourite is ‘My Little Star Baby Powder’ from Superdrug)
with a talc puff. It stops the tanner from transferring to your clothes. I bought mine from Amazon for £2.49. Even though I have lightly powdered my face and body before bed, I like to cover my pillow with a towel so that it doesn’t stain.
You need to take care of your tan whilst it develops and this means loose clothes (preferably dark ones. Avoid showering or sweating for 6 to 8 hours. Definitely don’t do any washing up! Try to drink through a re-usable straw so that you don’t dribble onto your chin and don’t watch a sad film that will make you cry. A streaky face is not what you want after all of this hard work.
4. Preserve Your Tan
No one can guarantee how long your tan will last, but you can take certain measures to prolong it as long as possible.
Keep Moisturising – To help lock in your new sun kissed glow, apply a moisturiser to your skin after you have bathed or showered. Whilst some self-tanning lotions are moisturising in themselves, having moist, hydrated skin will prolong your tan. You can now buy lots of moisturisers with a tan prolonger in them. I like the Garnier Ambre Solaire After Sun Hydrating Tan Maintainer which I get from Amazon or Superdrug but there are many on sale these days, especially in the summer months.
Use baby body wash – Oil-based products will make your fake tan fade faster, so skip all products with oil while trying to preserve your tan. Also, stay away from exfoliators and opt for gentle cleansers to allow your tan to fade evenly and naturally.
Some of my favourite self-tanners
- James Read Gradual Tan Coconut Water Tan Mist – £25 Feel Unique
- Benefit Hoola Zero Tan Lines Body Bronzer – £25.50 Benefit Cosmetics
- Clarins Liquid Bronze Self Tanning – £20 Clarins
- Sienna X 1 Hour Self Tan Tinted Lotion – £24 Look Fantastic
- He-shi Express Liquid Tan – £21 Feel Unique (On sale for £14 as of 16.04.2019)
- Lancôme Flash Bronzer Instant Natural Tan – £26 Lancome
- Fake Bake Luxurious Golden Bronze Original Self Tanning Lotion – £17.96 Amazon
There are many more self tans on the market for various prices however these are the ones which I have personally used or have been recommended by clients.
Have fun with your self tanning and be brave. If you make a mistake you can always soak yourself in a hot bubble bath and give yourself a body scrub and most of it will wash away!
As with all my blog posts this is my opinion and is not sponsored or paid by any brand and none of the links are affiliates.
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