The tan commandments
Exfoliation is important for an even colour. But don’t make the mistake of exfoliating on the same day as you tan. Do it the day before, so your skin has time to settle down. The same goes for waxing and shaving.
Before you start tanning, apply moisturiser to your ankles, elbows, wrists, ears, hip bones, collar bone, knees, fingers and toes. Fair-skinned women should aim for a “light glow” rather than a deep tan. The easiest way is with a gradual self-tanning moisturiser. Or try using a mousse formula as these are more spreadable.
Focus on areas that would naturally attract most colour. Wear tight-fitting gloves while tanning to avoid staining your hand, or wash your bare hands before applying colour to each section of the body. Start tanning at the ankles and sweep upwards.
Do the large areas first: the legs, arms, stomach and back. Now focus on the feet, ankles, knees and backs of hands. If you’re using a cream tanner, dilute with a moisturiser to get a natural look. Keep the tan lighter on your top half – you can get away with a deeper colour on your legs.
Faces should only be tanned with products designed specifically for the facial area. Don’t shower, swim etc for six to eight hours after tan application. Fade will be faster if you soak in the bath, so stick to the shower and pat skin dry rather than rubbing with a towel. Also moisturise daily with an alcohol-free cream.
Fragrances contain alcohol which can strip pigments and leave your tan looking blotchy, so spray it onto your clothes rather than your skin.
Five to try:
TINTED These tanners are ideal as you can see where you’ve been with them. Garnier Ambre Solaire No Streaks Bronzer Tinted Self-Tan Gel $20.49 dries fast, develops to a honey colour and also has a flattering golden shimmer to keep skin glowing while you’re waiting for the tan to kick in.
GRADUAL Beauty award-winner Dove Summer Glow $9.29 builds a gradual, streak-free tan moisturising skin. Choose the fair-to-normal option and apply daily until your tan is deep enough, then every second day to maintain.
WASH OFF These products are ideal to
boost a fake tan or use alone for a subtle glow. Try St Tropez Wash Off Instant Glow Body Lotion $39.99 – it’s lightweight and hydrating.
FACE ModelCo was the first tan to have a flattering blue/green base rather than orange. Their new Face Tan Hydrating Self-Tanning Gel $39.95 is another breakthrough – one side contains a gel tanning formula, the other a hydrating serum. Mix the two formulas before applying for a natural colour – or use more of the tanner for a deeper glow.
NATURAL If you’re avoiding synthetics then Trilogy Instant Bronzing Gel $35.90 offers a bronze tan with 100% certified natural ingredients. It also contains mica and caramel for an instant glow, and aloe vera and vitamin E to soothe and hydrate.