10 Essential Tips For Applying The Perfect Coat Of Fake Tan

10 Essential Tips For Applying The Perfect Coat Of Fake Tan

For those of us who weren’t blessed with naturally golden skin, fake tanning is a necessary evil. The process itself is time-consuming, cold, and uncomfortable, but the end result is glowing bronzed skin, heightened confidence, and a boost to your self-esteem.

Unless, of course, you do a botched job and have to cover your patchy neck and orange-stained hands for the rest of the week. In which case, you may wish to knock ‘boosted self-esteem’ off the list. 

However, with a little bit of preparation, effort, research, and a good fake tanning product, you can get your tanning routine down to a fine art. So much so, that people will eventually begin to think this shade of bronze is your natural skin tone, all year round. 

So while we still need you to bring the preparation and effort to the table, we’ve gone ahead and done the research part for you.

Let’s get straight to it: here are the dos and don’ts of a streak-free and flawless at-home tan.

Tanning dos

Do: Exfoliate 

Just as you would prep a wall before painting it, you need to sand back the rough, uneven texture on your skin before applying your first coat of fake tan. 

Skip this step and you’ll wind up with patchy spots and uneven colour. 

Do: Shave the day before you tan

Isn’t it annoying when your tan penetrates every teeny tiny hair follicle on your body and creates endless little brown spots? This can be avoided by shaving at least 24 hours before tanning so that hair follicles have a chance to close back up.

Do: Moisturise your dry areas 

And by dry areas we mean your elbows, knees, hands and feet. Ie. Places where your tan may stick and appear darker than the rest of your body.

Do: Wear a mitt

This is a non-negotiable. If you’re not wearing a mitt while tanning, you’re doing it wrong. 

Not only is a mitt designed to help you distribute the fake tan easily and evenly over your body, but it will also protect your hands from staining. 

The only exception is if you’re using tanning drops or a face tan water, in which case you can give your hands a good wash or a once over with micellar water after use to remain stan-free.

Do: Be methodical

Start in circular motions working from your legs upward. And please, we beg you, apply your tan standing in front of a mirror. That way you won’t miss any glaringly obvious streaks. Once you’ve finished a section, use the residue tan on the mitt to sweep over your hands and feet. 

Wait two to three hours and if you’d like to go even darker, repeat the process.

Do: Moisturise post-tan 

Once you’ve waited the required time for your tan to develop, rinse off in the shower and continue to moisturise as normal, if not more than usual. This ensures your tan will last longer and fade evenly.

Tanning don’ts 

Don’t: Leave deodorant, moisturiser or perfume on

Before tanning, make sure you are clean from head to toe. Try taking a cold shower rather than scorching hot, as this will close your pores and promote a seamless and even tan. 

Don’t:  Tan immediately before your event

If you’re tanning for a special occasion, we recommend allowing at least 24 hours. This gives ample time for colour to develop, fake tan fragrances to fade and any errors to be buffed away and evened out. 

Don’t: Forget your back

Either recruit a family member, partner or housemate to pop your mitt on and finish the most hard-to-reach of all places: your back. 

Alternatively, you can use a tool like the Bondi Sands Back Applicator ($10.46, Bondi Sands) to finish the job on your own. 

Don’t: Neglect your face

Being an entirely different shade from the neck down is never a good look. However, lathering a thick tanning mousse all over your face can also be a one-way ticket to a breakout. 

For this reason, seek out a tanning formula that has been specifically formulated for your face, otherwise, just as you do with your hands and feet, use the residual tan left over on your mitt and sweep it across your face for a lighter application. 

bh recommends:

SugarBaby’s OUT-GLOWING, $26.95 at Sugarbabybeauty.com.au

Bondi Sands Pure Concentrated Self Tan Drops, $22.95 at Bondi Sands

Main image credit: @jlo

Do you feel like you look and feel better in a dress when you have a tan? What self-tan application tips do you swear by?

Have you tried any of the products mentioned?

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Share your thoughts

Comments 31

  1. I love using a fake tan to fix up the pale patches here and there because I tend to wear a whole range of different bikinis and the tops can be especially different and leave paler patches. So I love that I can easily fix up this little issue with a touch of fake tan here and there.

  2. I use a gradual tan moisturiser or something light. My skin is’nt really pale to start with so a little bit is enough. I think too dark fake tan can look really… well, fake LOL

  3. Got in last RR face tanning mask to try. Will not though as this does not suit me. Did try once a body tan given as a part of DB a while back, left for short time and was not too bad.

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