Ever tried self-tanning and ended up streaky, patchy or worst of all - ORANGE?
Don't worry, you're not the only one. There's a lot of bad tan out there, trust us we've witnessed many a faux pas when it comes to a faux glow.
Thanks to that pesky hole in the ozone layer, we don't have the luxury of lying in the sun for hours to build a natural tan, which is why nailing a fake one is our best bet when it comes to achieving total bronzed goddess status.
Let's begin, tanning 101.
PICK THE RIGHT TAN
Finding the right tan for you can take a little trial and error - what works on some won't work for you and vice versa. Look at your skin tone and imagine if you were to tan naturally, would you be golden or olive? Consider that your starting point for choosing a colour base in your tan - usually green or orange. Some may like to start with a gradual tanner You may think to start with a gradual tanning moisturiser, however these can be hard to apply as you can't see exactly where these are going in comparison to instant tanners which are tinted on application. A mousse formula works best for beginners, as you can see exactly where the tan goes and control how much you apply.
Exfoliating is the foundation of a good tan, think of it like priming a canvas. A patchy tan is often due to the skin flaking off intermittently. Start exfoliating two to three days prior to tanning. Once showered, avoid any deodorant as this can react with some tans and create a highly pigmented colour.
24 HOUR RULE
If you decide to wax or shave your legs (which helps in the exfoliation process) do it 24 hours beforehand so the tan doesn't fill your follicles and give you dark spots.
Most people tend to tan in the bathroom as it's an easy clean-up should anything hit the floor - but the lighting isn't always good. Make sure you have a well lit room with a full length mirror where you have enough room to be bending every which way to reach those tricky areas.
Have you ever seen people with orange wrists and brown feet? Not the best look, and so easily avoided with moisturiser. Apply this to problem areas like feet, ankles, knees, elbows, wrists and hands doesn't make your tan streaky as you would think, instead acts as a barrier so that only 1/3-1/2 the product absorbs. Areas with dry skin up the product more, effectively colour grabbing, making them far darker.
Don't be caught brown-handed, protect your palms by using a tanning mitt. Try to find one that is double sided as these are the most robust. Thin mitts can leak between the seams. Using a mitt ensures a streak free application. If you don't have the flexibility of an Olympic gymnast, and want to keep your dirty little secret to yourself, you also want to invest in a mitt stick, a long handled applicator to reach in between your shoulder blades so you aren't asking others for help.
BEGIN AT THE BOTTOM
Starting from the bottom of your bod helps avoid smudging areas you've already tanned. Work from the feet upwards, complete each leg individually so you don't risk a line at the knee joint. Make sure you get in between the toes, the Achilles and bend your elbows and fingers when tanning them so you don't get wrinkle lines - that's an easy tell your tan is fake. Around the face is an area I tend to do last with whatever residual tan is left on the mitt to ensure it's not too dark, pull your hair away from your face and go into the hairline and back of the ears - if you're blonde or fair be extra careful with blending as there could be some staining.
TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE
It's always best to work quickly when applying your tan however don't rush the job. Taking that extra five minutes to give yourself a full check can be the difference between perfect coverage and the trump look. You want to leave enough time for drying at the end, this could be up to half an hour or more.
LET IT DRY
Let. It. Dry. Product instructions tend to say wait five minutes then dress in loose clothing - this is half true. If you're in a rush I'd recommend using a hair dryer on cold at full force, you need to be only slightly sticky at the end but not sticky enough that you think getting dressed will remove the tan.
Last but not least - wear black clothing. Tanning does stain clothes and sheets so if you tan before bed ensure you have dark sheets or ones you can bleach. You may also want to warn your significant other they may wake up with a little tan too, rest assured this is typically the application tint and washes off easily.