How to apply fake tan like a pro is a skill one is yet to master. The days of smothering ourselves in too much fake tan or using tanning beds may be long behind us, but lots of us still want to add some colour during the warmer months, so how can we get a grown-up, lasting healthy glow without causing damage? It’s well known that sunbathing can cause harmful effects to our skin – in fact, it’s one of the main causes of premature ageing – but luckily there are lots of ways to gain radiant skin without the sun. We called in the experts to find out what products and tips we should be using to create a lasting glow.
Time to tan
Looking for tips on how to apply fake tan like a pro? Rebecca Mone, founder of Utan, gives us hers:
- Always exfoliate and do any hair removal before you tan (preferably 24 hours prior). Be sure not to use an oil-based exfoliator as this prevents the tan from working as well.
- For pale skin types, go for a tan that has a red undertone as this will mimic a real suntan and won’t go an orange/ashy colour.
- If you’re using a mousse, always use a mitt to apply this evenly across your body. I also use a Face Halo (£7, hollandandbarrett.com) to perfect areas such as my hands.
- As we are currently using a lot of hand sanitiser and frequently washing our hands, I would recommend using a tanning water such as utan Almond Mylk Mist (£18, utan.co.uk) to top up. Make a claw shape with your hand and mist for even coverage.
- Use a tanning water/mist over your face, bust, shins and any hard to tan areas instead of a mousse. You can also use a tanning water to set your mousse tans for a darker colour!
Slow it down
If you’ve never used fake tan before, it can be a little daunting, but don’t despair – there are other products available that will give you a more subtle glow and can be built up slowly, so there’s less chance for it to go wrong. You could try self-tan drops, which you can add directly to your daily body oil, lotion or cream for a hassle-free way to achieve a sun-kissed look – we like Tropic Sun Drops Gradual Tanning Facial Serum (£22, tropicskincare.com). Another option is gradual self-tan, which you apply daily and over the course of a few days, you’ll start to see a tan developing – try Dove Summer Revived Gradual Self-Tan Body Lotion (£7.79, boots.com).
Moisturiser is likely to already be part of your routine, but it’s especially important to apply this product to maintain your summer glow. This is because the key to a long-lasting tan is to keep your skin hydrated and smooth. The Bondi Sands Body Moisturiser (£9.99, superdrug.com) is enriched with vitamin E and jojoba and leaves a gorgeous sheen for a healthy glow from within. Apply it to drier areas before tanning to achieve a flawless look!
Choosing the right shade of nail varnish can help your tan look brighter for longer. Colours such as white (which works in the same way as white clothing to show off a tan), bright blue (which complements the warmer tones in your skin), pastel purple (this provides a contrast to your glow) and coral (which also goes with warmer tones), all help to give you a sun-kissed look. Try OPI Nail Lacquer in Time for a Napa (£13.50, opiuk.com), or Mavala Nail Polish in Mombasa (£5.50, lookfantastic.com).
Go for bronze
The first place where your tan will start to fade is your face, so keep your glow topped up by applying bronzer. Be sure to find a product that matches your skin tone – if you’re fair, try a peach or rose colour; if you’re olive-skinned, look for a copper shade; if you have darker skin, use a deep brown hue. A bonus of bronzer is that not only will it add subtle colour, but it can also help to define your cheekbones and shape your face. Try Benefit Hoola Matte Bronzer (£27, boots.com) or e.l.f. Four-in-One Bronzer Compact (£5, superdrug.com).
Shine like a diamond
If you’re in need of a fast tan fix, choose a shimmer oil. They’re a great way to brighten your skin – apply it where the sunlight would naturally reach your body, such as your collarbone, the front of your legs, the bridge of your nose and your cheekbones. We like Guava & Gold Paradise Found Shimmering Body Oil (£32, guavaandgold. com) – featuring the scents of mandarin, freesia and pear blossom, it’s blended with macadamia, sweet almond, avocado and coconut oils to nourish and brighten skin.
Did you know that choosing the right lip colour can enhance the warm tones in your skin, making you look more tanned? Pick a coral or pink colour to really ramp up your glow. We like Mac Matte Lipstick in Tropic Tonic (£17.50, maccosmetics.co.uk) and Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick in Drop of Sherry (£4.99, boots,com).
How to extend your summer glow for longer
Drink plenty of water
It’s all well and good constantly applying moisturiser but you need to stay hydrated on the inside, too.
This could remove the top layer of your skin, taking your tan with it. Instead, stick to shaving.
Eat foods high in beta-carotene
Research suggests that eating foods such as carrots, mangoes, sweet potatoes and tomatoes could make your skin appear darker, so add them to your diet.
Wear white clothing
This is an obvious tip, but a good one – light clothes, especially white, give the illusion of a tan.
Use a tan extender
There are lots of tan extenders available that can help you keep your summer glow while also moisturising your skin – try Malibu Aftersun With Tan Extender (£3.49, superdrug.com) or Garnier Ambre Solaire After Sun Tan Maintainer (£3.80, amazon.co.uk).