Fake tan application: natural, not orange, please!

Most of us have had a pretty bad fake tan disaster at some point. Whether it’s generally looking a bit fluorescent after a trigger happy spray tan, or looking like a patchy satsuma where we’ve forgotten to moisturise those dry areas before tan application (hands and knees, I’m looking at you..), most of us have a story to tell (or more likely, to forget!).

Luckily, we have made a simple step by step guide to successful and natural tan application, which means you can achieve a golden glow all year round with relative ease and speed!

Here are our top tips for looking like a bronzed goddess, not a questionable tangerine..

1) Preparation is key:

Tanning prep is probably the most important part of the tanning process. You want to make sure you have a good exfoliation session in the shower the day before you plan to tan to get rid of any dead skin cells (or pesky leftover tan from the last endeavour), and to smooth out the surface of the skin. This leaves you with a lovely smooth canvas for tan application. You also need to make sure to shave a good 12 hours before applying tan so that you don’t get ‘dots’ of tan sitting in your pores. I like to shave in the morning and tan that evening, or shave the night before and tan in the morning. If you’re waxing or using other forms of hair removal, I would allow 24 hours to let the skin settle fully, and any redness to go down.

2) Moisturise!!

Moisturising is key, especially if you have dry skin. You don’t need to do this everywhere, but some areas of our body are more prone to dryness than others, namely; knees, elbows, hands and feet. Don’t slather it on too thick, you still want the tan to take to your skin, but make sure you work some into these areas, leave it a few minutes to sink in, and then apply your tan. I would also highly recommend cleansing and moisturising your face as normal if you’re tanning your face too, as your facial skin will be more prone to absorbing the pigment, and it will dry it out without a protective barrier there.

3) Even thin layers are best:

When applying your tan, it’s best to focus on applying a thin, even layer over all your body to start with, and then you can always go over it again 20 minutes later if you’re looking for a darker colour. Making sure the same amount is applied all over will ensure your tan is even, not patchy, and the same depth all over. I find mousses are the best for always coming out even - the bondi sands self tan mousse in dark may have been tested by us after a few lemonades and still came out smooth and natural looking! (Drinking before tanning is not advisable..) Make sure you use a good quality tanning mit to apply the tan.

4) Be patient!

A lot of tan these days are able to be washed off after 1 or 2 hours, but generally around 6 hours seems to give the best results, depending on how deep you’d like your tan. If you're more of a pale english rose and don't want to go too many shades darker, opt for a shorter tan developing time first time round, and experiment with leaving it on for longer periods of time the next time you tan. However long you’re waiting, make sure you avoid contact with water, wear loose fitting clothes and avoid any activities that will make you sweat (this can make underarms patchy, not a great look..)

5) Wash off and moisturise:

Have a quick shower with water only, just a few minutes long to wash off the residue, and then pat dry with a towel, no rubbing! Once you are dry, apply moisturiser all over your body to lock in the colour and moisture, and voila - you have a gorgeous tan!

How long your tan lasts will depend greatly on how active you are, how man times you shower, how often you remember to moisturise after showering, whether you are swimming in pools, etc. but a great quality product with the right prepping should last you a week of golden tan.

Our winner for best tan this year has to be the Bondi Sands self tanning foam, dark, £14.99, from Bondi Sands official site, widely available at Boots and Superdrug, and some Tescos, Sainsbury's and Morrisons stores.