It may be September, but it’s still Legs Out season and these days, I like to tan safely and fake my glow. If applied well, no-one will know it's faux... today I'm sharing my Top Ten self tanning tips to keep things smooth, seamless and golden!
Good preparation is key to an even, long lasting self tan...
1. Exfoliate the night before to remove dead skin cells, get rid of dry patches and leave skin soft, smooth and ready for application. This will also help your tan last longer as you're less likely to shed it with dry skin. Nice! My current fave is Soap & Glory Breakfast Scrub and not just because it smells good enough to eat, though Clinique Sparkle Skin and the new Yonka body scrubs are gorgeous if you fancy something a little more luxurious.
2. Defuzz legs a day (or at least a few hours) in advance if possible. I’m mostly lasered, but still have some hair which I usually take off with a razor. Shaving leaves my skin feeling sensitive and self tan stings if I apply it to freshly shaved skin, so I prefer to do this the day before and avoid unsightly rashes. Pre-holiday, I usually wax to get really clear skin, and then I wait at least 24 hours before applying tan.
3. Moisturise areas that are particularly prone to dryness, concentrating on knees, ankles, feet, elbows and hands. If you're applying body lotion all over, do it at least an hour in advance to give it time to absorb and avoid it diluting or interfering with the tan. Simple, unperfumed formulas work best - try Aveeno for super soft skin or the NUXE body oil. If you don’t like the idea of waiting, think of all the ways you can multi task and use the time to catch up on emails or reading, or an episode of your fave TV show. Or you could give yourself a mani/pedi/facemask of course!
Almost ready, remember...
4. Always apply self tan in front of a full length mirror. Trust me, it's way easier to make sure application is even if you can see every angle in a mirror and check you haven't missed any bits.
5. Cover the floor. Self tan has a habit of splattering across the bathroom unexpectedly - been there, lost a new bath mat to it. (And that was after several bed sheets and cream bedroom carpet got ruined with splashes!)
6. Use a tanning mitt. Tangoed palms are not a good look and the product will spread much more quickly and evenly with a mitt.
7. Shake the bottle well before you begin (again half way through if it's a mousse). Apply product onto the mitt, not your body, and blend completely before moving on to the next section.
8. Apply lightly around dry areas such as knees, ankles, elbows and wrists, hands and feet, where remains of product left on the mitt should be sufficient.
9. Check backs of arms, elbows, knees and ankles in mirror to spot streaks or missed bits.
10. Using a clean mitt or cotton pad, gently buff skin around 'the edges': hairline, under jaw, wrists, ankles, fingers, toes, knees and elbows. This only takes a minute and helps avoid excess product gathering.
Which Self Tan?
This completely depends on your skin colour and whether you're a beginner or not. I find mousse formulas particularly easy to work with and always use self tan with a tint as I can see which bits are blended in - and check I haven't missed or over-tanned any bits! I always recommend gradual tanners for beginners - essentially a body lotion with a little self tan added in, these are the most foolproof to apply and add a subtle wash of colour.
Here are my tried & tested favourites...
My No1 self tan is He-Shi Dark Foaming Mousse (also available in Medium). This is so quick and easy to apply, gives beautifully even bronzed limbs and lasts around a week, fading evenly. Disclosure: I am a He-Shi ambassador, but it is my tan OF CHOICE and they asked me to come on board because I was already a fan, so I haven’t been paid nor persuaded to say this!
If I'm in a rush, I'll reach for He-Shi Rapid One Hour Liquid Tan, which does exactly what it says on the bottle. Both give an instant (wash off) tint that makes me look (and feel) better immediately.
While these can also be used on the face, I like a quick spritz of Tan-Tastic Ultimate Rapid Spray Tan across my face as it's just so quick and easy to use.
If I'm getting my legs out or wearing a revealing dress, I use Charlotte Tilbury Supermodel Body or Vita Liberata Body Blur for a skin enhancing glow and dust a little Too Faced Chocolate Gold Soleil Bronzer (made with read gold) to highlight cheekbones, shoulders and collar bone.