Self-tanner, fake tan, faux glow or fake bake – whatever you call it, we’ve got the best tips and tricks for all skill levels all year round, from the tanaholics to the tantotallers.
Palmer’s Natural Bronze Body Lotion, $16.50; Tom Ford Soleil Blanc Shimmering Body Oil Rose Gold, $148; Lush Black Stockings Body Tint, $14.90; James Read Express Glow Mask Tan Face, $55.; Bondi Sands Glo Shimmer One Day Tan, $22.99.
For the die-hard tanners:
There’s not a lot you don’t already know about using self-tanner, let’s be honest, but you might still pick up a tip! Here are our favourite fake tan hacks to help take your faux glow to the next level:
- Always shave or wax and exfoliate at least 24 hours before self-tanning. “Removing excess dead skin will help your tan last longer,” says Suyin Ginn from Spring Spa. “Spray tan actually tans the dead skin cells, so the less there is the longer it will last.”
- Make sure you scrub with a non-oily exfoliator to remove dead skin cells and create a smooth canvas for your tan. If you use a product with an oil base, it will likely leave residue on your skin and leave you with an uneven finish. “This is the one time when coconut oil is not good for you!” says Little Honey founder Kate Walsh.
- Avoid showering or shaving right before you self-tan, says Suyin. “Showering can open pores and if the pores don’t get a chance to close, you can be left with small tan spots across the skin. Showering just before a tan can also unbalance the pH of the skin.” If you have open pores and like to tan your face, Kate recommends running an ice cube over those areas first to tighten the skin and prevent the tan from settling.
- If you’re nervous about tanning your face, Kate recommends mixing one pump of your fake tan with your night moisturiser for a soft golden glow.
- A tanning mitt is an essential tool for achieving a flawless self-tan, and it helps prevent tell-tale brown palms, too. When your mitt needs a clean, simply take it into the shower with you and wash it with your shampoo, then leave it on your towel rail to dry.
- For self-tanning mishaps on small areas such as knuckles, Kate’s trick is to apply a small amount of whitening toothpaste and rub with a warm, damp flannel until you’ve buffed off what you need to. For larger areas, douse a damp flannel with lemon juice, microwave for two minutes, then rub the affected area – checking the flannel is not scolding hot first, of course!
Frank Body Green Tease Scrub, $22; Little Honey The Boyfriend Glove XL Tan Glove, $19.99; St Tropez Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Mousse, $59.95.
For the tan-curious:
Whether you’re pale-skinned and apprehensive about how far to go with your colour, or looking for a more gradual approach to achieving a sun-kissed glow, we recommend first testing your self-tanner product on an area that you don’t normally expose, such as your stomach or upper thigh.
This will give you an indication of what the result will be before you commit to a full body bronze up. If every shade you try is just too dark, opt for a gradual self-tanner instead. That way you can build the colour up slowly until you reach your desired shade.
Be sure to exfoliate and wax or shave 24 hours before your first slef-tanner application – as you would with a non-gradual tan – so that you’re starting off with the smoothest canvas possible. Then apply your gradual tan once a day in lieu of your regular body moisturiser for a hydration hit and touch of bronze all in the one bottle.
Elizabeth Arden Dare to Bare Body Bronzing Oil, $69; Bondi Sands Liquid Gold Self Tanning Foam, $27.99; Coola Organic Sunless Tan Firming Lotion, $85; Little Honey Flawless Bronzing Mist, $45.
For the no-time-to tanners:
If you just want to be tanned for the night without the admin, you’re in luck. Be it a pale-skin emergency, a niggly bruise that needs camouflaging or you just want a bit of get up and glow, a wash-off tan is your answer. Forget all that prep work, an instant tan works in seconds to give you a hint of bronze and even out your skin tone, making veins, bruises and discolouration much less obvious. Consider it make-up for your body!
The new generation of wash-off products, such as Bondi Sands Glo One Day Tan, are formulated to tint your skin without leaving residue – meaning they’re unlikely to transfer the colour onto your clothing.
To be on the safe side, it does pay to wait about 10 minutes to let your self-tanner dry completely before getting dressed. Once the party’s over, simply wash off with soap and water and you’ll be back to your old self again.
If you want to go even more subtle still – or enhance a naturally olive or dark complexion – add some shimmer and shine by applying a bronzing body oil to the high points of your body, such as the tops of your shoulders, clavicle bones, shins and any other areas where the light would naturally hit.