Fake tan tips

Whatever time of year it is, everyone looks and feels better if their skin has a natural-looking golden glow. Forget about Spain, unsafe tanning beds and unpredictable spray tans though, our handy how to fake tan guide courtesy of renowned tanning guru, James Read, will have you looking like you’ve just got back from holiday in no time at all.

Which fake tan is best?

Choosing the best fake tan for your skin tone is the biggest hurdle as we have all had that ‘tangoed’ effect thanks to the wrong shade or type of self tan. Here’s James’ easy-to-choose guide:

Fair skin: go for a gradual tan or mix fake tan with your daily moisturiser.

Medium skin: the options are endless, mousse, liquid, spray or gel based products.

Dark skin: opt for a lotion tan as these are available in the darkest shades.

Before fake tanning

Allow 48 hours after waxing and 24 hours after shaving before applying the self tan.

Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate – we can’t say it enough. James suggests using a body scrub 24 hours before fake tanning to remove any dead skin and creating a smooth base.

Moisturise your hands, feet, elbows, knees and any dry areas. (Use a thick moisturiser after you’ve fake tanned too, to prolong the results.)

How to fake tan

Layering is key for achieving a natural-looking tan. You want to treat your application like a real tan which builds up over time, rather than trying to instantly achieve that much-coveted golden brown shade.

By hand – applying your tan by hand can sometimes be the best way to apply it as it allows you to really work the product into your skin, but make sure you wash your hands as soon as you’ve finished. Avoid using latex gloves as you can over rub the product, which can cause a streaky finish.

How to fake tan your face – apply a small amount of moisturiser first, concentrating on your hairline to avoid seeing those tell-tale signs.

How to fake tan your feet – Work your product directly from your legs onto your feet and ankles, never apply directly onto your feet. Rub moisturiser in between your toes and on the sides of your feet to avoid that funny orange effect.

How to fake tan your back – The back is one of the hardest places to get right yourself. Either get someone else involved, or apply the fake tan to some cling-film and then rub over your back. Alternatively, there are fake tan sprays that provide a 360 degree angle.

How to fake tan your wrists and hands – These should be the last areas you fake tan. Use a wipe and clean around the wrist and hands, rub a small amount of moisturiser on each wrist and buff with a tanning mitt working it onto your hands. Don’t forget to rub some moisturiser to the sides and in between your fingers as remember these don’t tan in the sun. Although it’s impractical, avoid washing your hands for 8 hours after applying fake tan to prevent you having white hands and tanned arms!

Showering – It’s recommended that you leave your tan on for 8-12 hours before showering, but for the best results sleep with it on. For a very light golden glow, wash off after 4-5 hours.

If all this seems like too much hard work and you want to splurge for a special occasion, James Read has a spray tan service at Agua Spa at the Sanderson Hotel (0207 3001414). In the meantime, good luck and enjoy the finishing results!

Where to next?

Which fake tan is best?

Celeb fake tan diasters 

Save our skin: Stay beautiful this summer