How to Apply Fake Tan

It’s a fact. Most people feel better when their skin has a summer glow. A subtle bronzing of the skin makes us feel like we’ve been on holidays, which instantly improves our mood.

Dark, unnatural fake tans are a thing of the past. The new trend is to promote a subtle glow that enhances our natural colouring, rather than masking it.

Achieving this look can take a little trial and error, so we’ve decided to share our knowledge on how to choose and apply the best self tan for you. We’ll offer product recommendations and application tips to help you achieve a beautiful sunkissed glow that looks natural and wears well.

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Enhance your natural skin tone and give yourself a subtle golden glow

Choose Your Self Tanner

OIL | Bondi Sands Liquid Gold Self Tanning Oil

This oil is great for dry skin and provides a foolproof glow to give your skin a lift. Hot tip for a natural bronze – only leave on for an hour and wash off. This stops the product from grabbing onto dry skin areas. Wears beautifully and gradually disappears without going patchy.

LOTION | Clarins Self-Tanning Milky Lotion

Another great hydrating option for dry skin. Easy to apply and smells lovely. Can be reapplied to deepen or prolong tan without needing to scrub off old tan.

MOUSSE | Coco & Eve Sunny Honey Bali Bronzing Foam

For a deeper tan, try a mousse or foam formula. You can choose your depth of tan, with the guide colour ensuring an easy and even application. Some mousse formulas can dry out the skin so be sure to keep your body hydrated with a rich moisturiser in between applications.

MIST | St Tropez Self Tan Purity Vitamins Bronzing Water Body Mist

Lovely to apply in hot weather, a tanning mist is a lightweight option that hydrates dry skin. Great for tanning or topping up your colour, the St Tropez has a gorgeous, fresh fragrance that doesn’t smell like fake tan.

GRADUAL TAN | Natio Sun-Kissed Glow Gradual Tan Lotion

Gradual self tan moisturiser lotion is a great way to start using fake tan. Choose a light lotion that slowly develops so you can build your colour gradually.

FACE | Le Tan Uber Glow Face Tan Serum drops

Tanning drops allow you to customise you tan for your face and decolletage. Simply mix the drops with your moisturiser to achieve a golden glow.

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Prep your skin properly for an even and natural result

Prep Your Skin

Shave the day before tanning

To keep your skin hydrated, use a body oil to shave with. Try Thankyou Botanical Geranium & Rosewood Bath & Body Oil as a shaving oil the day before applying your tan.

Exfoliate your skin

Use a grainy scrub with salt, sugar, or coffee to exfoliate the skin. Ideally exfoliate the day before, but if you’re short on time, try a scrub like Sukin Energising Body Scrub with Coffee & Coconut that doesn’t leave a residue on the skin.

Remove old tan

If your body scrub doesn’t get rid of old tan residue, try an exfoliating mitt like My Glow 2 Fake Tan Remover Glove. This magic mitt removes all traces of old tan, leaving the skin perfectly prepped for your tanning product.

Moisturise dry skin, face, hands, and feet

Use a light moisturiser, nothing too rich, to protect dry skin from absorbing too much tanning product. Knees, elbows, hands, feet, and face need to be moisturised before applying your fake tan.

Don’t wear deodorant

Other than moisturiser for your dry skin areas, keep your body free of all other products. Deodorant will block the tan and create an uneven application.

Applying Tan

Self tanning mitt

A self tanning mitt or glove is a must! Not only do they keep your hands clean, but they give you an even tan application, reducing the likelihood of streaks and patches.

Back applicator

If you’re not flexible enough to reach all the areas on your back, try the Bondi Sands Back Applicator. You can also put your mitt on a wooden spoon to reach those tricky spots.

Count your pumps

You don’t want to end up with one leg darker than the other, so be sure to count your pumps when doing each body part.

Double coat

Once you’ve applied your tan all over, you can go back and deepen any areas where you want more colour. I always do a double coat on my belly.

Wash hands thoroughly throughout

Even if you wear a mitt, be sure to keep your hands washed throughout your application and at the end. To tan the back of your hands, apply moisturiser and sweep the back of your hands with the last little bit of tan on your mitt.

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Maintain and enhance your tan with a highlighting bronzing lotion

Maintain Your Tan

Prolong the life of your tan by keeping your skin hydrated. You can use a gradual tan to keep the colour topped up or a bronzing cream to highlight your golden glow. Try Sportsgirl Body Glow for a natural looking tan enhancer. 


For more great reads, check out our advice on how to pack your beach bag with all the essentials for a fabulous day at the beach. 

March 11, 2022