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Five Fuss-Free Steps To A Real-Looking (Fake) Tan

Five Fuss-Free Steps To A Very Real-Looking (Fake) Tan 

Usually a gorgeous sun-kissed shade of bronze - whether it’s a fake bake or a real tan - hints at a bod that’s just spent a glorious fortnight in the Med. This summer, with jollys mostly off the cards, we know nobody will spot your bottle-fresh tan and be tricked into thinking you’ve just stepped off the plane back from Mykonos, but that’s no reason not to indulge in a little faux glow. In fact, with foreign holidays on the back burner for most of us, and a general consensus that a tan - whether that’s lightly sun-blushed or deeply bronzed - leaves us looking healthier and feeling more confident, there’s no better time than now to get au fait with a tanning routine that’s easy but effective, guaranteeing smooth results and a telltale-free finish, so we’ve probed tanning pro’s for advice, on your behalf. Here are their insider tips for nailing a streak-free, gorgeously deep, realistic colour, every single time.


1. Get rid of all traces of fake tan, make-up and dead skin cells before you begin

These do not make for the smoothest of canvases, which means that your new tan will be patchy - the clearest giveaway of a tan that’s not real. Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate- by whatever means you choose, but we really love scrubs (especially Shea Bliss Skin Strawberry Scrub, which we love so much we’ve included it in your June Roccabox). Just don’t use one with an oil-base, unless you plan on leaving at least 24 hours before applying your tan. If you can’t get rid of old streaks of tan then a couple of days beforehand, try using baby oil and an exfoliating mitt on damp skin - the oil breaks down the tan, while the mitt buffs it away. Alternatively Founder of Isle of Paradise Jule Von Hep, offers this clever tip: "Go swimming, the chlorine will soften the tan, then take some exfoliating gloves and scrub in the shower".


2. Make sure skin is totally clean - and that means free from deodorant and perfume too

When applying false tan, skin should be completely clean. Body oils, moisturisers, body creams - they’re all total no-go’s straight before you apply your tan. Also perfume and deodorant can really impact on the final results so make sure you don’t use these either. Even just a hint of deodorant or perfume can be disastrous: in fact deodorant will go green as it reacts with the tan on contact. It won’t stay green, but still, it’s not a good look. During your pre-tan shower try to be brave and go for a cold rinse- this blast of cold encourages pores all over the skin to close, so your tan goes on seamlessly.


3. Use a different application method for each body part 

Work upwards from the bottom of your body, starting with your legs, using a mitt which will gently and evenly buff colour into your skin, so there’s no need for you to rub in. The mitt will also protect your palms from unwanted colour - although wear a pair of latex gloves under the mitt for added protection, as sometimes colour can seep through. Our favorite tip is to colour hands and feet using the excess left on the mitt- rather than a fresh pump of colour- as these areas need less product. We also like to wash our hands just a couple of hours after applying colour - while leaving the rest of the body alone. This tends to be as long as your hands need in order to pick up the colour from the tan. For facial use, we recommend mixing 2 or 3 drops of your tan (ideally one that’s designed for facial use) with your usual moisturizer. The Tan Luxe Illuminating Self Tan Drops does this job brilliantly. 


4. Drying time is essential, so be patient

Even quick-dry formulas take time to ‘set’ so avoid clothes for an hour after applying and even then ditch anything that risks rubbing your tan away (bra’s are the enemy) during this time. Don’t shower, bathe or get wet (if you’re a daytime tanner then stay home if it’s raining and if you have little kids, make sure you time their bathtime before you apply your tan). We’ve been using the delicious St.Tropez Tan x Ashley Graham Limited Edition Ultimate Glow Kit and we time when to shower off the tan depending on the colour we’re aiming for - we shower after 1 hour if we want just a hint of glow or we leave it up to 8 hours (and often overnight) for a deeper bronze. Ashley wears hers for 8 hours, apparently. 


5. Focus on hydrating the colour - but not with oil

Hydration is key to this, so once your colour has taken moisturise your bod once, if not twice a day, with a rich nourishing body butter, to keep the colour lasting at least a week. Try to avoid oils though - these tend to pull the colour away. If you want to go a shade deeper once colour is established, now is the time to apply a second coat. For a longer-lasting tan avoid chlorine (see tip one) and try not to shave your legs.

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