Whether it’s for a party, a hot date, or you’re simply looking to cheer yourself up in the middle of winter, self-tanning is a great way to even out skin tone and add a little radiant glow from top to toe. The rule of thumb here ladies is to under-do rather than overdo; you want to have a subtle St Bart’s glow not look like you’ve been dipped in Ronseal. Thankfully we’ve learned from our mistakes so you don’t have to and by following our ten easy steps, you too can rock your D.I.Y tan all year round.
STEP 1: Select your product. An instant tan will wash away immediately; an express tan will develop in 1-3 hours whilst self-tans take up to 12 hours to develop and gradual tans deepen in colour day by day. Lotions and oils are more hydrating, whilst mousses and sprays offer the advantage of being fairly quick and easy to apply.
STEP 2: Hair removal should be carried out 48/24 hours prior to tanning (ensuring the skin has calmed down and any tiny cuts have healed).
STEP 3: Exfoliate, exfoliate exfoliate! This helps to remove dead skin cells and create a smooth and uniform surface on the skin for the tan to be applied to. Result? An even golden colour. Pay extra special attention to your elbows, knees and décolletage and avoid exfoliators that contain oils – they may be wonderful for locking in moisture but they’re not so good for tanning, as they leave behind a film on the skin.
STEP 4: Prior to application, make sure you’re not wearing deodorant, perfume or moisturiser on your body (with the exception of your hands, elbows, knees and feet). If you really feel you have to moisturise your face don’t use a facial oil – you’re trying to avoid leaving any residual product on your body that will prevent an even coverage.
STEP 5: Unless you’re using a spray, apply the product using an applicator mitt – pump the product directly onto the mitt and apply to the skin using sweeping motions, rather than circular motions – you’re looking to evenly distribute the product – starting at the ankles and working your way upwards, avoiding the knees and elbows, hands and feet.
TOP TIP: When covering the elbows and knees, mix a tiny bit of product with a small amount of moisturiser and spread lightly over the knee/elbow, working gently into the surrounding areas.
STEP 6: When applying to the hands and wrists, place a tiny amount of moisturiser and product directly to the back of one of your hands, then place the backs of your hands against each other and gently rub together, distributing any excess lotion; taking care not to get any lotion on your palms, work the product lightly into the webs of your fingers and down the finger sides, paying extra attention where the thumbs meet the palms and where the little fingers meet the palms, to avoid getting any harsh looking lines.
STEP 7: When applying to the feet and ankles – work carefully around the Achilles heel as this is a streaking hot spot! As with the hands, work the lotion into the gaps between the toes and along the sides of the toes.
STEP 8: When applying to your face, add a light layer of Vaseline to your hairline, eyebrows and lips to stop them from absorbing the tan and changing colour. Wipe your nails, palms and brows after application.
STEP 9: For best results, wait at least 5 to 7 hours (overnight, if possible) before showering, taking a bath, swimming or participating in vigorous exercise and avoid wearing tight clothing, shoes and socks – all of which can inhibit the development of your tan.
STEP 10: To keep your beautiful new glow from fading too quickly, moisturise (use oil-free moisturiser) regularly, avoid long and overly hot baths or showers, patting rather than rubbing your skin dry afterwards and avoid swimming pools or sea water.