Fake it ‘til you make it.
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Ah, June 2nd – officially day two of winter, unofficially day two of pale skin. Despite being rugged up in clothes from head to toe, the winter months are still a great time to give yourself a little faux sunshine. Not only will you a) master the technique before summer rolls around but b) you’ll feel a little bit more alive in the process.
(Disclaimer: Now, we’re by no means saying that you need to be tanned to look healthy. But if it makes you feel better about yourself to have a tan than by all means, don’t let the jumpers and scarves stop you.)
Here, we enlisted the help of St Tropez Tanning Expert, Jayne Cooper, to walk us through her tips and tricks for the perfect tan application. After all, the only thing worse than winter skin, is a patchy fake tan.
Ever heard of the saying ‘by failing to prepare, you’re preparing to fail’? Well, not only can this be applied to the professional and educational aspects of our lives, but it can also be applied to our fake tanning routines.
“I recommend you exfoliate the skin 24 hours before tanning to ensure you have a good, even base,” says Cooper. “Any hair removal should also be carried out the day before tan application to ensure a smooth surface.”
This would also be the perfect time to remove any old tan that may still be lingering on the skin. For this, Cooper recommends opting for a tan remover product (think the St Tropez Tan Removing Mousse) and an exfoliating mitt for the more stubborn areas.
On the day of, Cooper suggests a quick shower beforehand to cleanse the skin and ensure all oils and dirt has been removed. Finish this shower with 30 seconds of cold water to close the pores (this will prevent those tiny little brown dots from appearing on your legs). Then, you’re ready to apply – just make sure you don’t reach for any oils, deodorants or aftershaves beforehand as they’ll disrupt the colour development process.
A true art form, applying self-tanner can be a complex game. Not only is there the end result in mind but you’re also trying to avoid orange hands, ensure you don’t miss anywhere and, of course, praying that no one walks into the bathroom mid-application (never a pretty sight).
Cooper’s approach to application is surprisingly simple, she just wants you to take your time with it. “I always apply tan to my face first, then work up to my body, starting with my legs, abdomen, chest, back and then arms,” she says. “Applying tan in an upwards direction with a sweeping motion will ensure a smoothing effect on the skin.”
Cooper also stresses the importance of using a mitt for an even, streak-free tan. No matter the formulation (gel, cream, mousse, water), a mitt will prevent the product from over developing on your hands and will ensure seamless application.
What good is it to apply a streak-free faux tan only to have it become patchy in three days? Making fake tan last often seems like a strenuous task, requiring a multitude of specially designed products. But this is false.
“To maintain and prolong your tan after it’s developed, moisturise daily to keep the skin hydrated and gently exfoliate every two to three days for an even fade,” says Cooper.
Yep – you read that right. Exfoliate. Every two to three days. As surprising as that may sound, doing so will ensure any flaky skin (which is usually gripping on to tan a little harder than we’d like) is removed, leaving behind evenly bronzed limbs.
The cherry on top of your perfectly bronzed winter skin, fake tan for your face is the perfect way to get a low maintenance glow. It can even cut down on the amount of makeup you wear due to its ability to even skin tone in one fell swoop.
Now, you may be wondering: ‘is a fake tan for your face really necessary?’ And the short answer is yes. “Face tans are specifically designed formulations to be used on the face and I would always recommend these. They’re lightweight, non-pore blocking and have additional skin benefits,” says Cooper.
These are also great as they have a slightly lighter development colour for a more natural finish (no more orange tinge) and also prevent any breakouts or clogged pores that can result from applying body tans to your delicate face.
Do you have a fake tan tip that’s changed your life? Don’ t keep it a secret! Leave it in the comments below.