Ah, fake tan. Such a bitter-sweet, love-hate step in every woman's beauty regime. On the one hand, feeling bronzed is such a confidence-booster and feels like an improvement to any outfit. On the other, the preparation and application process is time consuming, messy and something we all dread. So, how can we make the whole ordeal easier?
Applying fake tan without proper preparation is a no-go and a recipe for disaster. Failure to exfoliate ahead of tanning will cause product to collect on dry patches of skin and appear streaky.
"The best preparation is to exfoliate your skin before spray tanning, it helps to remove any dead skin and get rid of any excess oil from the skin surface. Your spray tan will work into the skin easier." says Celebrity Makeup Artist & Beauty Expert, KSAVI. Don't do this in a rush before applying your tan though - you'll need to do this at least a few days before, to avoid the fake tan collecting in open pores. You should also avoid moisturising the skin on the day of your spray tan, as this will stop the tan from soaking into the skin
Knowing when you've applied enough product can be tricky, as most tans develop overnight and so, on first appearance, it can seem like we haven't applied enough, resulting in in streakiness and uneven application. To help with this, KSAVI advises to "layer the self-tanning product in 30-minute intervals; apply a layer, wait 30 minutes, and then apply a second layer." This can be pretty time consuming, so only repeat the process up to a third layer - this application process will even out your tan and build up nicely, giving a natural, sun kissed finish.
Tanning mitts can be annoyingly expensive and often seem useless after one session, as excess tan left on the mitt can cause streaks on the next application. Using a new, clean mitt each time "takes away any product build up" meaning there's "no need to worry about uneven application or mould". With tanning mitts usually costing between £3 and £5 and with most of us applying a fresh tan each week, this can get pretty costly, so what about reusing them? "As long as it's washed in warm water with hand wash soap after each use, your mitt should be fine for up to six months. However, if you use the mitt every few weeks, change it every six months minimum," KSAVI advises. When applying, the mitt should be used in sweeping circular motions to ensure even coverage.
Following application, most fake tans say that you should wait until the tan is touch-dry before getting dressed. KSAVI says that "only showering after 6-8 hours is the best." She also advises to avoid immediate use of a swimming pool for at least after 12 hours, as chlorinated water will fade the tan. It's also essential that you lock in moisture by applying a moisturiser daily, to avoid the tan gathering on dry skin and appearing patchy.
"If you need to shave very soon after tanning, get an electric bikini trimmer and just remove the surface of the hair growth" she adds.
Fake tanning the face - yay or nay?
Fake tanning the face can be particularly risky and is not something I ever dare to try. Natural blemishes, skin texture and pigmentation such as freckles make it very difficult to achieve an even, natural look. However, adding a little moisturiser into your tanning product can help you to create a less harsh, softer look.
Additional tips & tricks
For a smoother finish, "use an ice pack to seal the pores in your skin before applying a self-tan or simply have a burst of a cold shower before tanning," says KSAVI. This will help to seal the pores and eliminate the appearance of open pores, which often manifest as specks over your tan.