Fake tan; it's one of those things you either set aside an entire evening so you can meticulously apply it, or just some slap some on before bed and hope for the best. In the past I've fallen into the latter category but I've now learnt that the right preparation and maintenance can make all the difference to your tan. So here's how I prepare, apply and look after my self tan:
Between 24 and 48 hours before applying fake tan I will exfoliate in the shower with a body scrub and exfoliating gloves. My current favourite body scrubs are coffee scrubs, such as Scrublove*, as they are really effective, smell incredible and most are infused with essential oils too so they will moisturise your skin at the same time. After exfoliating I then shave my legs. I'm not too fussy about hair removal and don't faff around with waxing or hair removal creams so shaving is the easiest option for me. I'm currently using the Dorco Eve Razor (Dorco run a subscription service so you can have replacement blades delivered to your door and will never be without a blunt razor!) and I also love razors with built-in shaving gel to save time. When fake tanning it is important to wait at least 24 hours after shaving/exfoliating and ensuring your skin doesn't have any moisturiser on it or your tan will slide off.
There are SO many fake tans on the market and I have tried pretty much all of them as I love switching between them depending on how dark I want my tan. I always apply my fake tan with a tanning mitt and usually pick these up pretty cheap from Boots or Superdrug. For a quick and easy application, my current favourite is Laurens Way Cucumber and Watermelon Bronzing Oil*. This ticks all the right boxes for me; it is an oil rather than a lotion so provides a glow rather than a full-on tan, dries quickly and it contains aloe vera so keeps the skin smooth. It smells sweet and fresh and doesn't have that biscuitty fake tan smell.
If you are looking for a more intense tan, Fake Bake Flawless Coconut Tanning Serum is ideal! It is jam-packed with skin-loving ingredients (including everyone's favourite - coconut oil!) so is really moisturising and nourishing. It is a serum formula so feels really luxurious on the skin and is a nice, deep brown colour.
Bondi Sands is also another of my current favourites and you can read my review of it here. For the face, my favorite tanners are Xen-Tan Face Tanner, for an instant glow, or Clarins Liquid Bronze, to build a gradual tan daily. While not strictly a self tanner, Cocoa Brown Golden Goddess Shimmering Dry Body Oil is an illuminating oil that shows off a tan and helps skin glow - perfect for nights out!
The "Hard to Reach" Bits
Confession; unless there was someone around to tan my back I used to just leave that bit and have the front half of my body tanned and the back half pale! Then I recently discovered Bronzie* and cannot praise whoever came up with the idea enough! Bronzie is essentially like a pair of oven gloves, made from the same material as a tanning mitt, so you slide your hands into the gloves then apply fake tan to the strip in between and rub it across your back! Because the material is stretchy it bends around your body and goes round the curves of your spine and gets in the hard to reach areas - genious! Plus you can use the hand mitts to apply tan to the rest of your body so don't need two separate applicators.
I have tried using a back tanning mitt on an extendable applicator before but it was a nightmare and went so streaky. Bronzie made my tanning so much quicker and easier!
Keeping skin moisturised after fake tanning is essential to stop the colour going dry and peely. As a daily moisturiser I love Sanctuary 5 Day Moisture Creamy Oil and I also like to apply Elemis Body Oil to my skin after a bath. For speed and convenience I also love spray on moisturisers, such as Palmers Cocoa Butter or Vaseline. For especially dry areas, like knees and elbows, Weleda Skin Food* is a must-have! This little magic tube is the ultimate moisturiser for all areas of the body and will heal dry and cracked skin in seconds.
My fake tan routine has now become second nature to me! Have you tried any of these products? What are your favourite self tans? Let me know in the comments!
*This post contains PR samples