Five steps to faking the perfect tan

There’s no getting away from it, tanned skin makes us look and feel healthier and leaner – it also cleverly conceals cellulite! But despite the health warnings, our love affair with a golden glow is far from over. Follow these simple steps from our beauty editor Justine Brennan for a perfect holiday tan, without any of the risks!


  1. Exfoliate

Perhaps the most important step in your fake tan regime. Without thorough exfoliation, the chances are your fake tan will stick to any dry areas on your body, particularly elbows, knees and ankles. Avoid this by investing in a decent granulated body scrub, and exfoliation brush or gloves and cleansing your body of dead skin cells 24 hours before you apply fake tan. 

  1. Hydrate your skin

In order to apply an even, non-streak tan your skin needs to be hydrated. Dehydrated skin leads to dry patches that will hinder your chances of an evenly applied tan. Apply a good, preferably non-oil-based moisturiser 24 hours before tanning for best results.

  1. Use a tanning mitt

To achieve perfectly even, full coverage, a tanning mitt is essential. Apply the cream or mousse on to the mitt and then sweep it over the skin in a circular motion – you’ll save yourself from any embarrassing ‘streaky bacon’ tan lines by doing so!

  1. Don’t overdo it on hands and feet

Avoid the classic fake-tanning disaster by taking it easy when applying tan to your hands and feet. Rather than applying your tan directly to these areas, use the excess tan that’s left over from your body. That way, you’ll save on tan and ensure there’s just the right amount to keep it looking natural. Remember to only apply tan to the backs of the hands and to tread carefully around knuckles, ankles and heels. 


Now you’ve got yourself a perfect tan, you’ll want to make it last for as long as possible! Do this by keeping your skin hydrated – that means drinking lots of water and, above all, moisturising after you shower and before you go to bed in the evening. By doing this, you’ll prolong your tan by as much as four days and won’t get the ‘cracking’ effect you see when tan starts to crumble away.

TOP TIP: Instead of topping up your fake tan, avoid a build-up of product by simply adding a teaspoon of tan to your daily moisturiser for a quick and easy top up.

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