It’s finally Spring, the weather has started warming up and here at the HQ office we’re ready to ditch the coats and cardigans and embrace the summer trends of floaty sleeves and floral dresses. Unfortunately our sun-deprived skin is looking a little dull and lack-lustre, so it’s time to give it a boost with some fake tan.
Lots of ladies (and gents) can feel intimidated by fake tan, whether it’s the overwhelming number of options available or the fear of looking like an oompa-loompa. So we’re here to help with a full step-by-step guide on how to apply your self tan, including lots of useful fake tan tips, so you can get that gorgeous glow without the stress!
1. Before – EXFOLIATE!
The first step in any fake tan routine is always exfoliate! It’s important to have a smooth, clean canvas so your tanning product will adhere evenly to the skin. Use a body scrub like Fake Bake Passion Fruit Body Polish (£12.50) or REN Guerande Salt Exfoliating Body Balm (£20.00), or even an exfoliating glove, St Tropez Black Buffing Mitt (£3.57), when you’re in the bath or shower. Make sure you scrub your whole body, but pay particular attention to any rough areas like elbows and knees. When you rinse, your skin should be left feeling super smooth and silky. If you want to shave or wax, do this after exfoliating as the hairs will be lifted away from the skin and will be easier to remove.
Ideally exfoliation and hair removal should be done 24 hours before you want to apply the self-tan, but if that’s not possible try to leave as much time as you can. It’s very important that you DO NOT use any moisturiser after exfoliating as this will create a barrier over the skin and prevent the fake tan from working properly.
2. Application – BOTTOM TO TOP!
Before you start, make sure you have everything you need. It’s a good idea to apply fake tan in the bathroom where you can easily clean up any spillages. Tie your hair up so it’s off your shoulders and, if you need to; use a headband to keep it off your face. Next take a small amount of oil-free moisturiser, such as Fake Bake Oil Free Moisturiser (£9.75), and apply it to any areas that are dry e.g. elbows, knees, knuckles, cuticles, ankles, heels; and around the hair line and eyebrows.
Now you’re ready to tan! Our most popular self-tanners are St Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse (£30.64), Vita Liberata Extra Rich Tinted Tan Lotion – Dark (£22.50), and Little White Lie Tanning Spray (£15.00) but we also have plenty more to choose from. Always use fake tan gloves or a tanning mitt like this one: Xen-Tan Luxury Tanning Mitt (£4.00), do not try to rub the lotion or mousse in with your bare hands as this will certainly lead to orange palms! If you want to tan your whole body start at your feet and work upwards. Dispense a small amount of fake tan onto the tanning mitt and begin rubbing into the skin in light, circular motions. Do small sections at a time i.e. put some mousse/lotion on the mitt and apply to your calf, go back for some more and focus on and around your knee, then get some more and work on the front of your thigh etc. etc. Be careful not to go over the same spot too many times but make sure you cover everything. Another top tip is to apply your self-tan in front of a large mirror so you can spot if you’ve missed any bits! Areas like your back are tricky; the easiest solution is to get help from a (very close) friend!
Once you’ve covered your whole body you can focus on your face. There are a number of facial tanners designed specifically to be used on your face such as Xen-Tan Face Tanner (£16.99) and Elemis Total Glow Bronzing Moisturiser (£29.50). When you’re completely finished, and you’ve double-checked for any white spots, stand still for a few of minutes and allow the fake tan to dry. Usually it’s then ok to get dressed but go for loose comfy clothes or pyjamas that you don’t mind getting a little dirty. We sell a wide range of fake tan products on HQHair, so please read the individual instructions and follow them carefully. Some self-tanners develop over a couple of hours like Fake Bake 60 Minute Tan (£22.46) but others take longer so make sure you leave enough time. It’s a good idea to apply your fake tan in the evening and then go to bed and let the colour develop, and in the morning you can shower and rinse off any excess product.
3. After – MOISTURISE!
Now that you’ve achieved a beautiful, streak-free tan, you’ll want to look after it so it lasts as long as possible. The lasting power of a self-tanner will always vary from product to product and person to person but there are a couple of things you can do to maintain the colour. Most important is moisturising. Remember to use a moisturiser at least once a day, there are some specially designed for fake-tan maintenance e.g. Fake Bake Tan Enhancing Lotion (£9.74) and L’Oreal Sublime Bronze Firming Body Lotion Tan Optimiser (£6.29). A few days after application you can also start exfoliating and this will help the tan to fade evenly. If you want to keep the golden glow going, it’s usually advised that you reapply every 3-5 days.
If you don’t have enough time for a full fake tanning session, or if you’re still nervous, there are some other options. Instant or Wash-Off tanners like Vita Liberata 24ct Tinted Wash Off Tan Lotion (£14.96) and Garnier Ambre Solaire Wash Off Matte Tan (£4.19) can be used like makeup, apply them before an occasion and wash them off at the end of the day – ideal for a special event or a night out. There’s also Gradual Tanners e.g. St Tropez Gradual Tan Everyday Body (£14.30) and Xen-Tan Transform Luxe (£22.50) – these can be applied daily like a normal body lotion but they also contain a small amount of tanning ingredients meaning you can build up a light tan over a few days. They won’t give you the same effect as a traditional fake tan product but they are good for taking the edge off dull skin and giving a healthy glow, and you can always give them a top up with a good all-over bronzer like the new NARS Tahiti Laguna Bronzer (£39.00).
All the products mentioned in this post are available to buy now from HQHair.com. Let us know in the comments if you have any more questions about self-tanning or if you have any extra fake tan tips that we’ve missed! We’d love to hear from you! Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Instagram @hqhair to stay up to date with all the latest news and deals on your favourite beauty products.