A self tan is the ultimate tool in the beauty-lover’s arsenal: done correctly, it gives a healthy glow, lengthens limbs and provides the perfect flawless base to any beauty look. Like anything, there are tips and tricks to getting a gorgeous sun-kissed glow – which we’ve helpfully explained below!
Do everything else first
Tan from a bottle is usually deployed on a night when you’ve got something to celebrate, which means you’ll be indulging in the full line-up of beauty treatments. Be organised, and make sure all shaving, waxing and mani/pedi work is done before you apply self-tanner – otherwise you risk compromising your colour.
Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate
Life leaves you with natural dry patches around the elbows and knees in particular, and unless you pay attention to those areas, you will end up with strange darkened patches after self tanning. The easiest way to do it? Relax in the tub for a solid half hour to make sure your skin is softened and supple, then arm yourself with an exfoliator glove and get busy.
We totally understand that you usually reach for the moisturiser after a vigorous exfoliation session – so do we – but that’s best avoided if you’re going to be tanning afterwards. Oily products in particular will create a barrier on the skin – so give yourself a good rub down with your towel (you need to be completely dry for best results), and stop there.
Pick the right product
Head into any drugstore, and you’ll find a myriad of products all claiming to give you the best glow around. The best way to pick the right one is to shop for your desired look. Whether you want a long-lasting tan that dries quickly on the skin, or an instant sun-kissed glow, SunShimmer has the right tan for you.
Applying your self tan with your fingers can often lead to streaky results. Use a mitt and you’ll be able to ensure a smooth, even glow in a shorter time.
As with most techniques in the beauty world, your tan will look best if you take a bit of time with it. Thin, carefully-applied layers of tan will build up to a much more natural glow if you apply them one by one, and let the colour dry in between. If you’re prepping for a truly special occasion, it’s even worth starting a couple of days ahead. That way, you’ll be able to see the colour develop, and get exactly the shade you want.
If you’re going on holiday, you’ll want your glow to be seamless the whole time – so if you’re starting to see some fade, apply some SunShimmer Instant Tan + Gradual Glow, £6.99. It washes off easily, so you can layer on as much colour as you like, then try a different look the next day – but the unique formula also ensures you’re building a gradual, lasting glow as you’re using it. The best of both worlds!
Apply moisturiser to your wrists before applying to ensure a subtle fade of colour into your hands. Wipe the backs of your hands on your lower back when you’re finished – it’ll give your hands a touch of colour without looking too dramatic. Take cold showers – hot steamy ones will only encourage the self tan to break down faster. All of these little tips and tricks will help to make your tan last longer and look better.
There you go – ready for the garden party, the poolside holiday, the picnic in the park, or all of the above. Don’t forget your sunscreen! And for more tips on finding the perfect tanning product for your bronzing needs, click here for our guide.