Today I’m sharing with you my tanning secrets to becoming an instant bronzed goddess, straight from the bottle (the safe way)!
Once upon a time I used to lay out in the sun and tan myself golden (and crispy) and while I would LOVE to have a natural tan, it’s not sun safe and to be honest I don’t have enough time anymore even I wanted to! I naturally have an olive complexion, so suit a darker tan, even though my base tan is non existent and therefore I’m VERY ghostly without helo!
When I was still doing beauty therapy I had a spray tan machine and had trained the hubby to tan me up, but when I retired from clients I sold it and now rely on self-tan. Which to be honest, if you invest in the right product and follow the right steps is just as good!
My favourite retail tan has always been St Tropez as it has a green base (which is the best all rounder base that won’t have you looking like an Oompa Loompa! Choose violet based tans if you have warmer skin tone and are already tanned, or ash based tans if you are cooler skin toned and fairer. Or stick with green based which won’t steer you wrong if you’re unsure!). Because I am naturally prone to tanned skin (regardless of my ghost factor these days) I choose to use the Dark as I can leave it on for 2 hours and get a ‘natural glow’ or several for a nice, deep tan for special occasions. I LOVE the mousse (it also comes in a lotion, mist and oil) as it is tinted so you can see where you’ve been and is nice and light, drying quickly and not smudging.
I use the Jbronze Luxe Application Mitt as it gives the MOST even and beautiful tan PLUS it’s double sided… which means the mitt won’t move when applying and leave build up on the side of your hands. It’s a gorgeous velvet fabric that feels amazing and lasts longer than the foam mitts. And don’t forget to rinse after each use!
For everyday wear, or to extend the life of your self tan, gradual tans are fabulous. I have two, both Bondi Sands (St Tropez also do gradual tans, but I picked up the Bondi Sands on sale and they’ve been great), a foam and an oil. I would say that they work exactly the same it will just be a preference of the ‘feel’ of the tan that will sway you. The mousse absorbs completely into the skin leaving no residue, so I like to use it at night, while the oil obviously leaves a moisturising film on the skin so is great to use during the day.
And for on the days that you haven’t had time to tan, or can’t tan for whatever reason there are great instant tans now available. I personally use the Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs in the cream formula (less mess and wastage than the spray) and found it so great I haven’t experimented with other brands. I use it for when I want to wear a dress and my pasty white legs just won’t do! Smudge and water resistant, it takes a good scrub with body wash in the shower to come off so I don’t need to worry about it rubbing off on furniture or clothing.
But what about removal? I never had much of a problem removing tan build up until this pregnancy, a good exfoliation would remove nearly all the tan in just one shower. But this pregnancy I’m basically a husk I’m so dehydrated, and I’ve found it almost impossible to remove all tan (even though I only tan once every 2-3 weeks) and have become an EXPERT and self tan removal! Recently Bondi Sands released my now holy grail of tan removal – a foam self tan eraser that you rub on and wait for at least 5 minutes then lightly exfoliate in the shower. IT. IS. AMAZING. Because I like a dark tan and my skin holds onto the tan, I leave the foam on for about 30 minutes (or a full episode of Real Housewives, what a great excuse to HAVE to watch a show ha ha!) then shower and exfoliate using the original TAN OFF Mitt. Back to sparkly white in no time!
How do you choose which colour tan? I’ve already spoken about the base colour, however most tans will come in a fair, classic (or medium), dark and even a deep. How do you know which one is best for you? Traditionally you were told to choose the formulation that was similar to your skin type, so if you were fair you’d choose the fair or medium. I don’t agree though, as it will depend on the depth of colour YOU personally want to achieve. With the right product you won’t turn into a Cheezel (base colour people base colour!) so you don’t have to worry about going ‘too dark’. Someone who is fair may love to have a good depth of tan and choose a dark or deep tan, and someone who is already tanned but just wants to freshen their tan or add a little extra depth may choose the classic. It’s all down to preference!
How do I achieve a flawless home tan? PREPARATION! To avoid streaks and patches you need to make sure your skin is in great condition. The drier your skin, the patchier the tan, no matter the product or mitt that you use. Moisturising daily is a fantastic habit to get into not just for skin health, but your skin will always be lovely and hydrated for when you want to tan AND your tan will last longer! Yes moisturising daily isn’t just for BEFORE your tan, it’s necessary AFTER you tan as well! Exfoliating regularly to remove build up of dead skin cells (particularly on drier areas such as elbows, knees, hands and feet) is also very important. The day BEFORE you tan make sure you do an nice big exfoliation on yourself, focusing on your drier areas. AND do any hair removal at least 24 hours prior, as shaving and waxing leave the follicle open which may lead to tan in the follicle and polka dots on your legs especially.
Before you tan, use a light moisturising lotion on your hands, feet, knees and elbows. This will help prevent the tan from grabbing to the drier skin and going darker. Always use a tanning mitt and start with a small amount of tanning product. You can always add more as needed and gently apply in a smooth circular motion for tanning lotions and a long strokes for tanning mousses. Leave the drier areas to last and only use the residue that is left on the mitt.
How do I get my tan to last as long as possible? I’ve already outlined the steps above, but to put them all together for you – moisturise daily, lightly exfoliate often and use a gradual self tan. Don’t be afraid of lightly exfoliating when you have a tan on, build up of dead skin and old colour results in patches!
And if in doubt, or you have a MAJOR event coming up – see a professional. Although I would ALWAYS recommend that you have a test run if you haven’t seen this particular person before approx. 4 weeks before the event so you know they do a great job and the product they use gives you the outcome you want. And if it ends in disaster you have 4 weeks to remove the tan and find a new person.
What do you think of these products? Do you currently use any of the above, or do you use a different brand? Let me know in the comments!
Sally Hansen Airbush Legs Lotion 118mL $13.00 (on sale)
Tan Off The Original Mitt $14.95
PLEASE NOTE: All items/services in this blog tickle my fancy and I have not received compensation for the blog