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Top tips for achieving the perfect fake tan - Dyeing for a tan!

Updated on May 22, 2019

Fake tan v. suntan

With summer here, it's time to look out the shorts and t-shirts and bare parts of your body that haven't been exposed for months. I have very fair skin (milky white!) and tend to burn easily in the sun, so I always opt for the self tanning lotions. I always feel healthier and feel better about myself when I have a sun-kissed glow, rather than walking around like a lobster having exposed myself to too many of the sun's harmful rays. So come on, break open a bottle and prepare to be bronzed - you don't even have any white bits or strap marks!

With all the media hype about sunscreens and sunburn, more and more people are choosing fake tans as opposed to a suntan. The safest way to achieve a tan is to use one of the many self tanning products on the market. With the sun somewhat of a stranger in the United Kingdom, most of us want a natural looking healthy glow and the options are endless.

There are lots of different formulas available to help you achieve that perfect colour from sprays, oils, cremes and even wipes. I have tried and tested several types of self tanning lotions, and these are my top tips for perfect application and even coverage.


My top tips for a natural looking tan

  1. Ensure you choose the correct formula for your natural skin colour and tone. Explore the market as there is a product out there for your skin. There are many different types on offer for fair, light and dark skin, so always opt for the one that suits you best.
  2. Always try out the product a few weeks before to ensure that you are completely happy with the results, especially if you require a tan for a special occasion e.g party, wedding or holiday.
  3. Before you apply your chosen product, I would recommend exfoliating 1-2 days prior to this. It will remove the dead skin and leave your skin feeling soft and silky smooth, allowing the tan to be applied more evenly.
  4. Shave or wax your legs, underarms and bikini line a few days before the tan is applied. I prefer to wax as the hair takes longer to grow back than when it is shaved.
  5. If you are visiting a tanning salon rather than the DIY option, wear old, loose, dark clothing. Newly applied tan can often rub off and stain garments, especially in the first hour or two.
  6. Always start at the feet and work upwards.
  7. Avoid dark knees and elbows by ensuring that these areas have been moisturised to soften them.
  8. I always use a tanning mit when putting the fake tan lotion on. It is my preference and I find that it is much easier to spread on. They can be purchased from most chemists and larger stores.
  9. When the cream or lotion has been applied, I usually blend it in with a baby wipe that has been allowed to dry out. This also avoids the dreaded orange hands.
  10. I've found that by rubbing in a tiny amount of talcum powder beforehand, it stops those unsightly crease marks around the armpits.
  11. Depending on the make of the tanning formula, they can last for up to 5 or 6 days before they fade and wear off. In order to maintain your tan, it is essential that you moisturise every day.
  12. Be very careful when tanning your face. I generally apply a very small amount and blend it in evenly. I find that it is better if my face is slightly lighter as I prefer to use a sheer foundation over the top.
  13. The most important point is that you will only tan where you apply the formula, so it is vital than you blend the product evenly onto your skin in order to avoid streaks.
  14. I tend to apply my tan in front of a mirror as it is easier to see straight away if I have missed any parts.

Professional tanning salons

If you're apprehensive about applying the tan yourself, you can have it done at a tanning salon. There are many salons throughout the country as it has become a booming business. Apart from most beauty salons, they can be found in some of the top end stores and hairdressers.

The cost of a fake tan varies greatly from salon to salon and is dependent on the areas you want to tan. Arms and legs can be done for around £15-£20 on average, and a full body tan can set you back from around £30-£70. Tanning machines can be operated by a professional or there are tanning booths where the tan is sprayed onto your body as you stand in an enclosed booth.

Purchasing your tanning products

There are many retailers selling self tanning products, so once you have researched and decided on which one to buy, shop around for the best deal. I bought my fake tan for £29 and saw it on sale in a large department store for £43! Chemists, larger stores, supermarkets and internet all retail a variety of products. It's also worth checking out E-bay as I have grabbed myself several bargains in the past. Happy shopping!


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