How to apply your fake tan perfectly

How to apply fake tanWe’re constantly being told to stay out of the sun, but there’s something incredibly tempting about a golden beach-y glow. We’ve come to learn that the only safe tan is a fake one, and with summer approaching fast, we turned to make-up guru Bobbi Brown for some tips on how to apply it at home, without the orange streaks.

Step 1: Prepare your skin
It’s important to remove all traces of dry and dead skin before you apply a self-tanning lotion. Start off by exfoliating the areas you’re going to apply the lotion to, and pay particular attention to rougher parts like your knees and elbows. Once you’ve finished, keep your skin clean and dry until the application.

Step 2: Apply a thin layer
Carefully apply a thin layer of product, making sure that you spread it evenly. Once the colour develops, do the same for a second layer. Bobbi’s thought process here is to rather build the colour slowly than start off with a thick layer. Colour that’s applied too thickly often results in streaks that cannot be fixed or minimised.

Step 3: Wash your hands
If any product is left over on your hands (and trust us, there will be), be sure to wash them thoroughly with soap and warm water. Leaving the product on will cause stains in between your fingers and on your palms.

Step 4: Be patient and wait ten minutes
Don’t put your clothes or your make-up on for at least ten minutes after you’ve applied your last coat of colour. Once it stains fabric, it’s very difficult to remove.

Top tips:
Don’t section-off parts of your body, but rather cover all the areas you’re planning to expose. A tanned face and neck does not go with pale ears and pasty legs.

Most self-tan products take about an hour before the colour develops into the shade it’s meant to be, so don’t be alarmed if it doesn’t look right straight away.

If the colour is too intense, exfoliate your skin under warm running water in the shower. Pat your skin dry and “clean” it with baby oil or lemon juice to remove too-dark colour.

Check out the Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual (2008; Grand Central Life & Style) for more self-tan and make-up tips.

Other articles you may be interested in:
Our top five spas and treatments
Salon pampering at home
DIY spa day
The low down on stretch marks
Take your tan into your own hands

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20 Responses

  1. Great to be able re read these articles as about to try and apply my own self tan using Caribbean Tan in a Can

  2. I do not like tanning, so these self-tanning products will help. I personally love the Tan in a Can spray … applies nice and evenly

  3. It is summer already in Cape Town, and thanks for this article, love reading this

  4. A simple and effective way of applying fake tan and not look like you painted yourself in the dark. We have no excuse for looking funky in all the wrong ways!

  5. Great step by steps. You really have to be patient with self tan in order to reap the benefits.

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