Best Ever Fake Tan Tips

Who better to give you advice on how to achieve the most flawless self-tan than the pioneers of an entire self-tan category? Read on as we share the best self-tan tips that we’ve collected over the last 20 years so you can achieve the perfect bronze every time.

Choose your formulation.

First things first… you have to decide what formula is right for you. Are you looking for a quick fix that you can slap on and go? Are you wanting something for one night only? A subtle build of colour? Or perhaps something with more longevity? Here’s what you need to know:


Gradual tan: The most subtle, and buildable of all the tans, a gradual tanner can be used in place of your daily body moisturiser. A no-brainer to use, simply apply post-shower, and reapply daily for a hint of bronze that will deepen the more you apply.


Self-tan: a properly-applied self-tan has the most longevity (it can last up to a week) but it also takes the longest to apply, and requires more prep work. Most self-tans use the ingredient DHA (Dihydroxyacetone) which works with your skin cells to simulate a glowing (safe!) tan. These will develop over a period of time, so are best applied the night before the event/ occasion you’re getting bronzed for.


Instant tan: Instant tan pretty much does what it says on the box… it tans, instantly. Think of it as similar to makeup: you apply it before you want to go out, it gives immediate colour, and it washes off in the shower at the end of the day. Perfect for those on the go, or fresh (white!) winter legs, it’s easy to apply and requires no maintenance.

Ready, set, bronze…

Now that you’ve chosen your formulation, it’s time to tan. Read on as we share our best ever fake tan tips.



Not prepping your skin for fake tan is kind of like putting icing on a half-baked cake: likely to be uneven and will probably end in tears. Which is why, if you’re applying fake tan you’ll need to prepare you base first.


Exfoliate: A couple days prior to tanning, exfoliate your entire body (using a scrub like this one) so that the tan won’t “catch” on the rough/dry areas of your skin. This is especially true if you’re doing back-to-back tans, as you’ll need to make sure you’ve buffed off all the remnants of the last tan so you can start afresh.


Remove hair: Whatever your preferred form of hair removal is, you want to make sure you’ve done this before you tan. As the tan sits on the outer layer of the skin, any kind of hair removal post-tan will take off the colour.

During the tan.

There’s an art to application – and here we show you how to perfect it.


Ensure your skin is clean: No perfume, no lotion, no deodorant. Basically, nothing that will interfere with the tan.


Moisturise – but only on rough areas: Before you apply your tan it’s helpful to rub a tiny bit of moisturiser onto those rougher areas like the knees, elbows and hands to avoid a build-up of colour in those areas.


Get the good light: When applying make sure you’re in good light so you can see where you’ve applied. Our The Bronzer Self Tan is tinted golden brown which makes it even easier to see where it’s been. It’s also helpful to apply in front of a mirror for extra precision.


Start at the bottom: Apply from the ankles and work your way up, finishing with your hands and face (where you should use only sparingly). If you’re concerned about the colour on your face, mix it into a little facial moisturiser before you apply.


Round two: Want a deeper tan? Wait until it’s dry and apply a second coat for a richer, deeper bronze.


And finally, here’s how to take care of your tan and get the most from your bronze:


Wear loose clothes: While the tan is drying, avoid any tight clothing, and do not put your bra back on (a sure-fire way to get straplines).


Avoid exercise: Sweat, chlorine, long baths or beach swims will break down the tan faster, especially immediately after tanning.


Moisturise, daily: The day after your tan (and every following day) moisturise your body religiously. Hydrated skin will hold the tan for longer and help avoid patchiness.


Extend your tan: In the final days as it’s starting to fade, you can extend the life of the bronze by topping up with a gradual tanner or an instant tan. This will also help smooth out any residual patchiness and fading.

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