How to Achieve a Flawless Looking Fake Tan

We all know that sitting out in the sun for long periods of time is bad for our skin, now and in the future, so fake tanning has never been such a good option. Having colour in your complexion makes you look healthier, feel slimmer and covers imperfections that may be more visible on paler skin; it basically makes us feel good in every way. With fake tans and instant shimmers now bringing lustrous and natural shades to the market, with innovative formulas and applications making it even easier to apply, it’s no surprise the industry is worth billions across the world. If you’re a hesitant user of false tans then they may be a challenge to get your head around, so these are my top tips to help you along the way to that golden glow with ease.

1. Exfoliate
In order for the tan to apply evenly and without telling blotches, it’s vital to ensure your skin is free from dry patches and dead skin that the tanning lotion can stick to. To get best results before a big event, buff your skin in the shower with an exfoliator every day for a week to leave a flawlessly smooth surface. This will also help the tan to last longer, as the colour sheds away with dead skin cells on the surface – the less you have, the longer it will take for the colour to fade.

2. Moisturise
Similarly, pay special attention to your moisturising routine before, during and after your fake tan application. Hydrating your skin before you apply will ensure skin is even and dry areas are reduced, while applying afterwards will ensure skin stays supple and that dead skin churn is minimal – in turn, this should aid the length of your tan’s life.

3. Protect your bits 
Before applying fake tan it’s a good idea to apply a light moisturiser to hands and feet to ensure the skin doesn’t absorb the full intensity of the tan: orange hands are never a good look. Use a very slight amount of vaseline on the nail beds, ears and feet edges to ensure you don’t dye the bits that wouldn’t catch the sun naturally and give the game away.

4. Use a mitt
Applying fake tan without a tanning mitt or glove is just too dangerous. They don’t have to be expensive (I use the mitts from Primark that cost £2 and can be washed and re-used at least 10 times,) but they really do aid application and help to create a flawless result. Apply a few blobs of lotion or mousse to the mitt, using it to manoeuvre the tan around the body and buff into the skin – no finger marks or blotches in sight!

5. Map your body
Be systematic in the way you apply your tan, either working from the legs up or arms down. As the tan dries it becomes much harder to blend, which is where obvious lines or build-ups start to appear. I work from the legs upwards, as this is where I decide what colour I want to build up across the rest of my body. However, always leave hands and feet to last…

6. Hands and feet 
You should never, ever use the same level of tan on your hands and feet as you do on the rest of your body: you’ll only ever end up with a result that’s too dark. My top tip here is to use the excess on the mitt to quickly run over your hand/foot, blending it subtly to about half-way up the finger. This should end up being about mid-way on the colour spectrum between your natural colour and the fake tan result. Make sure you pay special attention to the wrists, buffing in the colour to avoid a strong line.

7. Wash it off
To get the best result, always apply before bed and leave it to develop while you sleep. Most tanning lotions need 6-8 hours to fully develop; any excessive activity will cause sweat which can result in streaks and patches on the skin – night time is realistically the only time you’re going to get to let it do its job in peace! When you wake up, jump straight in the shower and wash off the tan with a delicate amount of shower gel, preferably a tan specific product that prevents the colour from fading.

8. After care
To ensure your tan lasts as long as possible, moisturise thoroughly every day and exfoliate lightly every three days. If you can avoid excessive sweat or any spa treatments you’ll look glowing for longer, but if you do want to remove it use a strong sugar scrub to buff it away gently when it starts to become patchy. This will fix you up for your next tan at the same time!

Are you a fake tan lover? What are your top tips?



  1. Holly
    July 5, 2013 / 2:47 pm

    I fake tan religiously! so loved this post, are there any affordable, durable tans you'd recommend?Holly xx

    • Hayley Carr
      October 18, 2013 / 12:09 pm

      There are lots you can use – Cocoa Brown is a good one that costs less than eight quid! Sunkissed is another great budget buy.

  2. Teffy Perk
    July 10, 2013 / 8:55 am

    I usually like to tan naturally, but it is good to know that there is a way out there for me to 'tan' during the colder days and not look like an orange streaky blob!!Teffy || Teffys Perks BlogXx

  3. legs21
    July 16, 2013 / 8:40 pm

    I alway get it horribly wrong orange streaky

    • Hayley Carr
      October 18, 2013 / 12:09 pm

      Hopefully these tips will help!

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