How to fake tan like a pro, according to a celebrity tanning expert

Including the mistake we are all guilty of making...

fake tan

by Emma Hawkins |
Updated on

Whether you're a complete self-tan newbie or need to refresh your application skills, you're probably here because you're wondering how to fake tan properly, right? Everyone loves a little glow, especially in the summer – it can make a huge difference the way our skin looks, but also, the way we feel about ourselves. The main problem is, tanning at home can be a potentially disastrous thing. As well as covering your bedroom in the stuff, there's a chance your new glow will end up patchy, streaky or worse, you'll have no option but to turn up to the office with orange hands. Yikes!

Luckily, we've got the best tips on how to achieve an A-list tan, thanks to Jules Von Hep, celebrity tanning expert and creator of brand Isle of Paradise.

Here's how to fake tan like a pro

1) Preparation is key

"The trick to a truly flawless glow is all in the prep," says Jules. "Shave or wax at least 24 hours prior to application and ensure your skin is exfoliated with a dry brush or scrub. This means your skin will have an even surface, so the final result will be even. You should also remove any deodorant and make-up – but don't use a cleansing oil, as this will prevent the tan from penetrating the skin."

This also applies to body oil. "Steer clear of a massage the day of tan application, unless you're mixing self-tanning drops into your body oils, avoid body moisturiser and don't use retinol or AHAs at least 24 hours before," he adds.

2) Start from the ankles

Once the prep is out of the way, Jules explains "Whichever texture of tan you use (tanning mousse, water, drops) always start from the ankles, working your way up to the heart and chest". And although you may be tempted to apply to your feet at this stage, he advises to leave these till last.

3) Apply in sweeping motions

"Apply your tan in sweeping motions over the body – never circular – this ensues even coverage for a natural, even-looking tan." Unsure how much to apply? "Two coats to the body and one to the face," Jules says. "Starting at the ankles and working your way up means that tan will be dry enough to apply a second coat after a couple of minutes, just start again at from the ankles for the second layer."

4) Learn how to do your back solo

You're doing your pre-holiday tan and find you've got one pesky patch of out-of-reach skin. Fear not! "When it comes to tanning the back – you CAN do this alone," Jules insists. "Just turn the mitt backwards and apply product directly onto the skin, sweeping from side to side."

5) Apply carefully to hands and feet

Tanning hands and feet can be pretty tough to master, with patchy feet and orange hands among the most common beauty blunders. Need help in applying to these awkward areas? Instead of over-applying product, Jules suggests using what's left on the mitt to apply to hand and feet. "Remember to wipe in between fingers and over finger nails with a damp cloth or makeup wipe after application."

Top Tip: Hang a towel onto the back of your door and rub your wrists together, this removes those tell-tale tan lines!

6) Moisturise daily

Wondering how to make your tan last longer? Jules says: "Moisturise your skin every day using an aloe vera based body lotion or butter and drink plenty of water to keep yourself and your skin hydrated."

If you're jetting off on holiday, "avoid drinking alcohol on the plane, as the combination of pressure mixed with alcohol causes severe drying out in the skin – and your tan will fade much much quicker. Chlorinated water can also strip self-tan – but this doesn't mean you can't enjoy your holiday," he continues, revealing that he likes to add some of Isle of Paradise's Self Tan Body Drops into his after-sun to pick the colour back up again.

"Self tan is a bit like hair colouring – our colour fades but we can pick it back up again!"

Top Tip: When you're done tanning, spray perfume on your hair instead of your skin.

Got that? Great. Now, off you glow to apply tan perfectly to your heart's content!

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