I love the look of a tan, but my skin is almost transparent and has absolutely no natural tanning capability whatsoever.
Hello, self-tan. I love the way a tan makes my skin appear smoother, more even, and yes toned! It’s addictive and since I really don’t like my pasty white skin I’m generally self-tanned, particularly at this time of year. Another dislike of mine is seeing white feet in sandals so I remedy this by lightly misting them with self-tan which makes them appear far more attractive, I think.
Orange is out
I definitely don’t want to appear orange, or over-tanned and I take care to look as natural as possible. One thing I try to avoid is tanning the insides of my arms as the sun wouldn’t naturally hit these areas. Having a tan which stops at the inner wrist does look very unnatural – blend it so that it fades in naturally. For my hands and feet, I don’t rub tan over them, I prefer to mist them as I don’t want the tan grabbing my knuckles and bony areas of my feet. Misting over prevents this happening and gives a more even finish. Moisturising those vulnerable areas with an oil-free formula first also helps reduce ‘tan grab’ (one of my technical terms).
Always use a mitt, this is a must for an even application.
I use the Boots Soltan mitt.
Over the years I’ve tried all kinds and differing brands, from St Tropez to Fake Bake and lower-priced brands such a St Moriz. Did you know the shade we become is down to our personal biology so here’s the scientific bit – fake tan contains an ingredient called DHA (dihydroxyacetone) it’s derived from fructose and reacts to amino acids in the dead skin cells in the epidermis layer of our skin. This chemical reaction in the skin’s keratin proteins produces brown pigmentation or melanoids on the skin’s surface thus giving the brown colour so what might look orange on me, may be a perfect tan shade on you! Other factors include skin thickness, if you have thinner skin your tan may not last so well; thicker, the tan will last longer.
For a while I used Sunlabs Airbrush tan as I really liked the colour, still do, but somehow drifted to St Moriz, probably because it’s more readily available.
It’s also very affordable for someone like me who uses gallons of the stuff. I tend to use the airbrush can for my back, hands and feet and the mousse for the rest of my body. I do find the Mousse formula is much longer-lasting as with the spray I feel the colour tends to disappear after my shower and I need to reapply. I recently discovered St Moriz Fast Tan formula which allows you to control your shade; develop for up to three hours depending on the depth of tan you like. Once you’ve “developed” rinse off in the shower, just water, no shower gel or soap – (for best results). Another brand I purchased during the Summer is Bondi Sands Liquid Gold. It’s a tanning oil and dries in seconds, lightweight and applies well. There’s no guide colour with this one but I managed to get an even, natural tan with each application. Head over to BondiSands to read more of my tips on choosing the perfect self-tan shade for your skin tone.
If I’m going on holiday I will usually take a bottle of St Tropez airbrush, that said, last holiday I packed my St Moriz too and switched between the two. The guide colour with St Moriz is lovely and is most definitely there for an instant tan. I tend to prefer self-tan with a guide colour as not only can I see where I’m applying it I also get that instant colour that I want. Just bear in mind that chlorine literally KILLS fake tan and so you might have to re-applying throughout your holiday.
1. Do you have areas that just don’t seem to take fake tan and /or the colour just won’t hold? Particularly on the legs, try smoothing a half a lemon over these areas, the lemon juice lowers the skin’s natural pH and basically helps the active ingredient in the fake tan to develop more efficiently. This is something I do and I find it works quite well.
2. If you’re using a spray tan it’s advised to avoid inhalation as the DHA it contains can be harmful. Have you ever spray tanned then wiped your nose, you’ll see quite a lot of tan that’s been caught in your nostrils, I’ve had this happen several times but since finding out about the dangers of inhalation I take steps to avoid this.
3. In a hurry? If you need your tan to dry quickly, use your hair dryer and literally “blow dry” your skin.
4. Remember to wipe your fingers and toenails after misting as you don’t want the tan to stain them.
Every girl knows that before any self-tanning, exfoliation is key. I literally exfoliate constantly so my skin is generally well prepared. It’s often a good idea to shave your legs the day, or evening before to give the pores a chance to recover. It’s annoying when the tan gets into the pores and looks awful, so you want to avoid that if we can. Start with either an exfoliation mitt or use your usual product in the shower. St. Tropez sell a great tan removing mitt for scrubbing off those remaining patchy areas of old tan that just won’t go away. I would definitely recommend using this as I find it really effective and also leaves the skin really smooth.
I’m usually an evening tanner but also I will apply my tan any time of day depending on my plans etc. Once out of the shower I moisturise with an oil-free moisturiser, Fake Bake does a really good one. I use this before and then daily to prolong my tan. Using oil fee just means the tan will adhere properly to the skin as there’s no barrier left as with a general moisturiser. After moisturising, I will let that settle for a while. Then using the mitt apply the tan in your usual way. For my back I stand in the bath and bend over, then I mist the tan over my back and carefully dab in any spots of tan with the mitt. For me, misting gives a much evener application.
For my face, I exfoliate, moisturise and then add some tan to my usual tinted moisturiser, apply with a dense brush as this way you can buff the tan on and this gives an even application. I tend to have the odd dry area on my face which is very annoying when it comes to tanning my face. If my skin is playing up I will mist over with tan and gently pat with the mitt rather than buffing it in as I find it’s less likely to grab those drier areas. Some self-tans really dehydrate the skin with prolonged use so I prefer to use a face-specific tan for this reason. Otherwise, as I mentioned earlier, mix a little tan with your usual facial moisturiser before applying as this helps combat dryness.
These are really the brands I tend to stick to. Which brands do you use? I’d love to hear from you!
Both St.Moriz and St.Tropez are cruelty-free brands.
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