The most important thing about faking a glowing tan is not the brand, or the method of application; it is the condition of your skin underneath.  For any tanning product to look good, it’s important your skin is smooth with no dry patches.  Following a few simple steps before you hit the (self-tan) bottle will ensure your skin looks good and your tan takes better.


Although you’ve heard it numerous times before, exfoliation is extremely important.  Tanned or not, removing the dead cells from the skin surface will result in brighter looking skin in general.  Pay particular attention to the elbows and knees, and make sure you scrub them in the flexed position.  These areas are particularly prone to dryness, and are the commonest give away sites; you don’t want to be hiding your otherwise perfect tan under long sleeves or jeans.


Once your skin is properly scrubbed, the next step is to moisturise from top to toe.  Ideally, this is something we should do every day, but if you among the many whose morning routine is a short sharp shower whilst brushing their teeth, and moisturising is something you do to your face when you remember, this step is particularly important.  Dry skin with fake tan is the quickest way to ensure you won’t want leave the house in anything other than an onesie until it’s all worn off.  Again, pay particular attention to the knees and elbows, and make sure it has all soaked in before you apply any tan lotion.

Protect your knees and elbows

You’re still not quite ready to go; two more small but important steps can help avoid staining.  Firstly, dab some Vaseline or white paraffin gel around your hair line, along your eyebrows and lids; this prevents streaking in case of any slips.  Once you have done that, put on a pair of gloves; your hands should be the last thing you do, preferably with cotton wool, only apply lotion to the backs of the hands.

Use your friends

Now you’re ready to go; and it may be time to phone a friend.  Although some brands offer back spatulas, ideally getting someone else to do your back is the best way to ensure even coverage.

Dark Clothing

Most tans require several hours to develop, none dry instantly.  Idyllic though it may sound were we living in the tropics, wandering around semi-clothed during this time may not be practical, so if you are planning an evening out be sure to choose dark clothing.

Protect your Skin

Finally, the emphasis is of course on fake; despite raised awareness regarding the importance of SPF, the ageing effects of sun, and risks of skin cancer, the early hot weather has still resulted in an alarming number of unattractively pink faces (and quite possibly an upsurge in concealer sales).  A fake tan is a safe tan ladies.