So, it's mid-May (apparently the weather hasn't got the memo yet!) and I find myself thinking about long hot sunny days and beautiful sun-kissed skin.
However, in this day in age, we know that there is no such thing as a healthy, natural tan. I go a nice olive brown but before that happens, I burn and I know that is not healthy. This time last year I resolved that I wouldn't ever burn myself in the pursuit of a tan again.
I love a good fake tan and I have been doing my own for several years now. I don't proclaim to be the master of tanning, but I have learnt by making (orange) mistakes. When a very pale friend who doesn't tan herself asked for a 'dummies guide to tanning' earlier this week, I sent her this in an email and I thought it would be appropriate to share with you lovely lot.
Before I begin, I have put links for the products I use at the end of the post. There are no photos as this isn't a review or the products I use, this post is more about the techniques I use to apply my tan as well as I can. I am by no means saying that these are the products you HAVE to use, these are the products that work for me. I use the now infamous St Moritz tan as it gives me the same result as St Tropez without the A-List price tag.
So, here goes....
Get your sticky little mitts on some tan (I recommend a mousse with a guide colour- easiest formula to work with and you can see where you're going!) a tanning mitt, an exfoliating pad & some decent body butter.
Prep by waxing/epilating no less than 48 hours beforehand and shave 24 hours before. (Defs stick to this if you're a sensitive little flower!)
Get naked and hop in the shower for a full exfoliation sesh. I like to use an exfoliating product along with the exfoliating mitt. Make sure you really pay attention to drier areas such as wrists, knees, elbows & heels. Remember to exfoliate your neck and face too but use a facial scrub rather than the mitt.
Once you're dry, apply a thin layer of moisturiser all over and then apply extra to the scaley areas I mentioned before! (The moisturiser all over will mute the tan a little so a good tip if you're extra pale!)
When this has mostly sunk in, start with the tan. Take your mitt and squeeze out an amount the size of 1 1/2 golf balls. It's easiest to work with as little product at once as it does dry quickly once you are rubbing it in.
Starting with one leg, focus on the shin and then the calf using vertical strokes up your leg. Applying the tan in one consistent direction achieves a better result. Stop when you have reached just over your knee and then wipe the mitt over your feet making sure that you go between your toes and stick to the white skin only. The mitt should retain some product from doing the bottom half of your leg as you don't really want to be applying more product to your feet than required!
Next, just follow the above in the following order: thighs, bottom, stomach, lower back (I don't always bother with getting someone to do my whole back as you can reach your lower and upper back yourself which are generally the only bits which will be on show). Then do your chest, side of chest (under arms), neck (making sure you don't miss your ears, back of the neck and behind your ears) and shoulders. After you have done your shoulders, spread it round to your upper back. Then, one arm at a time, work your way from top to bottom. Treat the hands in the same way that you would your feet (no/minimal product applied directly), checking that you do between your fingers and avoid the palm.
At this point, I usually squeeze a blob smaller than a golf ball onto the mitt and just rub all over my face. Don't be too worried, this is the easiest place to remove it from!
I find that the place which takes the tan the least is my chest so check the colour compared to your arms. Apply more if necessary, remembering to blend carefully to avoid streaks.
Once you have applied it all, take your mitt and just rub all over your body to make sure it is all blended. It doesn't matter which direction you rub, just make sure you do so firmly as this is the best way to blend.
Survey the scaley bits and if you feel that they may have absorbed a little too much tan, take a TEENY amount of body butter and massage in. Then use mitt again to blend.
As with spray tans, avoid deodorants and perfumes until you have washed the guide colour off.
With the St Moritz, it can be applied in the morning as it dries rather quickly. If you're going to do this, just wear dark clothes. I prefer to apply it just before bed and I sleep with as few clothes on as possible to avoid marks. Ive never had a problem with colour transfer onto sheets but if you are worried, sleep on a towel.
As gross as it sounds, try to sleep in a cool room to avoid sweating it off in the night!
In the morning, shower normally but try to allow the water to rub off the guide colour rather than your hands.
When drying off, dab rather than rub!
I like to exfoliate GENTLY (for this, I use a scrub rather than the mitt) every other morning, moisturise and then re-apply that night (sometimes I wait until the next evening to re-apply, depending on how it is fading). Exfoliating gently encourages the tan to fade evenly but you will probably find that you need to find out the best way to maintain your tan through trial and error
The best way to maintain your tan is by using a thick moisturiser (I SWEAR by Palmer's Cocoa Butter) every morning. It also makes your skin look glowy and healthy, bonus!
If you do find that you have a streak, exfoliate that patch and then carefully apply a tiny amount of tan to the area using a cotton pad as it is more precise.
Lemon juice is also good at fading streaks.
Phew! There you go!
A rather wordy post for my first blog back but I hope it helps. Do you have any good hints/tips/products that others might want to try? Share your thoughts in a comment!
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