Step into spring with CGD’s guide to fake tan

Fake tan is the unspoken mistress of Instagram bikini photos and the only beauty secret of high flying girls on a night out, but it doesn’t exactly have a great reputation. Fake tan can also be your friend when you want a subtle glow. So, we’ve trawled the shelves, tried some products out and asked our expert friends for advice to make this handy guide to fake tanning so you can step into spring without being afraid of streaks or flakes or smelling like digestive biscuits. You’re welcome, ladies!

Photo from We Heart It

#1 Product
I know this goes without saying, but your choice of product can make or break your fake tanning application. On holiday, I prefer a gradual tan like Supergoop’s SPF 20 Gradual Tanning Mousse because it’s minimal effort and gives my skin some sun protection too. However, while I’m here in the rainy UK, I’ll stick to St Tropez’s Self Tanning Express Mousse as it has a guide colour, activates in one hour and you can control the depth of colour. Some other notable products are James Read’s Liquid Tan Light and Rimmel Sunshimmer Water Resistant Instant Tan.

#2 Preparation
Nobody wants to ruin their skin’s natural tones or give themselves an orange hue, so proper preparation is crucial to the development of your tan. If you have a high-quality product that’s applied properly, you’ll have a beautiful sun-kissed glow and won’t have to worry about streaks or flakes. So here’s what you have to do before you slather that gorgeous tan all over yourself:

  • Exfoliate your whole body the night before you’re tanning, buff any dry areas more than everywhere else, and pay attention to elbows, knees, ankles and upper arms.
  • Paint your nails to ensure no tan sticks to the nail bed and stains your nails.
  • Wax and shave at least 24 hours before your tanning session.
  • Do not use any creams on the day you’re planning to tan, and make sure you’re not wearing any deodorant or makeup. (Although if you have super dry skin you can cheat a little and put a light moisturiser on these areas at least 4 hours before you tan)

#3 Technique
There are many different techniques for applying tan, my go-to method is to use a tanning mitt and apply the product in downward strokes starting from my feet and working up. I only use a tiny amount of product for feet and hands and often use only the leftover product on my mitt for my face. You can also use gloves for a smoother and easier to control application of your tan.

#4 Prolonging your tan
Read your preferred product’s instructions, some recommend showering straight after you tan and others recommend sleeping with the product on your skin to allow it time to develop. Wear loose clothing after you tan and moisturise after your first shower to keep the tan locked in. After a few days, gently exfoliate to allow your tan to fade evenly.

#5 Scary mistakes
It’s not hard to make scary tanning mistakes, I once sprayed only my legs with tan and then went out on a night out. That was a mistake. But you live and learn, and these days there are tonnes of products to help you be more confident trying out a safe alternative to sitting in the sun’s rays. Most brands have fake tan removers so if you make mistakes or aren’t happy with the application in some areas you can use a wipe or a bit of the fake tan removing cream and just rub it away. Perfect!

Although fake tan has a reputation of looking cheap or being hard to use if you stick to this guide you’ll be glowing and gorgeous in no time and everyone will be asking you if you’ve been on holiday! Just in time for crop top weather, too! Let us know your favourite fake tanning products and whether you have any tips and tricks for first-timers in the comments below. Follow us on Facebook and Bloglovin to keep up to date with all the latest CGD articles! X

  1. I was just having a mull about starting my fake tan routine again seeing as the clocks are going forward this weekend and we’re officially entering spring so this post was exactly what I needed to get me back into the sun-kissed spirit! I use St Moritz for instant tan if I’m going out and Palmer’s for a gradual tan (stinks of cocoa butter though!), but have always wanted to give St Tropez a go.. thanks for the tips! Very helpful :)

    Jo x

  2. Amazing tips! Very informative and helpful. Got me really excited to put on some fake tan tonight! Definitely trying out the mousse from St. Tropez after reading this! I’ve been using the one by Loving Tan, and although that one’s also really amazing, it isn’t available here in Denmark, so I have to wait a long time for the shipping every time. Anyways, really great post! Thank you for sharing your incredible tips.

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