How to apply fake tan

Top tips for getting the perfect faux glow

Prep and apply like a glow pro

Achieving the perfect fake tan is an art. So, for flawless results, follow our top tips for the most feel-good fake tanning guide.

How to choose the right fake tan

Mousse or spray? Lotion or oil? From the best fake tan for pale skin to the easiest ones to apply, we’ve got you covered for:

First time: If you’re a little nervous, start with a gradual tan that builds up over time.

Dry skin: A hydrating tanning oil or lotion will have you looking and feeling moisturised and glowing in no time.

Short on time: Why not try a mousse? They’re fast to dry and quick to apply. Try the St Tropez range for a bronzy sheen.

The A List tan: For coverage and a professional finish, go for a self tan in a spray format – they allow you greater control too.

Quick fix: Instant tan is your new best friend; just don’t get caught in the rain!

Pale skin: Fake Bake! This trusty brand has also developed a tan specifically for fair skin.

How to prep for your fake tan

Tanning prep is kind of a big deal. These top tips will save you from scrubbing and reapplying later: 

Exfoliate to remove the dead skin cells at the surface for a smooth base. 

Wax or shave at least 24 hours before or you’ll whip off half of your glorious golden tan. Use a new razor when shaving for the smoothest finish. 

Moisturise all over, paying close attention to dry areas like wrists, elbows and ankles. Silky smooth skin holds a tan for longer; just allow enough time for your moisturiser to sink in.

Blast your face with cold water to close your pores, so your fake tan is more receptive on your skin.

How to apply your fake tan

Now for the fun part: how to fake tan without a streak or splodge in sight. No one will know it’s faux:

A tanning mitt or glove is a must. No amount of baby wiping will save you from stains. Pop your mitt on the end of a body brush to reach difficult areas like your back. 

Start by using circular motions to distribute. Then swipe vertically for a smooth, even finish. 

Work from the ankles upwards and add a little moisturiser to your hairline and eyebrows to prevent staining. 

Pick up a precision sponge for tricky areas like fingers, toes and knees.

Mind the hands. They’re the ultimate fake tan tell-tale, so use a cotton bud to remove excess tan from fingernails, cuticles and in between each finger. 

Blow-dry your body for speedy drying (and keep warm while you wait!).

Try tantouring. Up your tan game and apply a little extra to collarbones, outer thighs and biceps for dreamy definition.

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