PREP THE SURFACE
Before applying any self tanning product, ensure that you prep the skin’s surface by exfoliating. Exfoliation will remove any dead skin cells and unevenness on the skin, allowing the product to go on smoothly and prevent patchiness. Apply a body scrub in circular motions to gently slough off dead skin.
CREATE SOME BOUNDARIES
Dry skin tends to absorb self tanning product more than other hydrated areas of skin so apply an oil-free body lotion to skin that you don want to tan to control the intensity of the tan colour. Make sure to moisturise elbows, knuckles, the hairline and knees that tend to be your typical dry areas to keep the tan even through out.
CHOOSE YOUR FORMULA
Always apply your self tanning product of choice with a tanning mitt to protect the palms of your hands from being coloured by the product and giving away your fake tan. How dark or light you want the colour of your tan as well as the formula is completely up to you. Use a tanning mousse or spray if your want a lightweight feel on your skin and don’t have much time as mousses tend to dry quickly. A tanning lotion or oil is great for dry skin types as it will hydrate the skin as it adds colour. First time self tanners should opt for a gradual tan product as it allows you to slowly build up the colour over a couple of days and decide what colour intensity you like without any pressure.
Avoid streaks in your tan by applying the product in long, sweeping movements rather in a circular motion. Start at the ankles and work your way to your face – beginning at the bottom will allow you to tan your legs without having to cause creases in your tan if you has started with your torso. The key to a perfect tan is making it look as natural as possible so areas such as the ankles, feet, hands and wrists and under arm areas; that are naturally lighter should still be as such. Use the remaining product left on your mitt to cover these areas or mix some tanning product with your moisturiser, especially on the face - to lighten the formula and get a natural looking shade. You can also achieve a more contoured look to your legs when tanning. Tense up your muscles while applying the product and apply slightly more in the curves of the muscles to sculpt the skin and add depth.
Once you have applied product to all areas, allow it to dry completely and for the colour to adhere to the skin. Avoid showering or being too active for about 8-12 hours after tanning to prevent the colour from being stripped from the skin by water or sweat. When you do shower or swim, always dry your body with a towel using a patting, not rubbing motion, to protect your tan.