I have been fake tanning for a long long time (over 10 years) and have tried a lot of different fake tans. Starting with Le Tan in high school, I used both the spray and the mousse and used to not wear a glove *cringe* I used to just apply with my hands and wash them afterwards! I would never do that now but you learn these things throughout years of fake tanning. I do also feel the quality of fake tans available now have improved a hell of a lot so it’s harder to end up looking like an “oompa loompa”.
I remember the first time I applied fake tan myself, I thought you only applied it to where the sun would hit you naturally.. kind of like bronzer. So I applied it leaving the underside of my arms bare and ended up with extremely obviously lines down both of my arms.
So to hopefully save anyone else out there from anything similar such as the dreaded “rolled around in doritos” style tan or any other blunders, I thought I would share my routine and favourite products.
Favourite Fake Tans:
Bondi Sands Tanning Lotion in Dark ($19.99 at Priceline) – I love this for a few reasons; firstly, because it’s a lotion it hydrates your skin at the same time so you don’t get “scaly” as you often can from sprays and mousses if your skin gets dry. Secondly, the colour. This is really dark – it scared me how dark it was the first time I applied it; but it is more of a green based tan so you don’t end up orange and the intense colour guard washes away and even when I swear it’s going to come out streaky it never does. It also fades nicely so you don’t have to spend forever trying to scrub and exfoliate to remove it. This tube lasts me much longer than the mousse ever does and is significantly cheaper (& often on sale at Priceline). This one is a little less comfortable to sleep or hang out in, so if the “sticky” feeling really bothers you maybe try the mousse over a lotion.
Loving Tan 2 Hour Dark Mousse ($39.95) – This one I absolutely love but is a little bit pricier and harder to find. It’s not sold in Priceline which I always seem to forget, but you can buy it online, in some chemists & in David Jones. I find this one gives me the most beautiful, dark but natural colour (I prefer the colour of the 2 Hour Express even over their original tan in Ultra Dark), especially on the second day. Of course I love the fact that I can get a decent colour tan in just 2 hours. I rarely do this as I tan every week and always sleep in it but it makes me feel safer somehow. I believe this is the best fake tan available ( I tend to use it for events rather than every week), it’s my absolute favourite.
I personally tan once a week and have my routine pretty set. Fake tan in general will look its best not the day after application/rinse off but the following day after it continues to develop. This is why Thursday nights are universally known as tanning night.
My fake tanning routine doesn’t start the day of tanning it actually starts a couple days before hand for preparation! So let’s get into it.
Shave your legs. Shaving after tanning will remove it and of course once we’ve tanned we are going to want to show our legs off a little more.
Exfoliating glove – can find these anywhere from Coles to Priceline.
Frank Coffee Scrub ($16.95 – fast free shipping in Aus) – I use this scrub either the day before or a few days before to exfoliate but it also leaves my skin super soft thanks to the oils it leaves on the skin. However these same oils stop tan applying properly so don’t use this scrub and tan in the same night. I’ve also tried a lot of other brands of coffee scrub and can honestly say none of them compare to Frank.
NKD Tan Remover Scrub – I use this for tan that is trickier to remove, usually on my knees and ankles. It smells delish and I usually just apply it and let it sit on my skin for a few mins while I brush my teeth or something so it can start to break down the tan. Then I use my exfoliating glove to scrub it away.
Moisturise (LUSH Dream Cream) – elbows, knees, wrists & ankles to stop the tan clinging to dry spots in this area. Do this directly before tanning. LUSH is an incredible brand and this Dream Cream is my favourite, it absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave a residue but hydrates & repairs amazingly well. My fiance uses it on his fresh tattoos rather than bepanthen.
Application Glove (JBronze Luxe Application Mitt is my personal favourite, but any will work) – pump or squeeze product directly onto the mitt and then begin to apply in circular motions section by section (I always start with my legs just out of habit). Make sure each section is blended before moving on to the next one as it will dry and become hard to move.
Partner/Bestfriend/back applicator– to help tan your back and hard to reach spots.
My fiance always tans my back for me but failing that, maybe you have a bestie who you can have a tanning night with or you could try one of these back applicators? I’m pretty sure I just used to wriggle around and tan my own back but it wasn’t easy!
Towel – just to stand on, I have made a mess more than a few times. Be careful especially using a spray. I remember being away on holidays with my family and deciding to fake tan. So I went and got a few towels and covered the ground in my room. I went to town spraying myself and thought I had more than covered myself with the towels on the ground, but when I picked up the towels there was a very clear rectangle starring back at me so beware!
Loose black clothes – to either sleep in or hang out in for a few hours. You want black clothes so they wont be stained and loose so you don’t ruin the work you’ve done blending it in. Also it will just feel more comfortable if you’re in an over-sized shirt or something.
Tanning Sheets – get some dark sheets to use for tanning night so you don’t stain your nice white sheets! Although recently I’ve come across something called a Tanzee. I haven’t had a chance to get one yet but it looks like a special tanning sheet protector! I think I’ll have to try this.
Rinse off in the shower thoroughly but quickly either when you wake up in the morning or after directed wait/development time. Pat yourself dry with your towel, avoid rubbing your skin.
Moisturise, your tan will last longer if your skin is kept hydrated and will also be easier to exfoliate/remove when you decide to. You could even use a gradual tanning moisturiser if you need your tan to last a bit longer than usual.
Lastly, do not apply more fake tan on top of old scaley fake tan. It will not “even out” or “fix itself”, it will exaggerate the scales and just be harder to remove. I promise, I have tried this more than once.
I hope this has been helpful & you can skip some of the awkward tanning phases I went through! Thanks for reading.