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It was the first night of ‘Lockdown 2.0’ in Melbourne. Two episodes into a marathon of ‘RuPaul’s Drag
Race’, my housemate turns to me and says, “We should try fake tanning!”. Coincidentally – I had the exact
same thought. There’s something about having a gorgeous glow all over your skin (and the self-care ritual of
applying self-tan) that inspires an inner warmth and sense of contentment – which is exactly what we need
right now. As Isle of Paradise
founder and Instagram dance sensation Jules Von Hep calls it, it’s his “cloak of confidence”. As he
explains: “I love the confidence that tanning gives me—it makes me feel like me when I look in the mirror. I
look in the mirror and go ‘(sighs) here I am.’”
But in winter the change in environmental conditions (both outside and inside with artificial heating) has
a noticeable impact on your skin, which in turn impacts the result of your usual self-tanning methods. As a
winter tanning newbie, I’ve enlisted the help of some incredible MECCA team members (as well as getting
inside knowledge from brand founders) to teach us the best ways to self-tan through winter with the finalist
tanning products for our MECCA
Beauty Election 2020. Come with me on my tanning research journey to discover the best tips for
applying and maintain fake tan through winter.
Dry patches on both the face and body is a deterrent when it comes to fake tan as the product can react
with these dry spots and result in an uneven finish. Luckily, the MECCA family has some tips to keep your
skin hydrated for an even tan.
For face, store host and tanning guru Ben from MECCA Maxima Charlestown recommends the Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Drops
as they can be added into your winter skincare routine for a gradual colour that boosts your skin’s moisture
“Try adding tanning drops into a hydrating serum rather than a moisturiser for
deeper-penetrating hydration,” says Ben. “When followed by a moisturiser, your skin
will be completely nourished – no dry patches here!”
Tanning drops can also be added to your favourite body lotions for a gradual
glow all over. MECCA HQ resident tanning queen Jemma adds the natural-oil-infused Mecca Cosmetica Self-Tan Drops to a
rich body butter, something
ultra-hydrating to combat common winter dry spots like elbows and knees. Or, for an even more gradual colour
in just one product, she recommends trying the Luna Bronze Glow Gradual Tanning Moisturiser: “It’s is a super-hydrating two-in-one
that slowly adds colour every day whilst still feeling like a nourishing body moisturiser – plus, it never
Think of dryness or flakiness that can be found in places like around the knees – that’s dead skin. For
your tan to be even these patches of flaking must must must be buffed away with an exfoliator,
whether it’s a chemical exfoliant of a physical scrub.
Jules Von Hep from Isle of
Paradise recommends exfoliating 24 hours before applying your tan with their Over It Magic Self Tan Eraser, which
uses glycolic acid to “create a beautiful skin surface before the tan is applied.”
For those that prefer a physical exfoliant, the Spray Aus Exfoliating Mitt works great with any hydrating body wash to remove flaky dry
With the skin on your face being far too delicate for body exfoliants, something more specialised is
required. Jemma from MECCA HQ’s favourite is the Alpha Beta Glow Pad Intense Glow Self Tanner for Face from Dr. Dennis Gross as it
exfoliates with alpha and beta hydroxy acids to remove dead skin cells and tans in one go for a flawless,
streak-free facial tan.
Jemma says, “it’s the best skincare-tanning combo product. It makes your face look like you've been on
holiday and it means you can wear a lighter coverage foundation (I also sometimes use the
pads to top up my hands and feet which fade faster).”
Having been stuck inside for several months, my natural skin tone is lighter than it would be normally
(even compared to previous winters). That’s why it’s more important than ever to have a light touch with the
self-tan this winter, building up gradually and avoid dramatic ‘tell-tale’ jumps in colour.
Either the Isle of Paradise
Self-Tanning Drops or Mecca
Cosmetica Self-Tan Drops are ideal for moderating your fake-tan as you can directly control the depth
with how many drops you mix into your face or body products.
Another great buildable option is The
Tan by Elle Effect, a
local favourite that can go from lightly sun-kissed to bronze beach goddess.
Jemma from MECCA HQ recommends this one for all year round, saying, “it’s super customisable so you can go
lighter than you normally would without having to change brands.”
For so many of us, we want a fake tan product that makes us feel good in every way and a
huge part of this is the way that it smells. My self-care ritual generally involves a
candle (and a bottle of wine), so a funky fake tan smell would ruin that vibe. Fortunately, our range
of self-tanning products are formulated with this exact thought in mind.
Speaking about their easy-to-use Self-Tanning Water, Jules Von Hep says “waters are so refreshing, that’s why Isle of Paradise smells like
eucalyptus, and cucumber and peppermint, because I feel like if you’re naked, you want to feel refreshed.”
MECCA HQ’s Jemma also loves the Self-Tanning Water as it’s easy to apply by spraying and dries down quickly, saying
“it’s best in the cold winter months if you don’t want to stand naked in the bathroom for too long.”
Luna Bronze founders Madeleine
Balderson and Rhiannon Hall say of their Glow Gradual Tanning Moisturiser, “it doesn’t smell like fake tan! Think more of a day
spa experience thanks to our unique natural essential oil blend of lemon myrtle, orange blossom and
For a delicate scent as part of a self-care moment, MECCA Maxima Charlestown’s Ben loves The Tan from Elle Effect, saying, “it’s the
most perfect tan for winter because it smells like roses, so when you’re cuddling up it smells like you’re
wearing a bougie fragrance!”
For everything you need to know about MECCA Beauty Election 2020, click here.
To vote for your favourites, click here.
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