THE IN-TRAY

How to get a perfect golden glow

When it comes to achieving the perfect summer glow, UK tanning specialist James Read is well-placed to offer advice—he’s been honing his skills for the past 15 years, creating that just-returned-from-a-vacation look on bodies as fabulous as Lady Gaga and Rosie Huntington Whiteley. And it all happened by accident, when he was working at a department store selling tanning products. “One day someone rang in sick and there was no-one to do the spray tan so I took over and did it—I was definitely self-taught,” he says. He had found his calling. Read opened his own salon not long after and fast forward to 2010, his signature line James Read Tan was born—the collection inspired by golden girl Farah Fawcett and all about achieving “a natural looking tan”. On a recent visit to Australia, Read dropped by MECCA HQ to share his top tanning dos and don’ts.

DON’T OVER APPLY

“I think the biggest mistake people make when it comes to self-tan is over applying, especially putting product over an old tan. It goes patchy and then goes orange.”

DO APPLY WITH A TANNING MITT

“It will help make sure the product goes on evenly, start with small amounts and smooth over. People make the mistake of washing their hands after they tan so they get the white hands that don’t match their arms. Apply a thin layer to the back of hands and let it dry before washing.”

DON’T SIP DRINKS IMMEDIATELY AFTER APPLYING TAN

“Don’t sip drinks before you tan is dry, you’ll get a white line around the mouth. Using a straw is the best way to stop this.”

DO APPLY CAREFULLY IN HARD-TO-REACH AREAS (EVEN YOUR BACK)

“To get an even tan on your back, the best tip is to use a wooden spoon with a tanning mitt wrapped around and secured with a band. This will ensure your tan applies evenly.”

DO PREPARE THE SKIN

“Make sure that you exfoliate with a body scrub or mitt to remove any dry skin and excess tan, moisturise your skin (especially the hands and feet, elbow and knees)—this will prevent your tan going too dark in areas. And, before you start, use a cleansing wipe over the areas that you think the tan will gather—this will help prevent any tan pooling in areas around the elbows and ankles. It also works if you think you have over applied—the wipe will help remove any excess.”

DO REMOVE EXCESS

“It’s really important once you have applied your tan to make sure you exfoliate about three to four days afterwards to prevent tan going patchy. I tell my clients the best way to remove tanning products or an overdone tan is use the steam or sauna at the gym for about 15-20 minutes. When you come out wipe with a towel to remove tanning fails, because the steam breaks down the tan immediately.”

Words by Anita Quade
December 2017

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