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Before tanning, always moisturise areas where dry skin tends to build up—your ankles, elbows, underarms and wrists—in order to avoid over-tanning and ‘splotchiness’ (the pigment tends to stick to dry areas). For ultimate colour saturation, allow any moisturisers to sink in for at least 10-to-20 minutes before tanning, or if you’d prefer a more subtle glow, apply your tan immediately after moisturising. This will dilute the tan ever so slightly, resulting in a more muted effect.
Try the Mecca Cosmetica Sunless Goddess Tan Remover! More than just a tan remover, it contains mango fruit extract to gently exfoliate, and also has high Vitamin C content to help brighten skin. Simply pump it into your palms and apply liberally to dry, tanned skin. Leave it on for five minutes before removing it in the shower with warm water and a face cloth (just enough time to get stuck in a TikTok hole). Another way to remove tan is to use a body scrub that contains granules and oil to help exfoliate the dead, surface-layer skin cells. The original Frank Body scrub works a treat thanks to sweet almond oil, which removes everything without leaving a heavy residue.
The ingredients in fake tan activate when they come in contact with dead skin cells; so a tanning product will technically work on all skin regardless of tone, however it will only be visible if the shade of tan is darker than the skin tone.
If in doubt, the Isle of Paradise Tanning Water or Tanning Drops (for face) in ‘Light’ will offer a softer glow, and should be perfect for fairer complexions . If you’re typically quite prone to redness and tend to get flushed, then the ‘Medium’ shade might just be your best bet—it’s infused with the brand’s Super Balance Complex, which helps to calm the skin and reduce redness, making it perfect for the neck and chest area.
James Read Express Bronzing Mousse provides a golden tan within an hour; it can also be left on for a maximum of two hours to achieve a deeper colour.
For those with pre-existing discrepancies in pigmentation, it will most likely still be slightly visible after the tan develops, but tanning will definitely help to diffuse it. If you do have visible sun damage or hyperpigmentation, try the Dr Dennis Gross Glow Pads (Body)—they contain Vitamin C and phytic acid which help to brighten the skin and even out tone over time.
The short answer is that fake tan does not provide any UVA or UVB protection; therefore if you use a self-tanning product or have tan on your skin, it’s not protected from the sun. Alas, it’s still important (like, so important) to ensure you’re wearing an SPF, even when you have fake tan on.
After applying tan to the body, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly, paying attention to under and around the fingernails (don’t forget that nails are made from keratin, which is what the tanning agent reacts to). Then, apply a pea-size amount of tan and mix it with a small amount of hand or body cream on the back of the hands and fingers, only lightly applying it across knuckles and fingers.
It’s best not to shave the day of tanning—instead, do it a minimum of 48 hours beforehand. Shaving takes off a layer of skin, so doing it closer to when you tan could increase the risk of irritation, stinging and streaking. Giving your skin time to relax after shaving also lessens the chance of getting those dreaded spots—more on that later. When it comes to exfoliation, we recommend the day-of or night before for best results.
Both are good options. A tanning oil is great for dry skin as it nourishes and hydrates while providing a healthy glow. The advantage with a foam is that you can see exactly where you have or haven’t applied it, and there are no surprises once it develops. For something in-between, try a tan with a moisturiser base such as Isle of Paradise Gradual Glow which won’t be as dramatic, but can still be layered.
Be careful of nails, the hairline and brows—once it’s in there it is very hard to remove.
Exfoliating is key—try using something with salicylic acid that will break down the collection of dead skin cells that build up in the hair follicles. Our pick are the Dr Dennis Gross Glow Pads, which exfoliate with salicylic acid and contain a micro-encapsulated tanner that develops quickly on the body.
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