Experts share their best pre-event tanning tips


The biggest event on the beauty calendar is about to get underway and we’ve been in #MECCALAND prep lockdown. Nails are done, hair appointments made and at least three outfit options per day have been accounted for—you can’t be too prepared! Now, it’s time to tan. The perfect faux glow is like a good foundation: you should look like you have amazing skin, not like you’re wearing coverage. To make sure no fake tan faux pas occur before the festival, we tapped some of our favourite beauty and tanning experts for their guidance. Get your #MECCALAND tickets now and see them there! seems to work just fine when we lather ourselves up the evening prior to a big event. Remember to exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate. And when you're done with that, exfoliate some more.”

Jules Van Hop, Founder Isle Of Paradise

Exfoliation is everything

JVH: “This removes dead skin cells and creates an even surface for the tan to be applied onto. It also ensures the tan fades evenly. If you exfoliate with AHAs and BHAs, use these 24 hours before tanning as they can affect the way the self-tan absorbs into the skin. Just before you apply your tan, moisturise hands, elbows, knees and feet, and add lip balm to your nails and eyebrows to stop them picking up any colour.”

Streak-free tanning secrets

“It’s all in the buff. I recommend applying your tan liberally over the body in sweeping motions using a mitt. Aim for two coats on the body and one on the face. Keep rubbing the tan until the mitt begins to feel dry. Always stand in front of the mirror, so you can see what you’re doing. To finish, rub moisturiser into your wrists, and over your heels and buff off the excess using a fluffy facecloth. Wipe nails and palms after use.”

On correcting mistakes or uneven patches

“If you have a big white streak, don’t panic! Just apply another layer of tan over the top using a beauty blender or apply a fresh new layer of tan all over. It’s always better to add more than to try and strip off, but if you’re super panicky go swimming—the chlorine or salt water will soften the self-tan and speed up the fade. For stubborn tan I recommend using Isle of Paradise Over It , a glycolic tan remover.”

The uplifting appeal of looking bronze in winter

“In winter we tend to ramp up our skin care regime and tanning can feel like a faff. But tanning is a form of self-love, it takes moments to apply and a few hours to develop and the pick-me-up effects are so worth it. If you’re a fan of winter sun, Isle of Paradise Drops are perfect for travel and can be mixed in with your after-sun.”

Elle Ferguson, Influencer and Founder of Elle Effect

It’s all about timing when tanning

EF: “I love to apply Elle Effect Tanning Mousse two days befor e an event and one day before a photo shoot. Two days out from an event gives you the perfect golden glow. It’s like clean hair: day two is always the best!”

Get your mitts on these

“Always use a tanning mitt. I like to apply in a circular motion and add a small amount of moisturiser to the palms of the hands to protect them from staining. Use a tanning product with a colour guide (like our Elle Effect tanning mousse) so you can see if you make a mistake. If you do, just use water and a face washer or a face wipe to remove it. Our mousse has a red base that gives off a natural sun-kissed glow.”

A Mykonos glow all-year round

“It may be winter here but the European summer is just beginning. I may do one less coat in the middle of winter but I’m addicted to how the glow makes me feel, so I like to look like I’ve been to Europe all-year round. The big thing in winter is don’t stand under a hot shower for too long as it will remove your tan faster than normal and remember to keep up the moisturiser. The other great tip I learnt from my customers was in winter they only tan the parts of their bodies that get seen: face and hands. Makes me laugh.”

Tested on Elle Ferguson

“It took almost two years of samples to get the Elle Effect Tanning Mousse colour just right, and I tried every single one of those samples. The good. The bad. And the ugly. But it got me to where I am today with the best self-tanner out there that smells like roses.”

Michelle Andrews and Zara McDonald, Beauty Writers and hosts of Shameless podcast

There’s no time like the present

“Look, we are hardly experts but we've certainly spent our fair share of time putting on fake tan before events. We would more than definitely apply it the night before! Not sure if this is because we're lazy, or tan dunces, but it seems to work just fine when we lather ourselves up the evening prior to a big event. Remember to exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate. And when you're done with that, exfoliate some more.”

Stand as still as a statue

“Stop moving once you've been sprayed! Don't touch the couch, don't touch your partner, don't dare go for a run (Zara has done this). Just stand there like a statue and accept this is your fate. This is your life now. If you make a mistake, don't cry because then your face is ruined, too. Have a cup of tea, and ask yourself what would Zoe Foster Blake do? Hint: tan moisturiser is a good place to start.”

Keep it up no matter the season

“We are year-round fake tanners—because, naturally, there's nothing healthy about a suntan—so the process is the same winter to summer. Though in winter, our stomachs often get forgotten.”

Learn from your mistakes

“The night before our first ever podcast live show, Mich accidentally used a paraffin wax-based moisturiser (AKA the enemy of fake tan) after we got a fancy, professional spray tan in her kitchen. It was a DISASTER. Think big, swirly patterns all over your thighs and chest. Then think of Mich crying into her boyfriend's shoulder saying "Everything's ruined" for the next thirty minutes. Fun!”

Words by Romy Erdos
May 2019


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