THE IN-TRAY

You don't tan like that anymore

WHEN IT COMES TO SELF-TANNING, JAMES READ IS THE MAN WITH THE MIDAS TOUCH. ON A RECENT VISIT TO AUSTRALIA, WE SOUGHT OUT THE GURU’S ADVICE ON TRENDS, PRODUCTS AND REPAIRING YOUR TANNING MISHAPS.

The days of frying ourselves are thankfully over. We’re increasingly becoming a sun-savvy generation, swapping sunbaking (and the harmful UV rays that go with it) for impressive self-tanning formulas that look even better than the real thing. Leading the tanning innovation is the UK’s James Read, with his eponymous line of glow-granting, easy-to-use formulas with built-in skin care benefits.

Read’s tanning masks, mists and waters are the gold standard in faux tanning. Little wonder they have earned cult-status among the Hollywood crowd (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Ryan Reynolds, among others) and the fashion industry’s elite (Victoria Beckham, ring any bells?). We caught up with the charismatic Brit on his recent trip to Australia to talk tanning trends, bronzing tips and the what-not-to-dos you need to know now.

SUNBAKING IS PASSE

“People don’t sit in the sun anymore and they don’t want to expose themselves to dangerous rays. Fake tan now looks real, it looks natural. My products are all about skin care and tanning, so you look after your skin while getting a glow at the same time."

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE “NO-TAN” TAN

“The look for now is natural, subtle-looking, glowing skin. People want to look well and healthy and not like they’ve over-tanned. I always call it sophisticated looking skin. Your tan should never overpower your look, you want it to be your background colour.”

TANNING WATERS ARE SO HOT RIGHT NOW

“Beauty right now is all about clean and natural—stripped-back beauty, stripped-back tanning. I was the first brand to launch tanning waters with my H2O Tan Drops and Tan Mist. It’s clean, translucent, it’s not going to transfer on your clothes and it’s on-the-go. People want quick and easy and with tan waters you spray it on or mix it with your moisturiser. Four hours later you’re there, glowing and ready for the weekend.”

THE PRODUCT THAT STARTED IT ALL

“The Sleep Mask is our bestseller. You put it on overnight, it doesn’t transfer on your pillow, it doesn’t smell, it’s super easy to use, nourishing and hydrating. It’s got hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, red algae. It doesn’t stain the sheets and you won’t have your husband or your lover kick you out of bed for the smell.”

THE #1 TANNING TIP

“Make sure your tan has faded before you reapply. People overuse self-tan and when you’ve got the dodgy old tan underneath the new one can become patchy. Always exfoliate three or four days after tanning (before reapplying) and if you need to use a product in-between to bridge the gap in colour, try a wash-off tan.”

SUNSCREEN SAVES YOUR TAN

“If you’re going to the beach and swimming, it can remove your tan but if you use waterproof SPF it stops it from happening. It seals in your self-tan.”

HOT TIP: USE BOTH HANDS

“I went into a MECCA store today and they told me that people have been buying two tanning mitts and they apply the tan with both hands to make it quicker. I’m loving that idea and I’m going to do it myself.”

TAN BEFORE AND DURING A HOLIDAY

“Always tan the day before you go on holiday. If you’re flying, moisturise on board every few hours. I also use the sleep mask on the plane, it has skin care properties and then you arrive glowing. While you’re there, use an after-sun product (like you would for a real tan) to make the glow last longer. Use a waterproof SPF to protect and seal in your tan and if you want to reapply while you’re away, exfoliate the old tan off first.”

A BIG EVENT TAKES PREP WORK

“Be sure to exfoliate and wax 24 hours before tanning, then on the day moisturise any dry areas (the elbows, knees, feet) and pop the tan on. Layering is really good too. Apply one layer, wait 30 minutes, then apply another layer. After application put some talcum powder under the armpits, the chest and legs—this will soak up any sweat so you don’t get any of the white armpits or tell-tale signs. Next day, moisturise.”

YOU CAN FIX YOUR MISTAKES

“When it comes to tan removal, a good tip is to use a steam room, like at a gym. Sit in there for 20 minutes and then rub your skin with a towel and it takes off the whole tan. It’s a good detox. Then you can reapply. Otherwise makeup wipes are great option, just rub them over the affected areas. Another strategy is to get lemon or lime juice, put it on a flannel, microwave it for a minute and rub it over the skin.”

BANISH TELLTALE HANDS

“If you end up with the brown-arms-white-hands look, a trick is spraying some H20 Tan Mist over them and after three to four hours it will even out. It’s the perfect hand application.”

YOUR FACE FADES FAST

“The face always fades more quickly than your body because you wash it more regularly and use makeup remover. A good tip is to use a hydrating sheet mask the day after you tan, it will hydrate your skin and make the tan last longer. Try to avoid peels and products with exfoliants while tanning and moisturise daily. For a top-up, mix the H20 Tan Drops in with your daily moisturiser or SPF to protect your skin at the same time.”

MEN LOVE TANNING TOO

“A lot of Hollywood actors and models use my products. The Hydra Tan Mist For Men has chamomile and witch hazel to soothe the skin after you shave and give you a glow without blocking pores. It doesn’t transfer on your clothes or smell. I just spray on Coconut Water Tan Mist—it dries, I go straight out and in four hours I have a tan. It’s also good because it sprays through the hairs on your face, legs and chest.”

ON BEING VEGAN AND CRUELTY-FREE

“I think it’s what people want. I don’t want a product that’s tested on animals. I’m a vegetarian and I like eating clean food, and I think people want clean stuff on their skin as well.”

Words by Romy Erdos
December 2018

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