Friday, 11 May 2012

Masterclass - Tanning

Aka. Fake it, don't bake it!

No, just no!

There nothing like the sun peaking through the clouds that make you want to shed some winter skin and get the look like for the 10 wholes minutes we had sun in the UK, that you've caught every single second of it. I love a little glow going on, it definably makes me feel a bit more perkier and puts a spring in my step.

However when the sun does come out for me I have to lock myself away because of my hayfever allergies so this way I can look like I've caught some sun without having to add the appearance of the red eyes and streaming nose.

Having a tan become the fashion in the 1920's after Coco Chanel came back for a French Rivera holiday with a tan after catching the sun. Fake tan then came along in the 1960's when scientists discovered that pro-longed sun exposure causes long term UV damage. Fake tan itself isn't a dye rather than a complex chemical reaction of DHA (dihydroxyacetone) to the oxygen in the air as well as the amino acids on the skin.

The best way to get the flawless tan is to first start with the correct prepping, without this you have a tan that not only will last you longer but will look like you've been yachting round the med rather than standing in your bathroom.


Self tan sinks into deeply hydrated skin, so really while you skin goes into hibernation under winter clothing maintenance hydration should be carried out. This is even more important for really dry skin as tan loves to cling to dry skin and that why you see darker patches on the prone areas like knees and elbows.

Exfoliation is also a great way to get skin ready as this will get rid of any dead skins cells that tan can cling to. There are designated pre-tan exfoliates that can be used (normally 24 hours before depending on the instructions), so why use these? They are designed that the ingredient will not react to the tan and not give the natural result you want. Removing hair should done 24 hours before for shaving and 48 for epliation as this strips away the top layer of skin which can also give a patchy result.


There are two types of tan that can be used the self tan or gradual tans, I'm a big fan of gradual tans as it gives my pale skin a light glow and I can build it to what I want. The self tan market is starting to realise this, you can buy self tanners that you can leave on then remove after the colour you want is developed. First time? Try one with a tint so you can see where it's going and you won't miss a bit, a good friend can also help with the bits you can't reach.

Investment in a good glove or mitt will also give a smoother finish, it will also give the control and quantity of product wanted. It's easier to start in thins layers and build up the colour, going to circular motions towards the heart (also giving yourself a detoxing massage at the same time - bonus!). A good tip I've read is to leave it for a few minutes and then run the mitt over the same areas again as this can polish off the finish product and pick any excess off.

After Care

This will go against what you want to do but to keep that glow going exfoliate every five to seven days, this will mean that the tan will fade more evenly and will more ready for you next dose of colour. Hydrating needs to also be carried on and massage it in making sure that it sinks into the skin. Also keep an eye on what washes you are using anything with a pH too acid or alkaline or is oil based will make you tan wash off quicker and/or patchy.

Here is how not to look

Next week - Face Masks

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