Girl on beach in white bikini with hat
Girl on beach in white bikini with hat

Struggling to achieve a streak-free, long-lasting golden glow? Read on for clever tips and tricks that will leave you with a flawless and natural tan all year round…

The preparation


For a super-smooth base, exfoliate the night before tanning with a body scrub to remove dead skin cells.

Hair removal

Waxes and hair-removal creams take off the top layer of skin cells, so get rid of any unwanted hair 24 hours before application to avoid an uneven tan.


Pay special attention to dry areas of the body such as knees and elbows. Leave moisturiser to sink in for 30 minutes before applying tan.

Skinny Tan Skinny Tan Pre Tan Primer 125ml £9.99 Buy Now
Brand Description of the Product Price Buy Now
St. Moriz St. Moriz Exfoliating Skin Primer 200ml £4.99 Buy Now


The application

Pump your fake tan product onto a tanning mitt and apply to the skin in light sweeping vertical movements. Follow this by circular motions, to work the tan fully into the skin, making sure you cover the whole of your body. Leave on for the time stated on the container, to allow the tan to develop, and don’t shower for at least two hours after application.

Shimmering lotion

Once your tan is fully dry and developed, apply a shimmering body lotion to enhance your bone structure and complete your sunkissed glow.


He-Shi He-Shi Tanning Mitt £2.95 Buy Now
Brand Description of the Product Price Buy Now

Types of fake tan


This type of fake tan comes in a number of different forms, including gel, mousse, spray, lotion and oil, all of which can be applied using the application technique above: the one you opt for depends purely on personal preference. Sprays are great for tackling those hard-to-reach areas, such as the backs of the legs; oils and lotions are great for additional hydration; and mousses and gels give a fast drying result.

Skinny Tan Skinny Tan 7 Day Tanner Self Tan 125ml £19.99 Buy Now
Bondi Sands Bondi Sands Self tanning Foam Light/Medium 200ml £9.99 Buy Now
St. Tropez St.Tropez Self Tan Classic Bronzing Mousse 240ml £29.39 Buy Now

Gradual self-tan

This develops colour over a few applications, for a natural finish. Use instead of your usual body lotion or moisturiser. Apply morning and/or evening, depending on how quickly you want your tan to develop, until you reach your desired colour. The colour in gradual tans is more discreet than a self-tan, so you can continue to use the lotion to maintain your colour.

Skinny Tan Skinny Tan Gradual Tanner 125ml £14.99 Buy Now
St. Tropez St.Tropez Gradual Tan In Shower Lotion 200ml for Marie Curie £13.75 Buy Now
Bondi Sands Bondi Sands Everyday - Gradual tanning milk 375ml £7.95 Buy Now

Instant self-tan

Great for a quick fix or a special occasion, an instant self-tan cuts out the development time required with regular self-tans. You will see the final colour as soon as it hits the skin. Simply apply the product, allow to dry for 20 minutes and you’re good to go. Just be careful not to get caught in the rain – self-tan instantly washes off if it comes into contact with liquid!

Skinny Tan Skinny Tan 24 Hour Bronzer 125ml £14.99 Buy Now
Sally Hansen Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs Light Glow 75ml £9.99 Buy Now
Cocoa Brown Cocoa Brown 1 Hour Instant Tan 150ml £5.29 Buy Now


If you’d rather not put fake tan on your face, or you just want to touch up in between applications, apply bronzer with a kabuki brush on the areas that catch the sun – forehead, cheekbones, temples and nose – for a natural-looking colour. Build up gradually until you’re happy with the result.


Rimmel Rimmel Sun Shimmer Bronzing Powder Light Matt £5.59 Buy Now
He-Shi He-Shi Multi Fusion Bronze 10g £10.95 Buy Now
Brand Description of the Product Price Buy Now

Top fake tan tips and tricks

  1. Moisturise every day to maintain an even, smooth tan.
  2. Use a colour that complements your natural skin tone to avoid an artificial-looking finish. For example, if you have fair skin, choose a light tan and build up the colour with multiple applications rather than using a darker formula.
  3. Use a tanning mitt to apply fake tan as this will help to distribute the product evenly.
  4. Wash your tanning applicator mitt after each use with warm, soapy water and leave to air dry. This will prevent a build-up of product on the mitt and ensure a clean, even tan application every time.
  5. If you don’t have a mitt to hand when applying tan, wash your palms afterwards and pat dry – you don’t want to end up with orange hands.
  6. Apply fake tan at night for maximum development time.
  7. Don’t put clothing on until tan is fully dry – you don’t want any to transfer and stain your favourite outfit or make your tan patchy. If you’re in a rush, opt for loose-fitting dark clothes.
  8. Apply fake tan sparingly to elbows, knees and ankles – these areas are drier than the rest of the body, so the tan is absorbed more easily.
  9. Hot showers and baths can dehydrate skin, which leads to faster flaking and peeling. Turn the heat down and switch to cooler showers, to help lock in moisture and colour.

Bronzed girl with red lipstick