As the Indian summer continues the temptation to maintain a tan can lead us into dangerous territory; but even in autumn the sun is strong enough to burn our skin and cause permanent damage.
So what’s the answer? Simple, fake it. In no time at all you can turn the palest of skin into sun-kissed golden brown.
If you first used a self-tanner in the ’80s chances are you’ve experienced streaking or the orange effect. All self-tanners contain a chemical called dihydroxyacetone, or DHA, which temporarily stains the skin. However recent products depend as much on your natural colouring as they do on the product itself.
Preparation is key. For natural results it’s not just scrub, apply and hope for the best. That’s a recipe for disaster.
Follow these steps to ensure you look like you’ve just left the beach:
1 Exfoliation: Use a gentle scrub in combination with a exfoliating gloves. Massage into damp skin, paying particular attention to dry areas: feet, knees and elbows. Use twice a week, every week to maintain healthy skin. As well as removing the superficial dead skin cells, exfoliation improves microcirculation thus improving skin tone and texture. If you haven’t been exfoliating at all, I suggest you perform this step at least twice on consecutive days before you tan to ensure you have a smooth, even base for colour.
2 If you are still suffering from dry patches apply a little body moisturiser locally. This will prevent the tan from grabbing and leaving telltale orange marks, not a good look! Again moisturising daily is a must to keep your skin soft and supple.
3 Patch test a small area in a discrete place if you are using a self-tan for the first time.
4 Shake your product and apply to one body part at a time. Start with legs followed by arms and décolleté and lastly your back. Think about where you naturally catch the sun. Bearing this in mind, apply the bulk of the cream above and below the knee, tops of the arms and shoulders. Use a variety of strokes including circular motions to help prevent streaking. A tinted cream is also a good idea.
5 Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly in between each section. Pay particular attention in between the fingers and around the nails. You may prefer to wear disposable gloves.
6 After your final hand wash, apply a tiny amount of tan to the back of one hand and rub the back of your hands together to blend the colour in. White hands are as much of a giveaway as orange palms!
7 Avoid light colours or tight clothing, including a bra, for an hour afterwards to guarantee a flawless finish.
8 Avoid water based activities and the gym for approximately 8 hours.
If you are a self-tan virgin you may prefer to start your regime with a visit to the salon. A professional application will give you the perfect base for you to maintain at home. As a rule self tans require a top up every 5 days.