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Health and Beauty Articles

How to achieve the perfect fake tan

Having been a tried, tested and taunted victim of the dreaded fake-tan-gone-wrong scenario, I can relate to the vast spectrum of problems that arise from this seemingly ‘simple’ ritual by the modern-day woman. Yes, I’ve been there, seen it all, got the orange coloured t-shirt and bed sheets as well as the disappointingly pale complexion (Why pay that much money to look the same colour?) to the alarming tangerine look (Yes, your right, it didn’t read “May result in a radioactive glow” on the cover.)
The nauseating smells, the white gaps between the toes, the botched patchy knees and elbows that are 3 shades darker than the rest of the body; fake tanning is one frustrating process that can ultimately be avoided.
I have my personal tanning habits down to a precise tee. Customers are always surprised when I confirm that ‘No, the tan is fake; I’m naturally an off-white, slightly translucent colour and burn like a crisp on a hot summers day.’
Now that I’ve got your attention (unless it’s not your topic of interest, i.e. you thought this was the sports page) then I’ll follow on with my step-by-step guide to false tanning.

Step 1: Choosing your product

Fake Bake and St Tropez are my top rated fake tans.
Fake bake is great for nourishing the skin as well as providing a healthy colour as it’s packed full of antioxidants and natural ingredients. One of the main benefits of Fake Bake is that is lasts a good week in comparison to other tans which can fade after a couple of days. Prices for this range between £17 and £25 and can be purchased online or at stockist beauticians - locally at Hebrides Harmony or Bliss Therapy.
St Tropez mousse is a great product for ease of application and colour. A mitt should be used to apply this evenly. I tend to find it’s not the best for long lasting colour but is brilliant for applying on the day of an event to give your skin an instant glow! Prices vary due to the size of the bottles, between £15 and £35. St Tropez products can be purchased online or at stockist beauticians – locally at Body and Sole. They are also available at Boots and Superdrug.
Both of these tans have colour guides to show exactly where the tan is going on the skin which avoids missed patches.
Supermarket brands such as Piz Buin and Ambre Solaire are cheaper to buy but can give lovely tans. However they can be trickier to apply and can be a bit on the streaky side so extra care must be taken! Both tans are available locally in Boots and Superdrug.

Step 2: Preparing the skin

This is JUST as important as the tan itself! Without preparing the skin sufficiently the tan attaches to dead, dry skin leaving you with that dull and blotchy look. Using exfoliating gloves and a gritty scrub (Fake Bake Body polish or Radox shower scrub are personal favourites) give the skin a thorough exfoliation. When in the bath or shower lather a decent amount in your gloves and start massaging the scrub into the skin starting from the feet and working your way up towards the heart – this boosts blood and lymphatic circulation: the benefits from fake tanning are endless! Pay special attention to dry areas such as knees, feet, elbows and wrists. Then towel dry the skin and apply a thick moisturizer to the stated dry areas, but nowhere else! Otherwise this can form a barrier which blocks the tanning agent from attaching to the skin.

Step 3: Tanning the body

Find yourself a warm room that won’t mind being subjected to the odd splash of tan. I say warm room as the skin doesn’t absorb products very well if it’s cold. If you’re applying a full body tan it is advisable to use a full length mirror to catch all areas.
Using latex-free gloves (for Fake Bake) or a mitt (for St Tropez) apply a sufficient amount of your tanning lotion and imply the same routine as you in did the exfoliation. If you’re flexible the back can be reached; if not rein in a willing participant to do it for you! A little amount of tan should be applied to the feet and hands as these are dry areas.
Allow this to dry fully before dressing in loose fitting night wear; preferably something that isn’t cotton as this soaks up the tan and will stain! Leave this on overnight for a good 7 to 10 hours; it won’t develop any more after this so soaking in it for an entire day will do you no favours!

Step 4: The morning after

Wash the tan off in the shower. If you have a detachable shower hose then gradually take the tan off with this, starting at the feet and working your way up. Be careful if your washing your hair at the same time as this can streak your colour, thus ruining all that hard work!
Pat the skin dry after your shower and apply a thick moisturiser or Fake Bakes smoothie oil to give a beautiful glow. Do this daily to maintain the colour. Gradually exfoliate the tan off once it shows the first signs of fading (which is usually after 3-4 days, depending on the tan you’ve chosen.)
If you are cleansing your face daily (which hopefully you are!) then the tan will tend to fade quickly, so this area may need topped up every 3 days.
An extra wee tip is to avoid swimming pools as chlorine can bleach the tan... I don’t want to see hoards of oompa-loompa women walking down the street as a result of this column not giving you this essential piece of advice!
Good luck and happy tanning! 

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