Saturday, 23 April 2011

Fake Tanning Tips & Tricks

After making a video on fake tanning, I promised to do a blog post. That was about two weeks ago now, and I am horrified that I've left it so long. Talk about procrastination!

I've got a couple of extra products I didn't mention in my video, including gradual tanners. So, we'll start out with preparation then move on the tanning process itself and finally aftercare.

I will also run down a list of do's and don'ts that I've not seen mentioned much before, but feel are quite important in order to keep a lovely even tan.


First off, it's important to scrub your whole body to remove dead skin cells. Try to focus on your hands, elbows, feet and knees as they are often the most problematic area when fake tanning. 

My favourite exfoliating products of the moment (as shown in the picture above) are as follows:

Soap and Glory Sugar Crush Body Scrub – This smells gorgeous, like lime mixed with cakes. It contains almond oil, so it can leave a slightly oily residue on your skin. If you plan to tan yourself not long after scrubbing with this, be sure to wash off all the oil with an oil free body wash. Oil can get in the way of the tanning ingredients and leave you with patches.

Soap and Glory Flake Away – I bought this at the airport when I was travelling to Gran Canaria about a month ago. It's much the same as Sugar Crush, only it smells like Miss Dior Cherie perfume. Again, it leaves your skin feeling slightly oily, so you should wash this off before tanning.

Boots Exfoliating Gloves – These are my holy grail tanning item. I have a few pairs, one in each bathroom in the house and also my gym bag. They're so cheap, last forever, and are the easiest way to exfoliate. I find the best way to use these is in conjunction with a body wash, as without it, the gloves can't slide over your body as easily. I use these everyday, except the day after I tan (unless I have any dark brown patches).

Clean & Clear Shine Control Daily Facial Scrub – I'm not a huge fan of facial scrubs as they always feel too harsh on my skin, but for tanning purposes it has to be done. This oil-free scrub by Clean & Clear is one of the gentlest I've tried, so long as you don't rub too hard! Another option is to use a muslin cloth, like you get with the Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish. A muslin cloth is probably the gentlest exfoliator out there.

As well as exfoliating, I like to cleanse my pores thoroughly to stop build up of the product which in the end will cause spots. 

The products I would suggest are:

Neutrogena Visibly Clear 2-in-1 – I use this face wash most days as it contains salicylic acid which goes deep into your pores to remove dirt. It's perfect for fake tanning addicts or anyone who has problem skin. It's also fabulous for going on holiday, because you don't have to bring an extra face mask!

Dermalogica Skin Refining Masque – My beautician recommended this product to me the last time I went for a facial as I was having problems with little under skin pimples. Not the huge angry type of spot that you can dry out and will be gone within a week, but the type that stay for ages but don't really hit the surface. She told me to use the mask a couple of times a week and I have to say I did start to notice a difference. It's great for anyone with oily skin, but also contains soothing extracts that stop your skin from becoming irritated.

Botanics Conditioning Clay Mask – While this mask does clear out your pores, it is also meant to condition your skin. If I exfoliate before using this, my skin feels so lovely and smooth – perfect for fake tan application.

Soap and Glory No Clogs Allowed! Face Mask – This is a newbie in my cupboard, but I already love it! It contains little scrubby bits and heats up on application to your skin. You don't have to leave the product on for very long like normal masks, so it's great for when you don't have too much time on your hands.

Tanning – getting a light subtle glow

Gradual tanners are said to be the foolproof way to fake tan, and while I do think this can be true, I've made many mistakes with these types of tanners. When buying a gradual tanner, you've got to make sure you get the right colour for your skin tone. I've bought ones that are for a darker skin tone in the past, and through bad application have come out with terrible streaks, especially near my hands. Personally I find these types of tanners really difficult as they contain no colour guide and for me they take too long to dry – I'm very impatient and want to be able to dress immediately. 

Having said this, there are a few products I do like. 

Here are my top three:

Dove Summer Glow – Smells half decent as they've added just the right amount of perfume – too much and you're left feeling sick, too little and you smell like digestive biscuits! It gives a soft glow that rarely streaks – unless you make a mistake yourself. This gradual tanner is a favourite among many YouTube beauty girlies!

St Tropez Everyday Gradual Tan for body in Light Medium – This product was initially my favourite scented gradual tanner; however, the smell can get a bit overwhelming when you've been wearing it for hours on end. It produces a lovely glow and is perfect for using in conjunction with other St Tropez products to top up your tan. However, it is quite pricey and I personally wouldn't purchase it again when I could just buy Dove Summer Glow.

St Tropez Everyday Gradual Tan for Face in Light Medium – As I said above, the scent while nice at first can be a tad overwhelming. However, I like this product because my face fades very fast and I sometimes need to reapply tanner daily to maintain a healthy glow. This, again, is very pricey and a bit of Dove Summer Glow works just as well – even though it's meant for the body!

Tanning – medium sun-kissed glow

My favourite tanning routine is to use St Moriz (in the original formula) over my body and face, then St Tropez Gradual Tan Spray over my hands and feet. I find hands and feet hard to get perfect without using a spray tan, and the normal version of St Tropez is too dark in comparison to the St Moriz.

St Moriz Instant Self Tanning Mousse – Famous for being a dupe of St Tropez at a fraction of the cost. I do think the colour is slightly lighter than St Tropez though, but you can build the colour up over a couple of days. In England you can buy it at TJ Hughes for £2.99, or if you don't have one near you, try Ebay. The only problem I have with St Moriz is the way the bottle is made. When you shake it, lots of product comes out and if you plan to take this on holiday with you, you better wrap it up well 'cause it leaks horrendously!

St Tropez Everyday Gradual Tan Spray – I find this works better with St Moriz than the St Tropez Bronzing Spray. Also, as my hands fade quicker from washing, I use this to top up my hands after a couple of days.
Note* When tanning my face I like to apply an oil-free moisturiser first. This keeps my face moisturised but doesn't create a barrier that could lead to patches.

Tanning – dark tan

For an even darker tan, these are the options I would go for:

St Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse – A cult favourite, and all time winner in the fake tanner line-up! It gives a lovely dark tan that lasts for days and doesn't go patchy – if you apply properly. The only reason I don't use it as much anymore is because of the price.

St Moriz Dark Instant Self Tanning Mousse – For a darker glow this is the product to go for. I am currently testing this out at the moment, so a full review will be up in the next couple of weeks on my blog and hopefully on YouTube.

St Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Spray – Perfect for hands and feet or for all over your body. I tried this with the St Moriz (original version) and the colour was far too dark, perhaps it will be better alongside St Moriz Dark.


My preferred method of self tan application is to use a mitt, like the one shown above by St Tropez. I do find that I need to wear gloves underneath however, as product sometimes runs through along the seam and stains my nails. 

The best gloves I've used are the St Tropez Latex Gloves, but I'm sure you can find cheaper ones at a beauty supply store or Ebay. 

For my face I use a small cosmetic sponge, like you can buy in any drugstore, I haven't photographed it because it's stained from fake tan and doesn't look very photographic!


It's very important to moisturise after you fake tan. 

The products shown above are my favourites at the moment, and I use them in the following ways:

Vaseline Aloe Fresh Hydration Body Lotion – The day after tanning I use this to moisturise my body. It doesn't contain mineral oil (baby oil) which can cause your fake tan to come off and has not caused me any problems before.

Clean & Clear Shine Control Daily Facial Moisturiser – I use this on my face before I fake tan to keep my face lovely and moisturised. As it's oil-free it doesn't create a barrier and cause patches.

Soltan Moisturising Aftersun Lotion – This is a basic cheap lotion that I use after fake tanning and also on my hands, feet, elbows and knees before tanning. Again, it doesn't contain mineral oil and has never made my tan go patchy or streaky. If I'm only tanning my upper body, I also use this to blend the fake tan down my arms.

Removing fake tan

There are a number of different ways to remove fake tan, either if its gone wrong, is all over the palms of your hands or if you're preparing for another round of fake tanning:
  • Soak in a bath of baby oil and scrub gently with exfoliating gloves or even a flannel.
  • Mix baking soda/bicarbonate of soda with water and gently exfoliate. This works differently than a normal exfoliator and removes tan much faster, especially if you've got tan all over your palms.
  • Lemon is also great at removing fake tan. You can rub a wedge of lemon over your skin or squeeze the juice onto a cotton pad.
  • Alcohol removes fake tan. So, using a toner on your face will remove the tan.
  • You can also buy a number of fake tan removers from brands like St Tropez.
  • If all else fails, lay in a hot bath and scrub gently. This should remove some of the tan and leave you looking more even.
Do's and Don'ts
  • Try to avoid wearing too much perfume directly on your skin, or if you can, wear none at all. Perfume contains alcohol which will make your tan fade and it often happens in patches.
  • Avoid mineral oil/baby oil, and check if it's in your products. It breaks down fake tan and can leave you looking patchy.
  • SPF's higher than 30 can also ruin your tan and start to break down the product, however, if you feel you need to wear an SPF that high, sun protection is more important.
  • The acidity in sweat breaks down fake tan, so when you go to the gym try to shower as soon as possible after exercising. If you do go patchy, try applying a gradual tanner after you've showered as this will even out the patches.
  • Try to avoid baths, and take showers instead. A long soak in water will cause your tan to fade faster.
  • Moisturise everyday! I know this is a given, but it makes a huge difference.
  • Exfoliate gently everyday to every couple of days. I suggest using exfoliating gloves gently everyday and a scrub before you re-apply.

Where else you can find me:


  1. Hey, great blog, i love it!

  2. Good guide! I'm crap at false tanning so this was handy to read :) xx

  3. @Kotryna Thank you!x
    @Carlito86 Thanks hun, glad you enjoyed! :) x

  4. oh wow!! thats one informative post :) i don't think i'd ever wanna get tanned since i'm a bit tan-ish but if i did this would be really helpful :) New follower here i'd love if you follow back

  5. WOW! :) so lovely blog. i'll be here OFTEN! :)
    what's more i want to wish you happy easter. <3
    come to me and follow if you want, BIG KISS.


  6. Such a great post! So informative. I'm really glad for the extra attention you spent on sharing the techniques that work for you. Those are always helpful


  7. @Peach crush Thank you!xx
    @Anna Thank you. Happy easter to you too xx
    @Christina Thanks hun! I'm glad you liked it :) xx

  8. Thanks for the tips, i am hideously pale I need to do something about it and I may do so now.x

  9. Love this post! I am breaking out the fake tan this week seeing as I have a week off! I am trying Zen-Tan Dark for a change, things could get messy! xx

  10. Very helpful! wish I would have come across this sooner! Im a new follower, and look forward to reading more from you. Follow me too? :)

  11. Thanks for all the tips and info! Great post!


  12. Sorry I haven't replied to all these comments yet...feel really bad!
    @Lou Reblas You're welcome hunny...can't believe anyone made it through this whole post.xx
    @Stacey Thank you! Let me know how Zen-tan goes.xx
    @RinaMarie Thank you, so sweet of you!!xx
    @Kasia Thank you!xx


  13. Very Informative! This blog is great source of information which is very useful for me. Thank you very much for sharing this!

    Best Fake Tan


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