How to apply fake tan properly

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Fake tan virgin? Fed up of streaky tan disasters? Here's our step by step guide to getting your fake tan perfectly flawless and natural looking.

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© Getty - Handbag

Avoid fake tan disasters with our step-by-step guide to applying self-tan like a golden glow expert.

Prep your skin before tanning

Exfoliate your whole body (including hands, feet, knees and elbows) before you tan to get a smooth and even surface, then apply a light, oil-free moisturiser to stop your tan clinging to any dry areas.

Chose the right shade of tan

Lots of brands are launching 'darker than dark' tans this season, but if you want to look natural, forget the trends and pay attention to your skin tone. If you naturally go a light golden colour in the sun, try to stick to a similar shade when you're faking it.

Chose the right tan formula

Are you a mousse, lotion or spray-on self tanner? Do you want a guide colour to help you get even coverage, or something that's clear and won't rub off on your clothes? Though experimenting is the only way to really find out, we'd suggest you use a lotion with a guide colour if it's your very first time.

Start from the bottom and work your way up

Think about the ways in which you'll need to bend, before you start applying your tan. If you start with your feet, then work your way upwards to the legs, your middle, your arms and then lastly your face, you won't have to risk streaking your tan by creasing the skin while it's still wet.

Don't forget small body parts

The back of your neck, the middle of your back, elbows, the edges of your feet and backs of your ankles - these are all places people often forget about while applying fake tan.

Use a tool that's right for you

While tanning mits are preferred by professionals, some people like to get their fingers involved while applying fake tan. Road test a mit, sponge, or disposable gloves to find what works best for you. Don't use bare hands. Trust us on that.

Give your tan a chance to dry

Even quick drying tans need a few minutes to properly set. Give yourself some time to air dry before putting on your clothes.

Keep moisturising to protect your tan

Regularly moisturise your skin with an oil-free moisturiser in the days after your tan, to stop your skin drying out and to avoid it fading in uneven patches.

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