A blog for fashion, beauty, hair, cosmetics and lifestyle

29 May 2012

How to fake tan: Application and Maintainance

After my post on the Lauren's Way fake tan, I've been emailed with so many questions so thought I'd do an extensive how to guide on perfect fake tanning.

Applying Fake Tan

1. Exfoliate! This is really important as you want the dead skin cells which suck up the tanning chemical to be gone. Especially around your knees, elbows, feet and underarms as these places cling to fake tan. Just have a scrub in the shower and you should be sorted. Also if you wax or shave, now is the time to do it because both methods (especially waxing) after fake tanning will ruin your tan.

2. Barrier! Apply a thick moisturiser to the following places

These are... feet, knee fronts and backs, armpits extending onto the chest, elbows front and back, hands (palms, backs and a bit on the inner wrist). If you want a lighter tan you can apply moisturiser all over.

3. Orange palms!  Put on some gloves (you can get them cheaply from Boots) or if you are using a mousse a mitt is good. I prefer gloves as  I like to mix half moisturiser and half fake tan in between weekly intense tans.

4. Tan! Using the fake tan, apply all over your body, rubbing in to remove and streaks and covering every area properly excluding hands (obviously, as you have gloves on) and the face. Make sure it's evenly applied. Fake tans with an indicator dye (such as St Tropez, Lauren's Way and St Moritz among others have this) are really helpful as you can see where you applied.

-  Mix half moisturiser and half fake tan to do the collar bones and backs on the hands (pull the glove off a little to do the backs). You can't mix in enough moisturiser on your hands - you don't want them to look dark so if you want, you can also apply hand cream to dilute the tan further. Make sure the diluted tan covers between your fingers, the knuckle wrinkles and the sides of your hands too like a natural tan would.

- Take off the gloves

5. Tan your face. Using a flat cotton cosmetic pad, pump 1 pump of your ususal face moisturiser and 1 pump of fake tan onto the pad, mix with a cotton bud and then apply to the face and neck making sure it’s all even, you’ve done under your jaw line (like with foundation) and around the ear area, blending in with the hairline. Use a clean cotton bud dipped in water/makeup remover to then remove the tan from your eyebrows and upper lip – you don’t want a fake tan moustache!

6. Let it develop. Sleep with as much covering as possible or your sheets will go orange and wash off in the morning! Most fake tans take around 4 hours to develop. Don't worry in the morning if the tan looks streaky on your skin, that's ok and underneath you'll have a lovely even tan so go shower and wash it off (and have a giggle at the orange water!)


This part is the one that most people worry about and ask "does this tan go streaky, does it fade in patches?" but here's the science - ALL FAKE TANS WILL GO PATCHY UNLESS YOU MAINTAIN THEM! Skin cells naturally fall off at different rates all over your body so unless you keep buffing your skin they will inevitably go patchy. Here's how you make a tan fade naturally.

1. Buff! This might seem a little odd seeing as you spent so long applying your tan, but you have to buff off the dead cells that cling to tan. I love these exfoliating gloves from Boots and at £2.66 you can't go wrong. Get them wet in the shower, apply your favourite shower gel and just scrub all over. They're gentle enough that they don't remove your tan but good enough that it makes the tan fade.

2. Moisturise. Your skin cells need the moisture and somehow (don't ask me how, my science doesn't go that far) moisturising makes the tan last longer. Especially if you use one of those gradual tan moisturisers.

3. Half and Half. Midway through the week, mix half moisturiser and half fake tan and apply all over to keep that in-between tans glow.

4. Reapply - most people reapply fake tan once a week if they don't want to be orange.

Remember. - if your tan isn't dark enough for you after one application, apply for a few nights consecutively and this will build up the colour.

Hope this guide is helpful.  Happy safe tanning!


  1. Thank you, this was very helpful!

  2. Ahhh, excellent post Lauren! Thank you!

  3. Such a good post Lauren. After I get paid next I will buy Laurens Way as I think it looks great:)

    Carol x

  4. Great post, I'm only just getting used to fake tan application so am still very wary of making fake tan errors and ending up all streaky! x

  5. Great post- though link to Lauren's way took me to a different post? I love love your pink ombré- how did u do it? Www.pret-a-style.com

    1. Awe thanks love. Here's my post where I show how I did it http://laurenlovesblog.co.uk/2012/04/matching-hair-and-lips-dip-dyed-hair.html xxxxx

  6. Thanks for letting me know. How strange! All fixed now x

  7. its the patchy fading thing i cant stand and it puts me off so i tend to use immediate colour for this reason. im gonna try the exfoliating gloves in between and see if this helps. thanks for the tips!

  8. I'm loving fake tan in this sure weather and applied st Moriz a week ago! Now I'm ready to top up, should I scrub and scrub to remove all the fake tan that's remaining or just exfoliate well and reapply? Xxx

  9. I'd have a good scrub in the shower, moisturise and reapply xxx

  10. Very good blog :)

    What Tans do you recommend x

  11. I am confused as to whether when you want to reapply your tan at the end of the week, you first need to scrub off ALL of the tan that is still left (so you are back to completely pale). Or is a good scrub enough even if some of the tan remains? Even if I scrub very hard, I find some tan remains and so have been waiting a few days (and being very pale) until it all goes which I hate! Thank you for your help!

  12. Hiya

    Just a good scrub will be ok, don't worry about removing all the tan because then you'll be going pale and dark every week and it'll look strange! x

  13. Natalie - I love St Moriz and St Tropez best! x

  14. Thanks for answering the scrubbing question! Much appreciated. I love a bit of colour but just had a mole removed which turned out to be nasty so it is only fake tan for me now! By the way, a friend told me to try Vita Liberata Phenomenal - I have to say I really like it so far!

  15. So how often do you "buff?"" Every other day in the shower?


Blogger Template Created by pipdig