The Tan Commandments
Don’t just slap it on, there’s an art to looking sunkissed – and some simple rules to get you there
Whether you’re looking to extend that healthy glow picked up during our recent sunny spell (and the man from New Zealand says we haven’t seen the last of it), or looking to fake the feel-good factor of sunkissed skin, a little help from a self-tanner will hold on to that holiday feeling. But it’s not just a matter of slapping on a bit of colour post shower – achieving the most natural result requires a little body prep.
Hairy legs don’t look any better with a tan, so don’t even think about starting your tan plan without getting them smooth and hair-free.
An all-over body scrub will slough away dead skin cells leaving a smoother surface for a more even application. Choose an oil-free body wash (oils can leave a residue on the skin which blocks tanning action). Use an exfoliating glove or a hemp mitt (the Body Shop does a good one) and work in a circular motion.
A light layer of moisturiser applied all over will help the tan spread more evenly. Concentrate on drier areas such as elbows, knees and ankles and give it 15 minutes to sink in.
Want to avoid the tell-tale signs you’ve been self-tanning? Your palms will gladly soak up colour so don’t give them the chance by wearing a tanning mitt or latex gloves.
READY, STEADY, TAN
Start at your feet and work your way up. Don’t apply tan directly to those previously mentioned dry areas, just give them a cursory sweep with the residue left on the glove.
When colouring the classically pale Irish skin, tanning expert Nichola Joss (pictured below on set with Kate Moss) recommends St Tropez Self Tan Mousse, €25.41. “It gives a sheer fine coverage that gently buffs onto the skin and, using a mitt, ensures a streak-free radiant finish. Because it works in harmony with your skintone you won’t end up with an unnatual looking or too dark result.”
She’s also a fan of contouring – clever shading which optically shapes different areas. Heres’s her simple way to shave inches off. “After applying a layer of self-tan mousse all over the body, add a second sweep of colour to the inner thighs and buff gently. This gives a shadow appearance and adds shape and contour.”
To add a curve to your waistline sweep a second buff of self-tan mousse, using the mitt, to the sides of the waist and gently buff inwards. For cleavage, add a tiny amount of self-tan to the mitt and buff inner cleavage area to add definition and shadow.
To extend the life of a natural tan, Joss recommends using a gradual tanning product which gently builds a light glow to the skin while keeping it moisturised and soft.