My 8 Top Tips to a Perfect Fake Tan

If you know me, you’ll know that I’m a serial faux-tanner and that I have been for the past 12 years. And trust me – products have changed and evolved SO much over the years, thank the lord! Back then there was often no colour guide, products were so drying and they smelt bad! Let alone all they seemed to do is create a faint orange tinge. In comparison, we are now spoilt for choice with so many brilliant products out there allowing you to create an easy, beautiful and natural faux glow. But it can be overwhelming.

So many people constantly come to me for tanning tips, whether they’re wanting to know about where to go for a spray tan (random side note: I used to own a spray tan machine when I was at uni and tanned about 20 people a week at one point – I even made it into The Denizen Beauty Directory for the best spray tans one year!), what product is best to use to get a deep tan or how to apply. It’s about time I share with all of you my secrets, as I am rather full of knowledge and experience in the tanning department and there’s nothing I love more than sharing a good beauty secret that can help my fellow beauty lovers out there. You should also try and avoid naturally tanning in the sun, because we aren’t protected down here in New Zealand and skin cancer is a serious problem. So here I am, helping you to battle the overwhelm, look after your skin and achieve your very own perfect faux-glow. Here we go…

1. A good professional spray tan. I thought I would put this here first – there is nothing I love more than a fresh spray tan! They are SO good these days and the market is full of organic products that create a deep bronzed tan. I love this option if I have an extra special event and when I’m feeling a little lazy. My favourite place to go is Tan in the City in Remuera. Jess is AMAZING and I trust her no matter what the event or what kind of tan I’m going for (sometimes I’ll go more natural and sometimes I’ll go darker). 

2. Exfoliation. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not really an application that can ruin a tan, there’s nothing that can ruin a tan more than bad prep. Before you tan, always exfoliate 24 hours before. And when I say exfoliate, really give it a go! I love using an exfoliating glove for this always, sometimes I’ll mix it up and use a body scrub along with the glove, but a body scrub won’t tend to give you a good exfoliation without. Focus on any dry patches on your body or where there is any tan build up from last time. Leaving exfoliation too close to re-application time can mean there won’t be enough dead skin cells for the tan to adhere to. If you’re short on time 12 hours is okay. But I’ve done it straight before tanning and I still do it sometimes when I’m desperate for a new tan but the colour never develops as nicely. This is also when you should be doing any shaving! Never shave your legs your legs right before a tan as it opens up the pores. If you forget, I always do this after my tan. An absolute life-saver product that I have been using for almost the past year is the Bondi Sands Tan Eraser. Simply pop this on your skin before showering and leave for 5 minutes to do its thing. The tan then washes away when you rub it off in the shower, but this only works on tans 5 days old and works best on tans 7+ days old. It’s been a lifesaver for me and the only tan remover that I’ve tried that works!


Bondi Sands Tan Eraser, RRP $24.95 for 200ml.

3. Moisturise. Making sure your skin is hydrated before tanning is important so it doesn’t grab to any dry areas. What I like to do is after exfoliating 24 hours beforehand, I’ll lather myself in a rich moisturiser. I’ll then wash this and any deodorant and perfume off in my next shower before my tan. Every single time I DIY tan, after my shower and before tanning, I’ll cover my hands, wrists, feet and ankles in moisturiser. I use the Eco Store Body Lotion for this but I’ve used lots of others and all of them have been fine, just make sure it’s rich. I like to use my normal face moisturiser for my face. I’ll get cover how to tan these areas below.

4. The best products. Okay, now for my obsession! This is completely not sponsored however I am lucky enough to be sent it sometimes (but I tan so much I’m always repurchasing) and I have been using it for years, the Bondi Sands Self-Tanning Foam is the business! I like to use the Ultra Dark, and it just creates the most beautiful, even, natural deep tan. You’d never believe how naturally white I am and the colour for me is amazing. It also smells like coconut! This is my all time favourite, my second choice would be the St Tropez Express Tan mousse but you can’t compete with the price of Bondi Sands. Always use a tanning mitt – you’ll never get it off your hands otherwise! 


Bondi Sands Self-Tanning Foam Ultra Dark, RRP $23.95 for 200ml.

5. Application. There are a couple of things you’ll want to focus on for application. Firstly, wait at least 15 minutes after your shower so your skin is completely dry and smother your hands and feet in moisturiser. Also make sure you aren’t doing this in a steamy bathroom. Break your tan down into sections, I like to start on my lower legs using a pump for each, then I work my way up my body. Use circular motions to blend and work quickly. Only ever use what is left on your mitt to blend into your knees and elbows. I then repeat this whole process with a second layer (if you’re doing this for the first time try one layer first to see how deep the tan leaves you). Leave your hands and feet and face to last (I use this on my face too, btw). A special little trick I like to use is using an old fluffy makeup brush, I’ll put the size of about a pea of the tanning mousse on the brush for my feet, and blend that into my feet and ankles using circular motions again. For my hands I use less than the size of a pea. For my face, probably about the size of two peas but I do this in sections as it’s easier to blend. Just make sure you have followed the moisturising step first, I have so much moisturiser on my hands and feet that it almost looks wet.

6. Post tanning. Leave your tan to dry for 5 minutes before putting on loose clothing. I normally do this before bed so I can just wear my PJs and sleep. The trick with this is you will want to make sure you don’t over heat during the night because sweating can make the tan uneven, and I wear long pyjamas so I don’t sleep with my hand resting on an arm or leg which can end up making your hand orange. It also washes out of my white cotton sheets fine! The long pyjamas helps with minimising this. If you stuff up anywhere, use an exfoliating glove in the shower the next day. The first shower you take you’ll want to make sure it is short and sweet and not too hot, as hot water encourages your skin to naturally exfoliate.

7. Extending your tan. This is pretty straight forward. Keep your showers short, no baths, swimming and exercising will make it fade more quickly but sometimes that is just life. Pat your skin dry after a shower and always use heaps of moisturiser. I haven’t always used this but I’ve recently been loving the Bondi Sands Everyday Gradual Tanning Milk to extend my tan. It has the most beautiful cocoa butter scent and combats dry skin at the same time. You’ll know when your tan has had enough and it’s time to start exfoliating it off. This is anywhere between 5 – 9 days depending on your skin cell turnover.

Bondi Sands Gradual Tanning Milk 375ml

Bondi Sands Gradual Tanning Milk, RRP $22.99 for 375ml.

 8. If you want a deeper tan. If you’ve tanned and washed off the guide and your tan isn’t dark enough for you, don’t be scared to do another layer. Just follow the same steps without the exfoliating and you can build up a deeper colour. I would avoid doing this any later than two days from your original tan as this may encourage patchiness later on in your tan.

Some more random tips:

– The Eco Tan Face Water and James Read Face Tanning Mist are both amazing, and I’d recommend using a tanning water instead of a mousse on your face if you suffer from breakouts

– Running an ice cube over your legs and face before tanning will close the pores and stop tan settling into them

– If you’re struggling to get a tan off, soak in a hot bath before exfoliating

I hope you enjoyed reading this and learnt something! If you have any specific questions let me know, would be more than happy to give advice! Love your self-proclaimed tanning expert xo



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