You know the tanning drill off by heart by now: you have your trusty tan match that you had to really work hard to find, you have your favourite tan mitt that you know won’t soak through to your hands, and you have worked out the best night of the week to tan so that you’re glowing in time for the weekend. But, sorry to break it to you, there is still more work to be done if you want to prolong and maintain that hard perfected tan.
A good tan isn’t just about the formula you apply; it’s about the preparation, the maintenance, the timing, and even how much hot water you use. If you want a tan that just won’t quit, follow our six-step routine and you will be glowing for longer than a week.
The key to the perfect tan that lasts is all in the prep! It’s easy to decide on a Thursday morning that you’re going to tan that night because you want to be glowing for a party on Saturday, but the reality is prepping for your tan should start on at least Tuesday.
Two days before you plan on tanning you need to give your skin the spa treatment. Clear the whole evening because you need to invest some serious time in exfoliating, removing stubborn tan patches, and waxing. I always recommend waxing rather than shaving before tanning because there is less chance of cuts, missed patches, and ingrown hairs.
As for those stubborn tan patches, once you’ve had a good old scrub, use Bondi Sands’ Tan Eraser to lift any left overs from your elbows, knees, feet and back of the ankles.
So, your preparation went well, and you’ve applied your favourite tan, but your summer skin isn’t safe just yet. If you want to keep that tan glowing and glowing you need to really work for it. Whether your tan is real or from a bottle, you need to keep it super hydrated – dry skin is a tan’s worst enemy.
A moisturiser that has been specifically designed to help you prolong your tan is a no brainer, like St. Tropez’s Prep and Maintain Tan Enhancing Moisturiser. Lather the moisturiser all over the body daily, and you know the drill, pay attention to the elbows, knees, hands, and feet.
Easy on the Hot Water
If you’re reading this in the winter months, sorry cool showers are on the menu if you want to look holiday fresh. Hot showers are not great for your tan or your skin in general as piping hot water can strip and dry your skin. Not ideal for a fresh tan.
Try cooling the shower temperature a little and using a super hydrating shower cream to keep skin moisturised and your tan happy.
Yes! You still have to exfoliate when you’re wearing false tan! A super super gentle exfoliation every couple of days will rid the skin of dead cells and any grime that dulls your glow and creates those grainy patches.
I’m going to repeat that this exfoliation has to be very gentle! Avoid chemical exfoliators that contain salicylic or glycolic acid as these will strip the tan and end the whole game. Try Aēsop’s Geranium Lead Body Scrub; it’s aggressive enough to buff away dead skin cells, but mild enough to polish and soften the skin when applied gently. Don’t forget to rehydrate the skin straight after exfoliating.
Keep On Top Of It
This is a pretty standard step in maintain a golden tan, and admittedly, it does feel a little bit like cheating but we all know the tried and tested way to prolong and maintain a tan is to apply a little bit more. Now, that doesn’t mean that you should be using the same tanning mousse or water that graced you with your original tan. Applying two, three, or four layers of dark false tan over a week is a disaster waiting to happen. You need a gradual lotion or serum that is going to nourish and enhance your original tanning.
I’m a big fan of Isle of Paradise’s Hyglo Face Self-Tan Serum. If you have a skincare routine longer than your weekly food shopping list, the tan on your face is going to fade and you’re going to end up with a paler face than the rest of your body. The Hyglo Face Self-Tan Serum is enriched with hyaluronic acid AND gradual tan to keep the skin glowing, plump, and hydrated. Tip: I apply this serum two days on, one day off to avoid the the orange danger zone.
If you need yet another reason why SPF is an absolute daily essential, it’s your hard-earned tan. A glowing summer tan, natural or false, needs to be protected from the drying, burning, and peeling effects of the sun. After all the hard work you’ve put into prepping, nourishing, and maintaining that glow, don’t fall at the final hurdle by burning then having your tan peel away. It’s just not worth it.