Top tips for a perfect fake tan

Most of us love the look of a golden tan but getting this healthy look naturally comes with serious risks. Fake tan, however, provides a simple and safe solution and, done correctly, can give you a natural sun-kissed glow whatever the weather. Here are our top tips for a getting it right.

Fake tan guide

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First of all, it's essential that you get the right colour for your skin tone. Avoid the horror of an orange hue or the leather look by using a fake tan that fits your own skin.

Fair-skinned tanners should opt for a gradual tanner and there are a host of moisturisers on the market that build up your tan to help you achieve the right colour for your skin. Mousses and spray or gel-based products are ideal for a medium skin tone, while lotions often provide the darkest finish so are perfect if you are naturally dark-skinned.

If you are new to fake tan, it's a good idea to build up the colour up gradually as you would on the beach. Start with a light application and allow to develop - you can always top up and by building up gradually your tan will be more even and last longer.

Before you start lathering on the lotion, be sure to get your skin in good condition. If you are waxing, do so 48 hours before you apply the tan, or shave 24 hours prior to application. It is essential that you exfoliate (preferably 24 hours in advance) to remove dead skin. Moisturising before you tan is also a good idea and pay particular attention to dry areas such as elbows and knees in order to prevent a build-up of tan in those areas.

In order to avoid white bits, work methodically from top to bottom or vice versa so that you know you haven't missed anything. If you are using latex gloves or a mitt, careful not to rub the lotion in too much as you'll end up with an uneven tan. Keep your fingers together and apply with the whole hand to avoid a streaky result and if you are using latex gloves or a mitt, be careful not to overdo the rubbing.

For a natural facial glow, either opt for a specially-formulated product or mix your existing all-over body product with a little moisturiser. Begin with the areas that would naturally catch the sun, such as the forehead, cheeks and nose, then move outwards to blend naturally. For hands and feet, work the tanning product downwards from the legs or arms rather than applying directly, or you may end up with hands that stand out.

If you're glove-free though, remember to wash your hands thoroughly after application - orange palms is never a good look.

Once the tan has gone on, wait five minutes before rubbing the skin gently with damp hands to blend the colour and remember to keep moisturising to retain that gorgeous glow.