I feel like there’s barely a week that passes without someone commenting on how pale I am. I live in Scotland, and so as a result I spent about 90% of my year being ghostly pale and I actually like it – for the most part. Usually, pale works for me. It can be a struggle finding drugstore foundations or concealers that are light enough for my milky complexion, and I swear sometimes my skin deflects light like snow, but I’ve never had that much of an issue with it.
That doesn’t mean, however, that I don’t like having a tan! Whilst I’m not entirely devoted to the bottle, I do love having a bit of a glow when special occasions roll around. I’m not all that experienced when it comes to applying tan, and as a result I much prefer gradual tanners like Cocoa Brown’s Gentle Bronze, but over the past couple of years I’ve learned a few little tips to help get that flawless glow without the cost of a trip to sunnier shores…
A good tan requires a bit of homework, and something I find to be the biggest influence in my application is how well I’ve prepped my skin beforehand. As someone with stupidly dry skin I know the perils of muddy looking dry patches all too well, so a thorough exfoliation beforehand is a must! I go through a lot of scrubs and can wholeheartedly say that Tough Stuff, again from Cocoa Brown, is one of the best out there. I think it says a lot about the brand that I love pretty much all of their range – it’s so easy to use and it just works. Which is what you want, isn’t it?
You can easily prevent the tan from sticking to unwanted areas with a little bit of legwork. Try a coat of Vaseline around your nails and brows to help protect them from staining, and be sure to use an oil-free moisturiser on your driest patches to encourage an even application.
Finding a method that works for you is so important, and as I mentioned before my preferred method is a gradual tanning moisturiser as it works well to build up a gentle, even colour on my dry skin. If I need a quicker, more noticeable colour I’ll opt for a mousse as it’s easy to apply and doesn’t dry too quickly, meaning you can make sure everywhere’s covered and it’s all rubbed in properly.
I always protect my hands when tanning, which is something I learned the hard way after one too many incidents of stained hands… Most self tanners work best with a mitt which can be picked up cheap as chips, however I like to use exfoliating gloves as I find they do the best job for me.
Apply the tan right up to the top of your neck to avoid that tell-tale ghost face, and if your tan of choice is non-comedogenic then apply it sparingly to your face or just opt for a slightly darker shade of foundation so it all matches seamlessly.
I usually tan at night to ensure it has plenty of time to develop before washing off in the morning, so I like to make sure that I give it plenty of time to dry before crawling in to bed and staining my lovely sheets. I make sure to wear old clothes that I don’t mind getting a little bit messy – the looser the better! When showering off the excess I try to avoid any harsh scrubs to keep my tan looking in tip top condition, and ensuring I keep my skin as moisturised as possible means the tan lasts a lot longer too.
Any little mistakes are easily fixed, especially with the amount of tan correcter wipes that are available now! Personally, I prefer to opt for a slightly more simple method – a lemon. Yup! Rubbing a lemon over those pesky little streaks or dry areas helps even out the colour for that flawless finish.