A Beginner’s Guide to Fake Tanning

Hello everyone!

I find life is better with a tan; you look instantly healthier, teeth look whiter and any skin related issues I’ve been having pack their bags and I’m confident to do and wear just about anything – without going abroad.

I know fake tanning can instil the fear of God into any novice, but like with any great art practise makes perfect.

So without further ado, this is how I get my tan on point;

Step 1

After a quick whizz around with the razor I use Soap & Glory Flake Away body scrub to exfoliate at least one day before I tan. I absolutely adore the Soap & Glory body scrubs – they’re chunky and really do the job leaving your body silky smooth and smelling gorgeous. If you want your tan to last as long as possible avoid having to shave your legs as this will take the best part of your top layer of skin off – and with it your tan! Exfoliating beforehand will get rid of the dead skin so your tan won’t be flaking away after 5 minutes.

I recommend doing this at least a day before you’re planning to tan as after shaving and exfoliating your pores will be open and sensitive – slathering a load of tan on will only cause irritation.

Choose a rich moisturiser that is going to really hydrate your skin deeply and leave you with a smooth surface to apply tan onto. I use Soap & Glory body butter in either Sugar Crush or Smoothie depending on which scent I fancy. Now let this sink in and work its magic.

Step 2


So by now, you’re 24 hours into the future and ready to get bronzed.

After years of applying my fake tan with a sock (sorry Dad) I finally treated myself a few years ago and got a professional tanning mitt. You can go all out and spend £20 odd on a St Tropez one or Superdrug do a cheapy version for a couple of quid. Whatever you do DON’T USE YOUR HANDS! There’s nothing more obvious or off-putting than a hand that has clearly been saturated with fake tan and you’ll gain all kinds of nicknames e.g. Dorito Hands/Carrot Fingers/Oompa Loompa.

If you have stubborn dry patches of skin, lightly pat some Vaseline onto these areas to avoid a concentrated patch of tan clinging there – this will be a total giveaway that you’re not naturally the glowing picture of health in mid January (who isn’t?). I put this on my elbows, a dot on my knees and on any dry patches on my feet.

I use Superdrug’s Solait tan for a medium-dark tan, the mousse formula makes it easy to put on and see where you’ve applied plus it has a fragrant tropical scent which makes a nice change from the usual ‘biscuit’ smell that goes hand in hand with fake tan. I previously used St Moriz but found this has a weird green undertone that did not suit my skin tone at all and the Solait range comes in at around £5 a bottle.


Pump this onto your mitt and get to work. I normally find one layer is enough and don’t worry if it looks a bit muddy once you’ve first applied, that’s the top layer of the tan which will wash away to reveal a golden goddess beneath.

Tip: Get your mum/boyfriend/friend to check you haven’t missed a spot.

The best time to let your tan develop is overnight as you don’t want to be getting it all over your clothes and you definitely don’t want to be caught in the rain.

I’m banned from sleeping in the bed with fake tan so I’m banished to an evening airing myself out on a towel on the sofa. I would say 5 hours is the minimum I would wait for my tan to develop if you’re not using an instant tan so get your dressing gown on and put Riverdale on because only the very brave will be leaving the house.

Step 3

You’ve woken up looking deranged – don’t worry. Hop in the shower and let the water wash away the muddy top coat. Once you’re sure the excess tan has been removed, pat yourself dry gently – this is when your tan is most vulnerable, look after it!

You’re bronzy, illuminated and ready to take on the world.

I start by moisturising like a turkey at Christmas – I want this tan to last! If there are any dry patches moisturising now will subdue them.

The Palmer’s body care range go brilliantly with my tanning routine, their body oil is lovely to help moisturise your tan without disturbing it. The Palmer’s Gradual Tanning Lotion kills two birds with one stone as it’ll keep your tan topped up and smells delicious. I use this for my face as it’s not quite as dark and is gentle on your skin.

If I’m heading out with my legs on show I’ll use Tanya Burr’s Body Illuminator to give my legs an extra glow.

Voila! You’ve made it from zero to hero, give yourself a pat on the back.

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Thanks for reading,

Francesca x

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