Glow-getters, it’s time to dust off your flip flops and get ready to slip into that swimming costume, because tanning season is officially on! With the summer holidays just a few weeks away, there’s no better time to start prepping your skin for a healthy, sun-kissed golden glow. If you love the confidence-boosting glow of a tan, but don’t want to risk damaging your skin in the sun, then a faux tan is the obvious answer. But, as easy as it is to get a glow from a bottle, there are some tips and tricks to perfecting your sunless tan to ensure a natural-looking result.
Here’s how to achieve the perfect, golden self-tan at home and our picks for the best products to get you there:
Weapon of choice
The first trick to guaranteed success when faux tanning at home is to choose the best products for your skin. The products you choose will greatly depend on the result you’re after, but I think we can all agree the best fake tan is one that looks natural. Orange isn’t a good look on anyone, so you want to make sure you choose a product that will give you a natural-looking, streak-free glow.
Mousses and lotions are arguably one of the most popular ways to fake tan and are great for both tanning newbies and even the most experienced tanners. They are easy to apply and generally guarantee a streak-free result.
If you’re looking to achieve a streak-free deeper coloured tan with a professional finish, the St Moriz Tanning Mousse in Dark is a must-try. This Self-Tanning Mousse will leave you with a deep bronze, natural-looking tan, plus it’s packed with Aloe Vera and Vitamin E to keep your skin silky smooth and your tan looking flawless, so you can glow for days.
Even better news? All the products are water-based, so there’s no need to worry about getting post-self-tan stains on your clothes or bedding, as it can be easily washed out. Lightly fragranced, with the unique St Moriz signature scent, the products in the St Moriz range are also clean, vegan-friendly, non-toxic and cruelty-free, so there’s zero compromising on your ethics for the ultimate faux glow. The St Moriz Tanning Mousse retails for R150 at Clicks.
We all know, one of the most difficult places to get a perfect tan is the face. For me, it’s the most daunting area to apply fake tanner, because, the stakes are high if you mess it up. Enter, Skinny Tan Face Moisturising Tanning Drops; this genius product turns applying self-tan to your face into child’s play. It truly is the best face tanning product and enables you to turn any of your existing face care products into tanner. Even better, you can choose the level of your tan and adjust it to look as natural as possible.
The high-quality, concentrated tanning drops are packaged in a pipette droplet bottle, so you can add as much, or as little, to your favourite day cream as you prefer. For a light tan, just 1 drop will do the trick, 2 for a medium tan, and 3 to go darker. You can even add the product to your sunscreen, so you tan every time you apply cream to protect your skin from harmful rays. These little glow drops are fast-absorbing, and the product melts into the skin quickly, without leaving a sticky residue. The product is also scented with Skinny Tan’s signature coconut and caramel scent, so there’s no biscuit smell here! The product retails for a recommended price of R 249.95.
If you’re new to tanning and want to test the waters, then say hello to Skinny Tan Choc Instant Tan Melt. This divinely scented melt, with real cocoa extract, gives you an instant natural colour that washes off with soap and water. If you don’t have time for a full tan session when heading out the door then this will no doubt be a saviour this summer. It’s like tanning for dummies, without the commitment! This decadent chocolate tanner lasts all day and is super easy to apply. Plus, it’s suitable for the face and body and has a beautiful satin finish. The tan melt is available in two colours, Milk or Dark Choc, and retails for a recommended price of R249.95.
Busy babes who are new to tanning will also love the St Moriz Golden Glow Moisturiser. This easy-to-use self-tan product is a great way to secure a sun-kissed glow without little effort and know-how. It’s a gradual tanner that is applied daily, like a lotion, to gradually build a natural glow. For anyone who is new to the self-tan game, this fabulous product is basically a foolproof way to ensure a streak-free, natural-looking glow. Plus, applying it daily will ensure your skin stays soft and moisturised, killing two birds with one stone! The product is available at a recommended price of R150.
Get ready for tanning
Achieving your tan goal is easier than you imagine. First things first, get your scrub on and exfoliate and shave at least 24 hours before you plan on applying your fake tanner. This gives your skin time to settle and your pores a chance to close. Exfoliation helps remove dead skin cells and even out the skin’s surface to help your tan last for longer!
Before applying your tanning product, make sure you grab an applicator mitt and save your hands the embarrassment of post-tanning stains. A good tanning mitt will also help you to achieve a streak-free, flawless application. Many self-tan brands offer their own version of tanning mitts, but I love using the Skinny Tan Dual Tanning Mitt.
Skinny Tan’s Dual Tanning Mitt is double-sided with a high density, super soft velvet finish for a smooth tanning application every time. The mitt is water-resistant, so the inner keeps your hands stain-free, and it is double-quality stitched to wash and wear over and over again. I’ve been using the same Skinny Tan mitt for a year, and it’s still going strong. I wasn’t so sure about spending R129 on a tanning mitt, but this long-lasting mitt is a game-changer when it comes to applying fake tan.
To use the mitt, simply dispense the tanning product onto your mitt and apply it to your body in small circular motions, starting with your legs. If you are using a product with a guide colour, you’ll be able to see if there are any areas you’ve missed. Areas like your knees, elbows and hands can be some of the trickiest to tan! To avoid streaks, bend your knees and elbows when applying and form a claw shape with your hands. You may feel a bit silly, but it’ll all be worth it when you become a glowing goddess!
If you’re serious about achieving a flawless faux glow, then you simply must also invest in a Skinny Tan Miracle Brush. I don’t know where this little brush has been all my life, but I’m so glad it’s finally made an appearance! This little miracle tanning application brush is the ideal tool for flawless tan application and blending. The brush is ultra-soft and ergonomically shaped, for easy application of any self-tan product onto smaller trouble areas such as the hands, feet, face and neck. The unique angled brush shape allows for easy application on hard to reach areas and creases, while the premium, ultra-soft synthetic bristles effortlessly blend tan into the skin for flawless, streak-free results.
To use, simply deposit a small amount of self-tan onto the area of application, and buff with the Miracle Brush in circular motions until blended. Rinse the brush with lukewarm, soapy water and leave it to dry before storing it in a clean place. The brush retails for a recommended price of R299.95.
Put your feet up
You may be done tanning, but it’s not over! Before getting dressed, make sure your tan is fully dry, so you don’t end up with a blotchy finish. Self-tan gurus, St Moriz recommends wearing loose, dark clothing to avoid any transfer. However, don’t stress if you do get a bit of product on your clothes or bedding. If you’re using a water-based tanning product, like St Moriz, stains can be easily washed out.
Once you’re dressed take it easy and put your feet up, whilst your tan develops — on average, it usually takes between 4-6 hours for a faux tan to develop, but if you’ve got things to do, waiting a few minutes for your tan to dry should be enough to ensure you don’t ruin your tan. Once you’ve reached your glow goals, simply wash away the guide colour, avoiding any soaps, shower gels or shampoo, and you’re good to go and strut your sun-kissed stuff in style!
After years of working as an Editor and writer for popular websites like Joburg’s Darling, Cape Town’s Darling and Joburg.co.za, Crystal left her sanity and an established career in lifestyle journalism behind to follow her dream of creating a website for the intellectual and discerning woman. Today she spends her time chasing the thrill of being the first to know about ‘the next big thing’. She’ll try anything once and has been known to put her body, hair and health on the line – all in the name of research.