A golden glow is gorgeous in summer and, while a little bit of natural tan is unavoidable, you should stay out of the sun as much as possible and rely on your trusty fake tan instead.

At the start of summer, I talked about applying a fake tan to your (hopefully) lily-white skin.

Now I want to talk about applying a fake tan to your summer skin and also give some great tips to ensure parts of your body don’t end up significantly more tanned than other areas.

Fake tans have come a long way since those early years of obvious orange hues. Today most self-tanning products come in green and purple bases, designed to reduce redness and minimise orange or yellow undertones.

Self-tanning products work thanks to an ingredient called DHA. This is a natural derivative of sugar which, when combined with dead skin cells, will produce a darker pigment or stain in the skin. The higher the concentration of DHA, the darker your tan will be.

Almost all tanning ranges will have a variety of shades to choose from — light, medium and dark. If you are looking for a natural option and you are quite fair, light is the safest place to start. If you tend to tan naturally try a medium or dark.

Then, choose a medium:

- Mousse
- Cream
- Spray

Mousse and spray are not suitable for dry skin. As you apply the mousse, it will dry almost immediately. Using a mousse or spray on dry skin will result in patchy and uneven coverage because the tan will grip to areas of dead skin.

Cream is best for dry skin but if you perspire or your skin is oily, this type of self tan can be uncomfortable, leaving the skin feeling sticky and tacky.

If you decide to go with a gradual tan, make sure you give yourself one selected day a week to exfoliate. This way you will keep a fresher, natural glow and a more even result.

You can also select how long you want your tan to develop for. Some tans can develop in an hour and get darker each consecutive hour. Others may need eight hours to develop before you can wash it off. If you are sensitive to smell or prefer not to feel the tan while you sleep, choose an intensive tan but leave it on for a minimum time frame.

1. Exfoliate your skin, especially dry areas — knees, elbows and ankles.

2. Shave, wax and do all hair removal at least 24 hours before your tan, especially if you have sensitive skin.

3. Ensure there is no perfume, deodorant or moisture on your skin.

4. Use a tanning mitt to work the product over your arms and blend the excess into the hands. Do the same with the legs and feet. Never start at the hands or feet, this will always result in dark gloves and socks.

5. Do your tanning at night, when you can wear loose clothing.

6. To prolong your tan, moisturise your skin daily in the lead up to your tan (except on application day) and daily after you wash off your tan.


Remember your face is always the first place to fade, being an area that gets cleansed twice daily, is under make-up and gets exposed to the elements of the day. Bear this in mind when applying your tan but be careful not to over-compensate or you could end up with different shades on your face and body.


© The West Australian