I've tried many a tan as seen in my previous posts, but was recently sent these tanning tips from Vita Liberata which I've followed and ended up with a beautifully flawless tan. As tempting as it is to keep this little secret to myself, I thought it only fair to share these top tips as well as my tantastic recommendations!
Skin must be smooth and clean: if you need to wax or shave, make sure you do this in advance of your tanning. It is generally advised to wax 48 hours before you tan, and shave 24 hours before. You should also DRY exfoliate before tanning – so apply a body polish all over your body, carefully massaging the exfoliating beads into your dry skin for several minutes, then rinse off in a shower. Make sure you have nothing on your skin, including deodorant, as this creates a barrier to the tan. The ‘white armpit’ look is a sure giveaway that you’ve been faking it!
Hydrate your skin: Dry, thirsty skin will always lead to an uneven tan, but what most people don’t realise is that standard moisturisers create a barrier to the active tanning ingredient (DHA) in self tanners. Vita Liberata have created a Skin Plumping Peptide Mist, which hydrates your skin thoroughly, but also balances the pH of your skin; another relatively unknown fact is that the pH level of your skin affects how well it absorbs DHA, and the pH level is governed by lifestyle factors such as how often (and how much) you drink, as well as your hormone levels, so the Peptide Mist ensures your skin is perfectly balanced at the right level of pH to absorb tan efficiently.
Use a mitt: A mitt not only protects your hands from unsightly ‘stains’, but it also guarantees even coverage. If you don’t have a mitt to hand, or prefer to use your fingers to work the tan in, latex gloves are a good alternative.
General: Tan one area of your body at a time, starting with your lower legs. Use wide, sweeping motions working up the leg – as this avoids you smudging anything you’ve already tanned. It’s often best to apply your tan in front of a full length mirror, so you can see how you have applied the tan to parts of your body that are not immediately obvious or easy to see, like the inside of your knee, and of course your back…
Back: A simple trick to achieve a flawless finish on your back (if you don’t have someone you can ask to do it for you!) actually involves cling film; lay a long strip of it on the floor, and apply a small amount of your self tan to the middle. If you carefully pick this up by either end and hold it up behind you, you can sweep it over the centre of your back moving the cling film as if you were drying your back with a towel. Magic!
Face: Exfoliate and cleanse your skin thoroughly to make sure the skin is smooth and clean. Dab your face with an ice cold damp cloth to ensure your pores are closed. The facial pores are incredibly sensitive, and if your tan seeps into them this can cause them to block and lead to spots. Apply liberally as you would apply a moisturiser on face and neck, blending down to décolleté and taking care on the hair line. Wipe upper lip and eyebrows with a dry towel to ensure they are not overly dark.
Hands: When applying to the hands keep the fingers closed to avoid tanning between them (this would look very unnatural). Work away from the nails toward the back of the hand to avoid staining the nail bed. Now open the fingers and gently blend the side of each finger in turn. Wipe the knuckles and nails with a slightly damp cloth to remove any excess product for a superbly natural finish.
Feet: For perfect ‘beach feet’, firstly imagine you have been on a beach holiday for 2 weeks. The sun will only hit the tops of your feet, and the bottom half of the sides will remain untanned. Apply your tan with this thought in mind, blending halfway down the sides and then wiping the blend with a dry cloth to give a totally natural finish. Always work away from the nail bed, back up the foot and blend at the ankle.
Maintenance: Obviously allow your tan to dry before getting dressed, but once it is dry, be careful about what other products you are putting on your skin. What people don’t realise, is that innocent looking shower products and moisturisers can strip your tan off almost instantly. Anything that contains lemon, lavender, essential oils, salt, mineral oil or petroleum can strip the tan off, as can your regular bar of soap. Read the labels of your favourite bathroom essentials, and wherever possible, avoid soaking in a bath as this will also speed up the natural fade of the tan.