Glow getter

Should you fake your tan yourself, or pay someone else?

St-TropezWell, it really does just come down to preference. I prefer to be in charge of my own tan, but others prefer to leave it in the hands of professionals. Whichever you prefer, here is how to be a first class faker.


The art of self-tan application needn’t be complicated. You can get a gorgeous; even tan at home by following our top tips.

  1. The work will start a few days before you want to apply your tan. Spend a few minutes before each shower dry body brushing. This will remove any dead skin cells, and create a smooth surface on which to apply your tan.
  2. After each shower apply moisturiser over your whole body, and an extra layer to extra dry bits like elbows, knees and feet.
  3. Make sure you do any hair removal at least 24 hours before you tan. If you remove hair too close to application, you’ll get those nasty dark spots all over your legs.
  4. The day you want to tan, make sure your body is oil-free before you start. Oil will make you tan streak, so don’t apply any oil based creams before you apply the tan.
  5. Apply the self-tan from the bottom, up. Start at your feet and work upwards. Leave joints and dry areas until last, and only apply a very small amount to these areas. We recommend using a tanning mitt or latex gloves to apply your tan to avoid orange hands.
  6. Remove the gloves or mitt, and rub the tops of your hands down the length of your thighs – that way you will have tanned hands, but no orange palms!
  7. Always wait 15 minutes before dressing to allow the tan to dry. Wear dark, loose clothing for the rest of the specified time you have to wait before showering. It is very important that you stick to these guidelines if you want an even tan.
  8. Once your tan is developed, keep it looking fresh my not bathing in too hot water – this will make your tan lift. You should also moisturise everyday to keep your tan looking good. But make sure you opt for a non oily moisturiser or a cream designed to prolong your tan like Caribbean Tan Tan X-Tender Intense Body Butter, R49.95

TIP: An easier option is to use a gradual tanner. These are basically tinted moisturisers that gradually build-up a natural-looking tan over a few days. These make it very easy for you control the depth of your tan.

5 Best at-home self-tanners


Best daily gradual tan: Palmers Natural Bronze Gradual Tanner, R70 is great to use every day. It slowly builds up a natural looking glow.

Best for hydration: Tropitone Bronze It Medium Self Tan, R90 contains Monoi Tahitian Coconut Oil to deeply nourish and hydrate the skin.

Best weekly gradual tan: Xen Tan Luminous Gold Gel Weekly Self-Tan in Medium, R380 has a soft scent and the clever formula means you only need to apply it once a week to maintain a ‘luminous’ tan.

Best for instant results: OFRA RCK, R495 delivers an instant bronze tan. It won’t stain clothes and will wash off at the end of the day.

Best for different skin types: Caribbean Tan Tan In A Can Self Tan, R84.99 comes in 3 different skin shade options. A is for pale skin that never tans, B is for pale to medium skin tones and C is for olive skins.

Pay someone else

  1. Get into the habit of body brushing you skin everyday. Make sure you do it for at least a week before you go for your tan. The evenness of the tan depends greatly on the condition of the skin. Apply body cream in the morning and oils at night – this will mean you have no dry patches that the tan will stick to.
  2. Go to the salon with clean skin. Oils and creams will affect the tan; so don’t apply any the morning of your appointment. Wear loose, dark clothing and open shoes so that you don’t smudge the tan afterwards.
  3. Discuss the intensity of the tan you want with your therapist. Be very clear about this. You don’t want to come out looking like Valentino.
  4. Make sure your follow the after tan rules your therapist gives you. Time before showering etc. This is very important for the finish of your tan.
  5. Stay away from oil-based moisturisers when you have your fake tan. The oils can lift the colour, and cause patchiness.
  6. The key to a good tan is how it fades. Four days after your tan, you can start body brushing again to gently slough off any dead skin.
  7. Apply a gradual tanner to keep the colour fresh until your next salon visit.

My favourite salon brands are:

St Tropez

Caribbean Tan

Spray Tan