8 tips to achieve the perfect self-tan

According to the best in the business.

There are two types of people in the world. Those that apply self-tan, and those that get it applied for them.

While both have their pros and cons, the former tends to allow for much greater room for error.

You might think you have the whole ‘bronzed goddess’ thing nailed, but a self-tanner always has a tell. Whether it’s your hands, elbows, feet or underarms, every tanner has a spot they’re ashamed of.

Speaking on behalf of all tanners everywhere, it’s time this shame was banished for good. The crisis has gone on far too long. To end all tanning nightmares once and for all, we went to the best in the business.

With an excess of self-tan products stocked at Mecca, and a client list including the likes of Naomi Campbell and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, it’s safe to say James Read is that person.

We fired off every question we’ve ever had about tanning and collated all the best pointers, to end the tanning crisis for good.

The worst thing you can do before a tan:

“Not getting rid of old tan! This will cause a build-up, and as you apply the new tan your skin will look patchy. As the old tan fades, the new tan fades with it, so you should treat your skin like a fresh canvas every time you tan.”

The best thing you can do before a tan:

“Moisturise before you tan, especially dry areas. When applying to the body, always use a tanning mitt for an even application. Use the leftover product from your arms and legs onto your hands, ankles and elbows, i.e. the tricky areas, rather than applying directly.”

The difference between formulas:

“Wash-off tan gives you an instant colour. As soon as you apply it you have an instant tan and can then wash it off at the end of the day. This is great for people who want a quick fix or need to even out an old self-tanner for the day.

Bronzing mist is great for people who love to tan and go. It’s an instant colour and lasts for seven days. It’s also great for just tanning the areas that are on show.

Bronzing mousse is perfect for allowing people to layer on a tan as they please, but it also allows you to use a tanning mitt and be a little darker, as these products are quite deeper in colour.”

How to pick the right formula:

“Make sure you pick the right tan for you. If you have light skin, choose a gradual tan. If you have medium to dark, then you can go for a bronzing mask or a mousse.”

When to apply:

“For a wedding, do a trial run two to three weeks before. If you’re going to an event, however, tan the day before to get the maximum results.”

How to test a colour:

“Apply a self-tan, and the next day, take a selfie with the flash on wearing a white T-shirt. If the tan looks unnatural, the camera will pick it up.”

How to prolong your tan:

“The best way is to use a moisturiser daily and exfoliate up to three to four days later to help your tan fade evenly.”

How to save your bed sheets:

“Go for a product with no colour guide. Translucent tanning is what you should be using before you go to bed. Sleep mask tans don’t stain your sheets.”

If you’re feeling fearless enough to take on self-tan yourself, you can check out James Reads’ range of products here.

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