The Secret To The Perfect Fake Tan

Believe it or not I haven’t always been a lover of fake tan. Back in the day it used to have a bit of a bad reputation, you’d be known as an ‘oompa loompa’ if you dared go near a bottle and I’ll admit, I definitely lived up to that a few times! You don’t just become a pro at applying fake tan overnight no wayyyy. I remember one Christmas when I was younger, I had a Soap and Glory set and inside was their fake tan (do they even still do fake tan these days?!). I came downstairs Christmas Day and shocked the whole family when I was orange from head to toe. What an entrance. It’s safe to say it went down a treat around the dinner table but I was sitting there thinking I looked a 10/10! 

In most Instagram photos these days it’s normal to be a bronzed goddess but I like to do it the safer way – fake tan. When I was younger I had no idea about the dangers of sunbathing and sometimes I’d even risk not putting sun cream on because I thought it would make me tan quicker. Stupid girl. Since knowing the dangers, I make sure I have cream on and I don’t use a foundation without SPF in it. I know a few people who use sunbeds regularly too and it can have a lot of implications. 

There’s no doubt about it that fake tan is a confidence booster which is one of the reasons why I love it. I hate looking in the mirror and not being tanned. It makes any outfit look a million times better for me. Over the years I’ve tried sooo many different fake tans, some which have disappointed me and some which have impressed me. 


Unfortunately if you want your tan to look on point you have to put the effort in during the prep stage. Some people go above and beyond on this stage but I just stick to the basics and it seems to work fine for me. I don’t like to complicate things or take hours doing this. I’m all about the simple life!

Tip number one

You might have heard that shaving right before applying fake tan isn't the way to go. I have done it in the past but my main tip is to shave 24 hours before applying. I recommend using Satin Care which creates a smooth base when shaving (all links to products will be below this post).

tip number two

Moisturising and exfoliating are important steps and can't be missed out but again, don't do it the same day. Do it the day before. I like to use the St Moriz primer which removes dead skin cells and helps your tan last longer. I also use the Soap and Glory moisturiser because if you want the honest answer: it's cheap and I have a million tubs of the mini ones laying around in my room from Christmas sets so it's a good excuse to use them up! I swear it's a girl thing to have an endless supply of them.

tip number three

Have a good tanning mitt because it works wonders. I used to just pick up any old mitt laying around or I'd rush into Boots and grab the first one I saw. These days, I use the Australis tanning mitt because it's double sided and I never get streaks with it.

If you’re a newbie to fake tan or a long term tan lover, you might be familiar with the dreaded pores situation. The downside to fake tanning is how tan can get inside the pores and block them. Before fake tanning try jumping in the shower in cold water, it should close your pores and stop this from happening.



My go-to fake tan is Bondi Sands Ultra Dark. The word ultra dark puts people off because it instantly makes you think you’ll look orange but I don’t have that problem. I personally prefer a darker tan but I’ve never had any shocking results when using this. It smells quite strong of fake tan when applying it but once you’ve washed it off it’s fine.

I always start from the bottom up so the first thing I do is my legs. I tend to apply the tan in the bathroom so I can see properly and it has better lighting otherwise I’ll be living up to the ‘oompa loompa’ reputation again! Can’t be having that. I always apply it in circular movements as I find this works best. 

Elbow and feet are the hardest parts to do I find. I literally brush over my elbows because otherwise the tan sticks there so easily and it’ll end up darker than the rest of your body. You can try putting moisturiser on these parts beforehand so the tan doesn’t stick fully but it still gives colour. Put baggy clothing on afterwards or what I tend to do is wear an oversized baggy t-shirt to bed. I always sleep in my tan and wash it off in the morning. RIP bed sheets!

I never put fake tan on my face I’ve always been too scared so I use the James Read Face Tan. I got sent a sample of it and I’ve loved it ever since. I apply this the same night I fake tan my body and when I wake up in the morning my face is tanned. To make my foundation match I use face drops – you can get these in Boots or Superdrug. 


Maintaining your fake tan is obviously important if you want it to last! Some of my main tips are:

  • When you shower or bath, be careful when drying yourself. Don’t rub off the fake tan just pat dry carefully.
  •  You can always top up your tan if it starts to come off. I have in the past used the Rimmel Instant Tan on top just to give myself a bit of extra colour.
  • Moisturise regularly

Removing the tan

Removing fake tan is such a chore but thankfully there are tan removers out there that make that job a little easier. When it comes to removing the tan I either use the Bondi Sands Remover or the St Moriz Remover and they both do the job well.

I hope you found this little guide helpful whether you’re a tanning newbie or a pro. Feel free to leave any questions in the comments below or feel free to DM me on Instagram.



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