The ReallyRee Guide to Fake Tanning - Really Ree
By Ree

The ReallyRee Guide to Fake Tanning

28 May 2011 (Updated: 20 May 2014)

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Fake tan can be your best friend if you do it right. You won’t need to wear as much makeup, you can get your legs out without the fear of blinding people and most importantly it means you don’t have to waste hours of your life sun bathing which can lead to premature ageing and much, much worse. 

I am naturally a very pale person and after years of denial and pointless sunbathing, I finally accepted this fact and have been using self tanner all year round for quite a big chunk of my life. 
Here are my tips to getting a perfect, natural-looking tan straight from the bottle. 

Exfoliate….This is the first step to success. Because you want to ensure you have a lovely smooth canvass on which to apply the tan, it is crucial to exfoliate in the shower beforehand. Pay particular attention to areas prone to drier skin, such as knees, ankles, elbows and hands because the self tan will stick to any dry patches and they will appear darker than the rest of you. 

Protect the danger areas…It is always a good idea to apply some moisturiser to drier areas, again, knees, ankles, elbows and hands. Make sure you rub it in well. Another good tip is to apply a very small amount of moisturiser along your eyebrows and on your hairline. The moisturiser will reduce the absorption of the tan to those areas and ensure you are not left with any tell-tale signs. 

Apply! My preference is to use a tanning mitt to apply the product. Some people prefer gloves and both will protect you from the dreaded orange palms. You should pump the product on to the mitt and then apply in circular motions. If you use a self-tanner with an instant tint, or colour guide, it will be easier to see where you have applied and to ensure even coverage. 
PhotobucketThe back is tricky!! If you are doing it yourself, it involves a lot of stretching and huffing and puffing!! You can buy a long wand applicator but I tend to manage. Ideally it’s best if someone helps but this isn’t always possible (or desirable!!) so I go it alone! It is actually possible to cover your whole back, you just have to attack it from every angle!! 
I use fake tan on my face but just what is left on the mitt, never the actual dispensed product. It is such a small area that you need hardly any product at all. The moisturiser you have applied should protect your brows and hairline. I sweep the mitt quickly over the ears as you want them to match as well! Then I take a dry tissue and wipe it across my upper lip to remove any excess product. No-one wants a tan tash!! 
I then wash my hands with soap gently, concentrating on the palms and between the fingers and then sweep a light tan application on the top of my hands. 
The finisher is to get a dry flannel and some moisturiser and gently buff the wrist to avoid a line where your palm starts. If you see any other areas where the tan appears too concentrated, do the same gentle buffing. 
What happens next… 
With tinted products, they often appear very dark at first, but this is mainly due to the colour guide that will wash off when you next shower, so don’t be scared. It is best to leave it overnight to develop or avoid getting wet or sweaty(!) for at least 8 hours after application. The longer, the better. Try to cover up as much as you can to avoid getting tan on the bed sheet. But don’t worry because it will wash out. 
Looser clothing for day or night is best, so you don’t disturb your lovely tan while it’s developing. In the morning you can shower as usual, and again, if the product has a colour guide, you will see it rinsing away down the plug hole. This is normal so don’t be alarmed. Moisturise well after the shower
Maintenance…Daily moisturising is key. Do a very light scrub on the third day after tanning. This will help the tan to fade evenly and prepare your skin for more tan should you fancy a top up. 
Should you want to completely remove the tan for a fresh start, I recommend using a flannel in the shower. They are great at lifting the colour. 
I wish you happy tanning!! If you have any questions or would like to share any of your own tips, please leave them in the comments, I’d love to hear from you.


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