beauty · skincare

How to Fake Tan Like a Pro

When I first started fake tanning, I took the put-it-on-and-see-what-happens approach. Now I’m older and, therefore, so very much wiser, I feel like I’ve got the process down to a fine art.


  • Exfoliation
    Ensure your skin is thoroughly exfoliated, and any previous fake tan is completely off before shaving to avoid patchiness. I’ll exfoliate 12-24 hours before tanning, and then again about an hour before, using either my Skinny Tan exfoliating mitt, or my EcoTools dry brush.
  • Shaving
    I then shave using my ffs razor (which I love – haven’t had razor burn since using this, and they have a recycling scheme for the blades so it’s low waste!). Once I’m done shaving, I rinse my legs with really cold water to close up my pores, and I’ll sometimes pop some antiseptic spray on any areas that feel sensitive to avoid redness or bumps. Take a look at this blog post for more shaving tips.
  • Moisturising
    At least an hour before tanning, put some moisturiser on dry areas of skin like your elbows, knees, ankles etc. so the tan doesn’t cling there and go patchy.


  • Clean mitt
    Make sure you clean your mitt every time you use it – I just use warm water and soap then leave it to air dry.
  • Work your way up
    I’m currently using the St. Tropez mousse, but my fav tan to use is the Bondi Sands foam. I reviewed them both (and Bali Body) in this blog post. I start at my feet and work up my body using circular motions. I’ll use 2-3 pumps per limb, and 3-4 for my front and back, but this will obviously vary depending on your body and skin, and what product you’re using.
  • Hands and feet
    Although I usually do my hands and feet with the mitt, I will sometimes use a large bronzing brush to make sure I’ve got in between my fingers and toes, and all the lines on my joints are filled in. The best way to do this is to make a kind of claw with your hand so you can get all the crevices fake tanned up.
  • Face
    I use whatever product is left on the mitt to fake tan my face after everything else. Remember to do your ears and hairline! If I feel the product isn’t even then I’ll use the brush again to buff it out.
  • Leave overnight
    Most fake tans require you to leave it on for 6+ hours so I usually put it on before bed so I don’t ruin it or make it streaky. Just make sure you wear dark loose fitting clothing so the tan doesn’t completely rub off or stain them/your bed sheets.


  • Rinse off and pat dry
    Wash your tan off using warm water. Stay in the shower until the water runs clear. If any of your tan is patchy or streaky (which it shouldn’t be if you’ve followed these steps!) don’t worry, just even it out by exfoliating. Once you’re out the shower, pat yourself dry to avoid rubbing your tan off.
  • Moisturise
    This step is probably the most important of all, as moisturising will make your tan last longer! I’m using Vaseline’s Aloe body lotion at the moment as I loooove the smell of it and it’s so affordable. Moisturise every day if you can.

And that’s it! Feel free to share any tanning tips you have in the comments (like an easy foolproof way to tan your back without becoming a contortionist pls?).

No products mentioned in this post are sponsored, and all photos are my own.

9 thoughts on “How to Fake Tan Like a Pro

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