It’s that time of year were the leaves fall and the sun is shy, we are all in the quest of the ultimate sunless tan. This blog will explain everything you need to know about self tanning - how it works? Why it smells? How long it lasts? Which tan is for my skin? How can I get an even colour? How do I get it off? Where do I apply it? How it works? Okay, this is the science part. For a fake tan to be a fake tan they ALL include the essential active ingredient, dihydroxyacetone (DHA). DHA is a colourless sugar that’s often derived from sugar beets or sugar cane. When applied to the skin, it reacts with the amino acids in the skin’s very top layer (i.e. the dead skin surface layer) turning it brown in colour giving the appearance of a tan. Which tan is for my skin? Everybody has the dilemma of which tan to use. People often go on recommendations from friends, what looks good on an advertisement or simply value for money. All tans, whether it be gradual or full strength tanners, have different levels of DHA concentrations. They range from about 1-15%. Gradual self tanners contain low percentages letting you build your tan over several days, while the full strength tans give you a darker tan in one go as their DHA levels are much higher.
Why It Smells? The first thing that comes to mind when talking about tan is that “smell”. Men hate it, women learn to tolerate it! Unfortunately, the smell is caused by the key ingredient, DHA, reacting with your skin so there’s no getting away from it! Some tans on the market have tried to mask this DHA smell with added fragrances, but usually an unscented tan is better as sooner or later the DHA odour will sneak in. How Long It Lasts? Since DHA only reacts with the very top layer of your skin, your fake tan will only last for 2-5 days, until your skin naturally exfoliates itself (or you scrub it off). If your tan happens to last longer, it’s not due to a better tan – it’s just because your body has held on to that top layer of skin a tad longer.
How can I get an even colour? Firstly ensure your skin is prepped with body scrub / polish / loafer – whatever your chosen method!! Do your hair removal before hand – waxing the day before, shaving the night before. Do not moisturise your skin on the morning of the tan. Do not put deodorant on either. The moisturiser and deodorant create a barrier on the surface of the skin so the tan will not take. Do apply a thick barrier cream or coco butter to hands, elbows, knees, ankles and feet. These areas are more prone to rough and hardened skin where the tan will take too much leaving you with dark patches! (Remember the DHA loves dry, dead skin!) Apply the tan with an APPLICATION MITT! This is the keyif you want a perfect tan!
How do I get the tan off? It depends mainly on your skin & which tan you have chosen – some will naturally fade in colour, whilst others stay on in patches wearing off very unevenly. There are steps to getting a tan off easily and cost effectively, so you don’t have to run out and buy the best exfoliators. If you have a body brush, brush the skin before you shower when you start to notice the tan coming off or you no longer need the tan on. If you don’t have a body brush use a SUGAR SCRUB (not a salt scrub). The grain of salt can just glide off the skin and you never get to actually exfoliate the skin. Sugar scrubs are better as they are a smaller grain and give you plenty of time to ensure you exfoliate everywhere. They are also less messy! Do this on DRY skin until you feel a warmth on your skin. (Be careful when rinsing in the shower as most sugar scrubs contain oils to nourish the skin. This causes your shower tray to be very slippery. My husband swears by CIF on the shower tray when he’s cleaning – yes, he is the perfect husband!!) Lastly, if you don’t have a body brush or sugar scrub and you want to use the simple, free method…. Here it is! After you have showered and the skin is still soaking wet take the roughest, untumbled dried towel you can find and scrub the skin with that. Then rinse the skin so the dead skin cells are well rinsed off! This is the method I swear by! The great thing is you can repeat it over and over again until the tan is fully off! And it costs nada!
Where do I apply it? A fake tan is meant to look natural! Many of us may forget this and over tan getting a bit tangoed to say the least! I know in my younger years I could have passed for a different ethnicity. But now I have found the key – less is more when it comes to being bronzed! When your applying tan think of your skin when it has been naturally tanned. Brown hands not palms, brown forearms not wrists, brown feet not soles. Never ever have I seen a brown armpit naturally so why would you apply a fake tan to these areas?! What tans I feel are best and for what occasion and skin Everyday gradual tan (great for wanting to look tanned but very natural, good for a long term tan) Expensive – St Tropez Gradual Moisturiser (£26.00) Cheap – Johnstons Gradual Mousturiser (£4.99) Both of these gradual tans come in light-medium and medium-dark. My advice is to go for the light-medium otherwise you get a build up. Full strength tan (if you are planning a night out or going to a wedding - looks great but more short term) Expensive – Sun Xpress Liquid (£18.00) Cheap – St Moritz Mousse (£3.49) Both liquid sand mousse are fast drying and faultless to apply. My advice, again go for the light-medium otherwise you get a build up. Instant tan (for when you have a light layer of tan and want to look darker or have no tan on and want instant colour) Expensive – Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs (£9.99) my personal favourite Cheap – Rimmel Sun Shimmer (£4.99) Avoid medium colour in Sally Hansen as it has a pink undertone and looks more like sun burn. Tan and deep are both lovely tones. If you have no tan on go for tan and if you have a base tan, use deep. As for Sun Shimmer, all shades are good but again use light if you have no base and use a darker shade if you have a base. Both instant tans are brilliant for covering red thread veins and even cellulite!Winner! (Please note all prices are approximate and based on my local chemist prices. Prices will vary depending on where you shop.) So that’s it ladies. Now you can look bronzed without that winter holiday! Have you tried a tan not mentioned in the blog or do you have a special tanning technique? Please let us know by leaving a comment! We appreciate the feedback and love to hear from you. Until next time Chlo x