Fake it ~ how to fake tan like a Pro

Fake it ~ how to fake tan like a Pro

Summer is here and…it’s raining. No chance of getting a tan naturally in England but it’s much safer and more reliable to use a fake tan. If a mortal fear of looking like an umpa lumpa or a weird patchy mammal has prevented you from trying it out, follow the basic steps below and you’ll have a great looking tan that you can maintain easily. The guide below is exactly the same information that I train my Fake Bake  students with on professional courses, you can’t get better than that!

First the golden rules P ~ A ~ M                                PREPARE ~ APPLY~ MAINTAIN tanning


You need to get rid of as much dry skin as possible. Fake tan LOVES dry skin, it will cling to it and create dirty looking patches, especially on elbows and knees and ankles. You need to use an OIL FREE scrub or a buffing mitt, in the shower to slough away those dead skin cells resulting in newer, brighter, softer skin on the surface. The reason I say OIL FREE is because Oil destroys fake tan, it creates patches and prevents it from developing properly. The biggest mistake that people make when self tanning is to use a lovely salt or sugar scrub with an oil base, then apply a rich moisturiser, thinking that it will eliminate dry skin. Well, technically it will, but if you apply a fake tan on top of all that oil it will result in a hideously patchy tan. So an OIL FREE scrub or just a mitt with normal shower gel will do the job. You can then apply a special oil free moisturiser if your skin is very dry or dehydrated, a lot of Fake tan companies make them, my personal favourite is a dry oil made by Fake bake, that you just apply to feet, elbows and knees. You don’t have to moisturise before tanning these days, a lot of fake tans now have great moisturising properties in them already, but if you have really dry skin or patches then use a proper moisture base, trust me it’s worth the extra trouble.

If you do your prep your tan will   A – Develop more evenly and B – Last longer

I recommend choosing a fake tan that has a guide colour ( usually brown ), it’s much easier to apply it when you can see it!


There are lots of crazy ideas for the best way to apply fake tan, some companies make special mittens or buffers to apply it with. I teach my professional tanners, using products applied by hand to do it the simple and most effective way. Disposable gloves. You can buy them in supermarkets by the box, they will be your new best friend. Pick a size that fits quite snugly, you don’t want loose gloves with tan!

Pop on your gloves and take a small amount of tan in your hands. You can choose whether to start at your feet or your face, I work down from my head. Apply the tan just as you would a moisturiser, rub it in until you have no excess visible. Don’t be afraid to rub it in, and it doesn’t have to be perfect, you just have to cover everywhere you want tanning. Don’t forget the back of your neck and your ears. Work your way around the body applying slightly less to problem areas like knees and feet. when you have done every part you need to remove your gloves and apply a little tan from the tube, use the BACKS of your hands rubbed together to apply to your hands. Massage it in. Leave five minutes or so for it to dry a little and then pop on some loose clothes. I generally recommend applying your tan at night before bed, you can wear loose pj’s and it will develop while you sleep. Plus you don’t need to wash your hands then either.

The next morning you can wash of any guide colour, don’t panic when you wake up if it looks really dark, half of the developed colour is the guide colour, it washes off! Use a soft wash cloth and oil free shower gel and wash away the colour. Apply your maintenance product.


To keep your tan looking glowing, even and for as long as possible you need to keep away from oil based products. Again, many fake tan companies make a moisturiser or dry oil to maintain your tan with, get one, use it. It’s worth it. The dry oil that I use as a prep product also serves as my daily tan moisturiser and maintenance product and it lasts for ages. You can also get lovely products especially for your face too. Your tan if carefully looked after should last you a week or even longer. It should just fade away naturally instead of going patchy.

You don’t have to buy expensive brands for a good tan either, one of my personal favourites, especially because i’m very pale, is actually Boots own Soltan brand, it gives a gorgeous colour, is easy to apply and lasts really well, the important thing is to choose the right colour for you and a relatively good quality product.

Happy Tanning x

Author Info


A therapist and tutor for over 23 years, Victoria specialises in Relaxation and Wellbeing, Clinical Acupuncture, Holistic and Shamanic therapies.

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