A fake tan you can rely on is a valuable asset to any bathroom cabinet. Streak-free, fragrance-free and most crucially Instagram-friendly, finding a fake tan that suits your skin can be a revelatory moment. Forget memories of blotchy, sparkly tans from your youth because a whole host of innovative fake bakes that will change your opinion of home-tanning are now readily available. There is, however, a lot to be said for prep. So, we asked cult tan-expert, James Read to give us his best tips for getting your skin up to scratch before getting anywhere near a mitt.
"Tanning at home might seem daunting – but with the right self-tan there is nothing to be afraid of! As long as you always follow the three rules of self-tanning which are preparation, application and after care, you’ll be a bronzed beauty in no time.
Exfoliation is key – you need your body to be a clear canvas to allow your tan to fade evenly and avoid any patchiness. Start exfoliating 48 hours before your tan, and then again 24 hours before, to get rid of any unwanted fake tan or dead skin. Always wax and shave 24 hours before. If you need to shave your legs after, use an electric shaver as this won’t strip your tan but will remove the top layer of hair. My golden rule is always use a mitt! This is vital for ensuring an even, streak-freak tan, and also means you save your hands from going too dark.
When applying your tan, start from your face and work your way downwards to your feet, being careful not to miss any areas and use any excess product from the arms and legs to wipe over your hands and feet. When it comes to tanning your back put a wooden spoon in a tanning mitt, wrap an elastic band around it makes a handle. This way you are able to tan your whole back yourself without having to ask for an extra pair of hands to help! In the days following your tan it is key to keep your skin moisturised, especially your hands, feet, knees and elbows.
If you’re a tanning novice then I’d recommend first trying a wash off tan, so you can nail your technique without the commitment. You’ll also then see how the colour sits on your skin."
Ready? You will be once you've read our roundup of the best fake tans on the highstreet and which to plump for. We won't tell a soul...