10 fake tan tips everyone needs to know

March 10th 2017 / Ayesha Muttucumaru Google+ Ayesha Muttucumaru


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From waxing woes to pre-tan prep, tanning expert Jules Von Hep talks us through his guide for mastering a gorgeous glow

From oompa loompas to the Tango Man, everybody has the memories (and the photos) of their previous tanning mistakes. What can we say, the choice of tanning products was limited back in the day.

Fast forward several years on and we’re now faced with a greater selection of tanning products and tools to make sure those fluorescent orange ghosts of bronzing experiences past can finally be laid to rest. So which of today's type of tans is perfect for you? From mousses to lotions to spray tans, it can be an overwhelming process, so we asked celebrity tanning expert and Global Tanning Ambassador for TAN-LUXE Jules Von Hep (who counts the likes of Sienna Miller, Millie Mackintosh and Poppy Delevingne as loyal clients), for his top tanning tips for applying and mastering the perfect tan for any skin tone.

“Prep really is so important when it comes to tanning and an area of beauty care that really gets overlooked,” says Jules. “This can result in streaks and uneven fading in colour. Put in the effort before your tan and you’ll reap the rewards during your self tan's lifecycle.”

Here are his 10 fake tan tips for making sure you glow from head to toe, whether it’s the middle of summer, or the middle of winter. And if it goes wrong? We've got you covered - click here to read how to fix all manner of fake tan problems.


“Exfoliate, exfoliate exfoliate! This will remove dead skin cells and create a smooth and uniform surface on the skin for the tan to be applied to, which will in turn result in an even golden colour.

“Steer clear of exfoliators that contain oils, as these will only act as a film on the skin and while wonderful for locking in moisture, aren’t ideal for tanning. I love The Sanctuary Spa Hot Sugar Scrub, £12 and Philosophy Scrubs. For maximum exfoliation I love to use exfoliating gloves, working the scrub in circular and lengthways motions. Pay extra special attention to your elbows, knees and décolletage.”

We'd also recommend the Dermasuri Deep Exfoliating Mitt, £19.95 to help create the perfect canvas. An easy-to-use glove that can be used in the shower to remove dead skin and quickly reveal smooth, healthy skin underneath - it’s the once a week exfoliating treat for days when a loofah alone won’t do.

MORE GLOSS: Do spray tans work on darker skin tones?


“Any hair removal should be carried out 24 hours prior to tanning. This is done to ensure the skin has calmed and any cuts have healed. I simply cannot bare it when a client tells me they are off to get waxed immediately after a spray tan – it defeats the whole point as the wax will whip off the tan in no time! No more, ladies PLEASE!” says Jules.


“On the day of your tan application, be it at home or in a salon, don’t moisturise your body, or wear deodorant or perfume. Some tanners tell you not to moisturise your face, I personally can’t do it - I feel like my skin will crack! Just don’t use a facial oil on the morning of tanning.”


“If you’re tanning at home and shower just before your tan application, blast your skin with cold water before you get out of the shower – it might wake you up a little yes, but it will also shrink all of your pores and therefore reduce the chance of them getting blocked. “


“Moisturise your hands, elbows, knees and feet as well as your nails with an aloe vera based moisturiser (I love St. Tropez Tan Enhancing Body Moisturiser, £10 and The Body Shop Aloe Body Butter, £15 – ideal for use when dark tanning).

“If you have fair hair, add a light layer of moisturiser to your hairline and eyebrows to stop them from absorbing tan and changing colour. Now it’s time to tan...”


“With tan I am a firm believer in you really get what you pay for and if you opt for a brand that specialises in tanning, then you’re sure to get better results than from a brand that has one or two products in its skincare line that contain self tan.

“I absolutely love St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse, £30.50 – it’s quick-drying, an absolute doddle to apply and is an intelligent tan – matching with the user's skin tones and reacting with their amino acids to develop into a shade that is reflective of the individual, i.e. no orange or luminous fake looking tans – just faux-glow.”

MORE GLOSS: The best body foundations and body makeup around


“It’s also about personal preference vs format of tan rather than shade sometimes.

“A lotion or tanning oil is the most hydrating to the skin, a mousse is the quickest to dry and in my opinion the easiest to apply, and a spray is the closest thing you’ll get to a spray tan.

Self tans take 8-12 hours to develop, gradual tans build up day on day to deepen colour and are great for first time tanners, instant tans are non-committal tans and wash away with warm soap and water – they’re like the tanning world's answer to body makeup, and then the latest tans on the market are express tans – with a development time of 1-3 hours these have changed the way in which we are tanning.”


“Always apply using an applicator mitt: pump your product onto the mitt and apply to the skin using sweeping motions, rather than circular motions - remember you want to evenly distribute the product.

“Start at the ankles and work your way up, I’m a fan of one coat in the winter and two in the summer – but tanning is all about you and your personal preference! When it comes to your back, flip the mitt back to front, you’ll find it easier to apply or use a self tan spray with 360° technology meaning it will spray at whatever angle you put it at.”


“When it comes to your face, I like to mix the self tan with a small amount of moisturiser to just soften the formula to minimise the chance of breakouts.

“Mix the two together on the mitt and gently apply to the face. For hands and feet, use the leftover residue product on the mitt from your body application and just sweep over once. That is enough! Wipe your nails, palms and brows after application and apply some aloe vera based moisturiser (as before), at the bottom of your wrists and buff in using a buffing mitt to minimise the chance of a tanning sleeve.”

MORE GLOSS: Everything you need to know about tanning for sensitive skin


“For my clients it’s all about the next level of tanning – sculpting and highlighting.

“Add additional tan to the area you want shaded – so underneath the collarbones, underneath the bicep indent, the outer torso and in between the thighs. If you’re pushed for time, do this with a bronzer or an instant tan. Then highlight your tan with an illuminator, applying lashings to your shoulders, collarbones, cheekbones, and the front of your legs to create sheen and definition.”

To add a touch of subtle light to bronzed limbs, we love Hourglass's Ambient Strobe Lighting Powders, £34, or for a chocolate shimmer fix, look no further than NARS Body Glow, £44 to give skin an instant lift.

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Fake tan gone wrong? Here's to fix a streaky fake tan (and other issues)

Read our fake tan reviews here

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