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How to cheat your way to a better, longer-lasting tan

August 14th 2014 / Katie Robertson Google+ Katie Robertson

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With just a few quick tricks before, during and after your holiday you can make your tan last twice as long

Whether you’re prepping for an upcoming holiday or desperately trying to hold on to the glow of good times past, we all want to know how to achieve and hold onto summer sunkissed skin.

No longer just a market that’s confined to bronzing lotions and potions, you can now access a whole world of beauty products that can be used well before you head to Heathrow and long after you’ve checked in back home. So, to ensure that your hard-earned golden colour lingers well after your holiday polish has chipped, here’s our pick of the best products to keep your gleam going from the inside and out.

Before indulging in any enhancing formulas however, it’s important to ensure that your skin is suitably protected from the harmful effects of UV rays. As a rough guide, those with olive skin or darker should opt for SPF 15, medium to pale skin tones should be using an SPF30 and very fair tones should be using no less than SPF 50. Roughly apply the size of a 10p coin / 2tsps of suncream to each area of the body and apply a minimum of 20 minutes before exposure to the sun.

Tan Preppers

Improving your tan doesn’t have to start at the beach. In fact, there’s a lot to be said for some smart skin preparation before embarking on your mahogany mission. Why not try a skin prepping cream that works by encouraging cells to produce increased levels of melanin, which in turn help to ‘train’ your skin to be better prepared for UV sunlight? Melanin protects the body by absorbing solar radiation and as a result not only causes your skin to gently adopt a darker, more tanned colour but also means you’re better equipped to fight the sun's rays and prevent sunburn.

Quickly absorbed and non-greasy, Ultrasun Pre Tan Optimiser, £24, is your ultimate must-have on the quest for a beautiful, long-lasting holiday glow. Designed for pre and post sun use, the star ingredient Tanositol, a natural active ingredient derived from carob fruit, helps to encourage the development of a deeper (and safer) suntan, whilst diminishing photo-ageing by stimulating collagen synthesis. Apply up to two weeks prior to sun exposure, use consistently during your holiday (as an after-sun) and as a body lotion upon your return. Alternatively try James Read tan maximiser, £24.50, which accelerates the rate at which you tan with a perfectly even colour, meaning your golden glow will last up to 3-4 days longer.

Sunny Supplements

It seems we can now get our golden glow from a tan tablet or supplement. Opt for those such as IMEDEEN Tan Optimizer Tablets, £40.80, which work from within to help prepare the skin for sun, protect cells from UV induced oxidative stress (using vitamin C and E) and also support normal skin health. Jam-packed with vitamins and carotenoids, a pigmented nutrient responsible for the golden colour of Marigold flower petals, these pills give the best results when taken daily at least one month before and then throughout periods of sun exposure.

Alternatively, try Udo’s Choice Ultimate Oil Blend, £21.99, which is rich in both Omega 3 (ALA) and Omega 6 (LA) and a great way of getting the key essential fatty acids into our diet that are so important in keeping skin moisturised and protected from drying out in the sun. As such it’s no wonder this product is loved by makeup artists, beauty editors and nutritionists alike due to its ability to encourage a beautiful, smooth and long-lasting tan. Udo’s Oil easily mixes into most foods and drinks, just be sure never to heat the oil as this will destroy the delicate EFAs.

Tan Boosters

Once you’ve got your sunkissed skin you need to know how to capture it and keep it, and who better to turn to than the gods of glow themselves, St. Tropez. In particular, we love the lightweight St Tropez Self Tan Booster, £12.75, that’s specially formulated with a combination of tanning ingredients to intensify your faked or baked tan and encourage it to last up to a week longer. Packed with skin conditioners and anti-oxidants, it keeps skin in perfect condition and your tan at its natural-looking best.

For a more organic boost try Institut Esthederm Tan Enhancing Lotion, £39.50, which is a favourite amongst beauty editors due to its ability to preserve a luminous and lasting suntan. Created using a special body milk, this cream works by helping the epidermis regain its water balance so that the skin is left hydrated, healthy and bronzed. After all, the more hydrated and nourished the skin, the slower the shedding of the tan.

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