This post was first published in June 2010 and the funny thing is, when you read it, the weather appears to have been the same this time last year!
I have decided to share this advice again with so many new followers who may need advice on fake tanning at home.
Its been positively freezing in my little corner of the South East today and with the sun only peeping out to say hello, by the time I have put my sunglasses on it has bloody disappeared again! So with not much sunshine in sight, who can believe we are now in the middle of June? I thought I would share with you my tips on fake tanning, it may give you something to do this weekend if you are sick of looking pasty and fancy a golden glow and also because I think a lot of people are afraid to do it at home and as not everyone can afford to go for a salon tan, here are my personal tips as a Fake Bake trained professional, I hope that the advice I give, will give you the confidence to try a bit of DIY - remember the only safe tan is a fake tan!
I did my first fake tan of the summer last Friday night, as the few times I have managed to grab half an hour in the garden on hot sunny days has had no impact on my legs whatsoever, as they still resemble a 6 pint carton of skimmed milk, although my arms have a light golden hue, why does this happen when you get old, I used to tan so evenly when I was young....
Anyway as most of my readers will know by now, I am a fan of Fake Bake tanning products for many reasons but mainly due to the fact the product is completely organic, is paraben free and I don't like to cover my skin, which is a living breathing organ, in something that contains chemicals and aluminium, I smoke and eat a load of shit, so I don't know why I take care of myself in some aspects and not others, oh well I've always been a complicated character!
Before you think about tanning at home, make sure you have not used any gradual tanning products like Dove or Johnsons, one week prior to application as this can affect the outcome and not by making you look browner, patchy more like as these products sit on top of the skin.
The most important thing when doing your own fake tan is to ensure the skin is properly prepared and by this I mean exfoliated. Remember that any range of products are designed to work together so the exfoliator I use in the winter, Orgins Ginger, is not the one I use in the summer when I start to use fake tan as it is very oily and products like this will react with the tan and could mean that the final result is not as good as it should be. Therefore you should always use the Fake Bake passion fruit body polish which is very effective and smells gorgeous and you can use this all year round even if you don't use fake tan.
I put a scoop in my hand and then add a bit of water before applying to the skin. Work the exfoliator over the body in small circular motions, but pay particular attention to elbows, hands, knees and feet as these are the driest areas and can go darker than the rest of your body if not prepared properly.
Never exfoliate your boobs, the skin is more tender. I have noticed that as soon as I hit 40, my skin started to dry out, especially my feet and not just the heel areas but now the tops of my feet and even around the toes are very dry so whereas a young person with supple skin can be carefree with their exfoliation process, us older ladies will have to be a little more vigilant with this process.
If you were at a salon having a Fake Bake, the exfoliator would be removed with a cloth and a bowl of water, but at home it is easier to rinse off in the shower.
After exfoliation the next step is to apply the tanning lotion. Before starting ensure that all traces of deodorant are removed as even if you have some on from the morning and are tanning at night, the lotion will go green when it hits it. You should also be free of make-up, perfume etc.
The Fake Bake tanning procedure is a three step one, which involves the passion fruit body polish I have just talked about, the tanning lotion and the Smoothie Oil which acts as a moisturiser and emulsifier to the dry problem areas. So if tanning at home, begin by putting a large dark coloured towel on the floor and stand in front of a full lengh mirror if you have one. I always begin at the feet and work upwards, so put on the gloves that come with the tan, and put a blob about the size of a 10p at the top of your foot where it joins the leg, next, spray your foot with the moisturising spray and then begin to rub the lotion in by sweeping down the front of the foot and around the ankles, apply more spray if required, and work the lotion into the foot thinking about how your feet tan if you go on holiday, i.e. sweep down towards your soles and avoid the back of the heel area as these never go brown on holiday. Make sure that you blend in between the toes using more spray if necessary.
You can buy all three items together in a starter kit and when you think what a salon tan will cost, it is worth it, as the body polish & oil will last ages and you can just replenish the Tanning Lotion as required. £48 from John Lewis
2. Apply lotion to the lower legs, the upper legs (spraying the knees with the smoothie oil) and when that is done, do your torso, boobs, chest and back, enlisting the help of a friend if you need to. The lotion is dark but has no bearing on the outcome, so don't panic if you are not used to using tanning products. You will most probably find that you go even darker during the development time as the tan develops beneath the colour guide.
3. Next, do your arms, from armpit to wrist, inside and out, spray each elbow with the dry oil as you get to it.
4. With your hair up and away from your face and neck, do these areas. Go right up to the hairline and don't forget behind the ears especially if you intend to wear your hair up! I always go over the earlobes as ears can look stupid if they are white and the rest of your face is brown.
5. Finally the hands. I apply a blob about the size of a 5p to the wrist area, spray my hand with the oil and sweep down over the back of your hand, fingers and thumb. If you are doing this alone, to make hand application easier, use a cosmetic sponge for this part as you don't want lotion on your palms.
When the lotion is applied, some people find they look as though they have been in a mud bath, whereas others could happily go out with it on, it looks different on everyone at this stage. The colour that you see on your body now is known as the "colour guide" and is not your tan, this needs to be washed off after the development time. Now all you need to do is sit back or go to bed while the tan takes its six to eight hours to develop. Put on loose dark clothing or pyjamas. If you are applying before bedtime and sleeping in it, I usually recommend that they put a spare pillowcase on and sleep in an old sheet incase any excess product comes off as it often can, especially on hot, sweaty summer nights, but this has no bearing on the outcome, and don't worry, it washes out of everything even white bedding but don't leave washing with tanning lotion on at the bottom of the laundry basket for weeks, do wash asap.
At the development stage the only thing that can interfere and ruin the procedure is water. If having the tan done at a salon, ensure you have an umbrella with you if rain is forecast. At home avoid washing up, bathing children etc
Questions and Trouble Shooting
Q. Why is it better to have a Tan using hand applied lotion at a salon rather than a spray tan?
A. Personally for me, I am not a fan of spray tans as the client is told to exfoliate themselves beforehand. This is rarely done properly,if at all, or with an exfoliator which works with the tanning product, therefore it can result in an uneven and patchy tan. Also I had a client the other week who came to me for lashes and had previously had a spray tan at another salon. The palms of her hands were completely dark brown as she had fainted whilst having it done and put her hands in the lotion on the floor of the the booth. Spray tanning is quite quick but usually costs the same, so the therapist can actually make more money by spray tanning, but a hand applied lotion tan with exfoliation feels more like a pampering treatment, most clients love the fact that they lay there and get exfoliated.
Q. If I leave my tan on for 10 hours will I go browner?
A. No, the lotion stops developing at a certain stage.
Q. I am not as brown as I thought I would be, what can I do?
A. Do a second application a couple of days later without exfoliation.
Q. How often should I be exfoliating my skin?
A. Once a week at all times, not just when tanning.
Q. Do I use soap to wash off the colour guide?
A. Fake Bake do say it is OK to use a mild soap or shower gel, but I don't. I always just use the water and when the water is running clear, I then wash my bits and pieces with soap or shower gel.
Q. I don't have a shower, can I wash it off in the bath?
A. You can although it is more difficult. I suggest filling the bath with a few inches of water, wash all over the body once with a flannel or soft sponge, get out and refill with another couple of inches of water and repeat procedure until water is clear.
Q. Is it OK to wash my hair in the shower when I wash the colour guide off?
A. Yes it is, but do it after you have removed the colour guide.
Q. I have washed off the colour guide but my tan looks streaky?
A. Jump in the shower again and ensure you have washed it off properly using a flannel or sponge as this should never be the case if removed properly, Fake Bake never goes streaky or patchy if applied and washed off correctly.
Q. I am getting married on Saturday, when should I have my tan done?
A. Thursday. Normally I always suggest having your tan the day or evening before an event, but if you are the bride it should be 2 days before for a couple of reasons, one being that you don't want any residue on the inside of your dress and brides look best when not overly tanned. If you have had a tan before and are normally very pale skinned, think about having one a week before as well, to achieve a darker colour.
Q. How long will my tan last?
A. We would usually say up to seven days but everybody is different so use the first time as a trial to see. Under normal circumstances the tan will just fade gradually but I have known a few people who have come to me a few weeks later and need exfoliating, my husband and one of my friends seem to really keep hold of it and after about three weeks go a bit patchy usually only around the inside of the elbow and at the backs of the knees, this is quite rare but removes well with the Fake Bake exfoliator.
Q. I want a tan before my holiday, will it fade quicker if I am abroad?
A. Yes it will, due to lots of reasons, going in and out of the water, the application of sun lotions and sweat, but will fade gradually as your own tan develops. The beauty of having a tan before your holiday is that you won't be lily white round the pool when you arrive!
Q. Will I still need to use Sun Tan Lotion if I have a tan before my holiday?
A. Yes you should as the Tanning Lotion contains no sunscreen.
Q. How does Fake Bake actually work and how do I know how brown I will go?
A. Fake Bake works with your own melanin levels which means that if you have ginger hair, freckles and very pale skin you may just end up with a golden glow after your first application, whereas someone who tans easily and has higher melanin levels in their skin, will go browner.
Q. I am pregnant, is it OK to have a tan?
A. Fake Bake is completely organic and therefore safe to use on pregnant women. Due to hormone levels changing at the time of pregnancy, I would advise a patch test if you have any concerns.
Q. I am breastfeeding, can I still have a tan?
A. You can but I would avoid applying lotion to the boobs or the surrounding area and I would suggest laying a sheet over the rest of the body as you hold the baby during the tan development stage, as you need to remember the lotion is on your hands and arms and you don't want to get any on the baby. Express the milk if you can so that someone else can feed the baby but even then you may still have to pick the baby up to comfort it, so bear that in mind.
Q. Is it OK to apply the tan after hair removal?
A. All types of hair removal whether with a razor or waxing should be done 24 hours before the tanning procedure. This is because the pores are open and you can end up with little red dots on your legs, bikini area or underarms, which although will be OK by the next morning, it can be a concern to a client, so is best avoided at all costs.
Q. My daughter is only 10 but has a dancing competition, can she have a tan?
A. Personally I have tanned children for this reason as young as 7 years old. Fake Bakes advice is not to use on children under the age of 13, but it usually only ever gets asked for by dancers. When tanning anyone under the age of 16, a parent should be present. I always cover myself by making the parent stand up and watch over me as I apply the lotion to the area surrounding the childs underwear, always remember there are weirdos out there and I like to keep myself covered! A hand applied lotion tan is different from a spray tan where the client is not touched. If you are a parent of a child under 16 and don't forget some girls having proms are under this age, please ensure you stay in the room with the child and that your child feels at ease.
Q. Is there anything I can do to help prolong my tan?
A.Yes there is. Fake Bake offers a range of products that you can use in conjunction with your tan and are designed to be used alongside it. The Moisturiser and the Tan Enhancing Lotion are both very effective and the Tan Enhancing Lotion can also be used to maintain and enhance a natural tan. Your normal moisturiser may react with your tan as the Alkalines in them can strip colour, possibly leaving your skin patchy.
£12.50 from John Lewis
Tan Enhancing Lotion £12.50 House of Fraser
A salon Fake Bake Tan is always done with the client laying on the couch, covered with towels and should always include the exfoliation process, this is how Fake Bake train their Tanning Technicians to do it. Some Salons don't bother with the exfoliation but charge the same, so if you have never booked one before, please ask and ensure that this will be done, at the time of booking. Also make sure that the Tanning Technician is using the "Original" lotion on you, Fake Bake do a darker lotion but this is for die hard fake tanners, or those with darker skin. Upon booking, make sure you know if you are being offered a spray tan or a hand applied lotion one.
Original Lotion £24.95 John Lewis
The Treatment usually costs from £25- £35 depending on the area you live in and should take roughly 45 minutes. Sometimes having your first tan done at a salon will give you the confidence to try it at home where you can build on the colour from the first treatment and look beautifully tanned all summer.When I had my first Fake Bake at a salon, long before I trained in it, I wasn't exfoliated and still got charged the same and was only told to wash it off, but not how to, or what to use to do it with, so if you go to a Salon ensure that you are given all the correct information and don't be afraid to ask questions. The Therapist should always fill out a client card for you, where she should ask if you are on certain medications, pregnant etc before she commences the treatment. If you arrive at a Salon wearing make-up, perfume etc, the Therapist should give you something to remove it, although it is usually OK to keep mascara on.