Seven Steps to Fake Tanning at Home

With the warm weather finally arriving, many will be looking towards self-tanning products to provide them with an instant natural, bronzed glow.

In order to permanently avoid streaky legs and stained hands, a group of hair and beauty experts at have compiled the following simple guide to fake tanning at home:

Hair removal

Hair removal – whether shaving, waxing or using a removal cream, this should be done at least 24 hours prior to tanning. If not, the fake tan is likely to stick into the pores and hair follicles that loosen when hair is removed, creating unattractive dark dots across the skin.


This is the most imperative step to flawless fake tan that many beginners tend to skip over, but lack of exfoliation is more than likely to result in a patchy, uneven tan that’s hard to wash off.

For a super smooth base, exfoliate the areas to which the self-tan will be applied to with a nourishing body scrub, in order to remove all the dead skin cells.


A good body moisturiser should then be applied to all the dry areas of the body such as knees and elbow and left on the skin for at least 30 minutes before applying the tan.

Use a tanning mitt 

A good quality tanning mitt should be used to avoid nasty smears and patchiness and those unsightly orange palms often seen on people that skip this step and forget to wash their hands properly.

Don’t rush 

If using a gradual tanner, it’s best to apply tan in the evening and let it develop overnight. This allows for a good amount of time to fully develop; most tans require at least 4-6 hours. The fake tan should be tested to ensure it’s completely dry before dressing into something loose and dark to avoid rubbing against the skin or show any marks. A light layer of talc-free baby powder can also be brushed over to stop the tanner from staining clothes.


For fool-proof application, it’s best to start from the bottom up and apply methodically to avoid missing any patches. Apply to skin using light, sweeping, vertical movements and follow this technique with gentle circular motions to work the tan fully into the skin Be generous with the product – if you don’t use enough, this can cause the tan to stretch which can result in breaks and streaks in the finished result.


Once the glowing bronzed look starts to fade, the best way to make sure it does so evenly, is to keep gently exfoliating and moisturising every one or two days. This will also keep skin in tip top condition for further application in the next few days. If blotches do appear, half a lemon should be rubbed on the problem area for a couple of minutes, before lightly buffing with a damp towel.