We’ve all made self-tanning mistakes - including those telltale signs such as orange palms, blotchy elbows, knees, and ankles or a streaky-looking finish. But once you learn the right technique, and find the right product to suit your skin, you will be sporting a faux-glow that looks nothing short of perfect. Editor Trudi Brewer shares her best tips on TV3’s The Cafè.
Editor Trudi Brewer on TV3’s The Cafe with host Melanie Holmer sharing tanning tips.
How does self-tan work
The active ingredient in self-tan is dihydroxyacetone (DHA). A plant extract from sugar cane or beets, which reacts with the amino acids in the top, dead layer of your skin to temporarily turn it brown.
How to prep the skin for self-tan
Dry skin is a barrier to an even self-tan result. Make sure you exfoliate and moisturise well prior to tanning so that lotions or mousse or tanning spray can absorb into the skin. Shave the legs (another great way to exfoliate your skin), and if you wax make sure this is done 24 hours before to allow the hair pores to close. Remember, post-tanning waxing and shaving speeds up the fading process.
How to apply tanner with a mitt
A tanning mitt is the only way to get an even application. Blotches generally appear because you have missed spots or applied the tanner unevenly. When applying, make sure the skin is clean and dry, without fragrance. Massage the tanner into the skin in small, circular movements starting at your legs and then move up the body, finishing with the feet backs of hands. Don’t rub up and down as this can create an uneven finish. Most importantly, a tanning mitt protects your palms from going orange.
Apply a light layer of self-tan to the face
Cleanse the skin and then apply tan over the top of a lightweight moisturiser. Your face is often darker than the rest of the body, so aim for a subtle-looking bronze glow, and then re-apply every few days.
How to fix up any mistakes
If you see any streaks on your body, buff your skin with a grainy scrub on a body sponge. Another trick is to apply a little nail polish remover to a cotton ball and rub it over the streaks, moisturise and then reapply.
How to make your tan last
The top layer of skin sheds naturally, every month, and with it goes your bronze glow. Extend the life of your selt-tan using gradual tanner. Once your tan starts to fade, exfoliate and repeat the tan application again
St. Tropez Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Mousse, $60.
For anyone who wants a light, natural colour with zero streaks this water-like mousse is dreamy. It pumps out an ultra-light foam that dissolves on the mitt, spreading easily over the skin. The mandarin, tropical-inspired fragrance lasts for hours, and while there is no guide colour, rest assured it won't streak or look patchy.
Tan Organic Mousse, $59.
For anyone with sensitive skin, or expecting a baby or is nervous to use self-tan, this mousse is ideal. Free from paraben’s, colour and fragrance, it instantly nourishes and tints the skin thanks to the 80 percent organic aloe vera juice, and natural food grade colouring.
Bondi Sands Shimmer One Day, $23.
For instant colour ready in seconds for emergency tanning, this shimmery formula spreads over the skin to leave a no-commitment instant bronze sparkle. You can apply the cream to the face and body, it's transfer resistant, but easily washes off with soap and warm water.
COOLA Organic Sunless Tan Firming Lotion, $85.
This Ecocert gradual sunless tanner contains caffeine, baobab oil, and shea butter, that leaves skin feeling smooth, while the blend of green coffee beans, brown algae, and pea extract nourish and firms and tints your skin with a golden glow. And if you're interested in how it smells, the tropical scent of a pina colada cocktail springs to mind.