27 Top Tanning Tips

Calling all self tan-lovers; we went straight to the best tanning pros in the business to create the only tanning guide you’ll ever need - from first time tanners to more experienced self tan-fans. Got a tanning trick you swear by? Share it with us below...

By Georgina Hardiman

Skin Prep


‘The night before you tan, use an aloe Vera-based moisturiser (it’s oil-free) on hands, elbows, knees, feet and on the backs of the ankles - they are the driest areas where tan tends to cling to’ Jules Heptonstall


‘Never wax just before before tanning – this opens the pores and will give you that speckled egg look’ Charlotte Connoley


‘Do a full body exfoliation first thing in the morning and concentrate on all the tricky areas - knees, ankles, collar bone, hands and feet. Then apply the tan on the same day, in the evening’ Nichola Joss


‘Avoid using oil-based products a few days before you tan, they leave traces on the skin which could cause streaking’ James Harknett


‘Before you tan, remove all traces of deodorant, make-up and perfume and don’t moisturise your body’ Jules Heptonstall


‘Using a cotton bud, run a tiny amount of Elizabeth Arden’s Eight Hour Cream over the eyebrows, lips and hairline – this will stop the tan taking here’ Nichola Joss

The Panel

Nichola Joss St.Tropez’s tanning expert who has worked with every A-lister from Kate Moss to Cate Blanchett

Charlotte Connoley L’Oréal Paris’s body and tanning expert and the lady behind Cheryl’s tan in their recent ad campaign

Alyson Hogg Founder and CEO of the tanning brand Vita Liberata

James Harknett Sienna X’s celebrity spray tanner who has his own tanning menu at the W Hotel in London

Jules Heptonstall St.Tropez’s skin finishing expert, A.K.A the go-to guy for skin with serious glow

Tanning Tips


‘For the face, mix a small amount of aloe Vera-based moisturiser with half a pump of tanning mousse. The skin on the face is more receptive to products and reducing the concentration of the tanning agent will help prevent irritation and breakouts’ Jules Heptonstall


‘Sleeping in your tan is the best way to let it develop’ Jules Heptonstall


‘When tanning your hands, make a claw effect to make sure you don’t miss the knuckle area’ Charlotte Connoley


‘When using a spray tan, remember that it will fall onto your feet as you’re tanning so you may not need to spray feet directly’ Charlotte Connoley


‘Always use a product that is right for you. If you are concerned about dryness, use a lotion as it will deliver greater hydration and leave the skin super-soft’ Alyson Hogg


‘If in doubt, go for a tanning mousse; it’s easy to apply and the colour guide shows any areas you’ve missed, it’s quick to work with, easy to correct and creates a natural finish. However, if you want a deeper tan opt for a lotion or cream’ Nichola Joss


‘When tanning, start just above the ankles and sweep up the body. Always work towards the heart as it’s better for your circulation’ Nichola Joss


‘Never rub in circles – use sweeping upward and downward motions’ Nichola Joss

Finishing Touches


‘Add an extra layer of mousse to the inside of the thighs to create a natural shadow and make legs look instantly slimmer’ Jules Heptonstall


‘For toned legs, sit on the side of your bed and lift your heels off the floor so you are on your tip-toes. This will show where your calf muscles naturally indent and allow you to run tan (on a mitt) over the area to instantly tone and add definition’ Jules Heptonstall


‘Aloe vera is the most nourishing ingredient for skin that has self-tan on so apply a light layer of gel under your body cream for a 2-in-1 treatment’ Jules Heptonstall


‘Find a body moisturiser with a gold, iridescent sheen and apply it on top of your tan to enhance the colour and create glowing skin,’ Nichola Joss

Damage Control


‘Swimming will break down your tan rapidly due to the levels of chlorine in the pool, so avoid it if you can’ Jules Heptonstall


‘Naturally suntanned hands don’t have colour between the fingers and on the palms so make sure you wipe over these areas with a baby wipe immediately after tanning’ Alyson Hogg


‘Remove any traces of an old tan by using ingrown hair eliminating pads (they contain exfoliating ingredients) or an alcohol-based wet wipe’ James Harknett


‘Avoid perspiration ruining your tan by dusting some talc on the underarms, inner elbows, back of the knees and between the breasts’ James Harknett


‘Try and look for mistakes during the first eight hours while the tan is developing, it’s easier to correct early on’ Jules Heptonstall


‘Don’t forget that the soles of your feet and the insides of your toes don’t tan naturally so keep the tan on the tops of the feet only. To avoid going too dark, only use the remaining residue on the mitt’ Alyson Hogg


‘Tide up any areas you don’t want to tan - eyebrows, ears, nostrils and nail beds - by lightly taking a baby wipe over them’ Nichola Joss


‘The reason fake tan cracks is lack of nourishment so moisturise your face and body every day, it encourages an even fade and reduces patchiness’ Jules Heptonstall


‘Find a shower gel that doesn’t contain essential oils, they will break the tan down’ Alyson Hogg

Click here for Teo Van Den Broeke's "Tan Like a Man" >

Your Comments (4)

  1. Marianne wrote on Jul 25th, 2013 ...

    Marianne on Jul 25th, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    Thanks for this great article on fake tan ! Some tips I didn’t know and we are in the middle of this topic this season !

  2. CAROLE HILL wrote on Aug 18th, 2013 ...

    CAROLE HILL on Aug 18th, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    Im fair skined,and i followed your 27 steps to the letter using SIENNA X GRADUAL GLOWING SELF TAN, and now im off to the algarve to show my beach ready golden body off,something i have never done with much success,do to the fact that my skin readily goes red and burns but no need to risk the dreaded red this year thanks to SIENNA X,an your 27 steps. i feel and look great THANKYOU.

  3. Rebecca wrote on Feb 1st, 2014 ...

    Rebecca on Feb 1st, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    Is Vitiam E creams ok to use on your skin after spray tanning?

    • Dena Mohamed on Feb 5th, 2014 at 1:49 pm

      Hi Rebecca – what Vitamin E cream are you referring to? It will depend if the cream has any oils in? Thanks, feelunique.

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