Against all the odds I was bronzed throughout summer 2020. Fickle weather or cancelled holidays didn’t get in my way because I finally mastered a streak-free tan. I can’t take all of the credit, however – Clarins’ Beauty Coach, Rebecca shared all of her tips with me on #NightInWithEscentual (watch that here).
Before that live, I thought the secret to a seamless self tan application was how you applied it. But Rebecca let me know that there’s a vital step before that – prepping your skin! If you skip this, you’re setting yourself up for a disaster, and an uneven, patchy finish. No one wants that, so here are the all-important steps you can’t skip if you want a flawless fake tan…
#1 Exfoliate From Head to Toe
Everyone wants an even tan, and the trick to getting that is exfoliating. Our skin is always creating new cells, and shedding old ones, but we’re not like snakes – it doesn’t all come off in one go. Because of this, exfoliating helps to slough off dead skin cells and reveals new ones underneath.
Our exfoliator line-up is extensive at Escentual – you’re spoilt for choice – so to help you break it down, I’ll share my recommendations. For the face, you can’t go wrong with the Clarins’ Comfort Scrub. It contains sugar microcrystals from beetroot that’s abrasive enough to rid your skin of dead skin cells but kind enough, thanks to added mango butter that it doesn’t aggravate. As a bonus, its gel-oil formula smells just like juicy mango – delicious!
For the body, I like to use something a bit more abbrasive. Ever since the #NightInWithEscentual live, the Smoothing Body Scrub by Clarins has become a staple in my routine. It contains bamboo powders, and so rids the skin of dead skin cells quickly and with little effort. Despite its polishing action it doesn’t irritate or leave skin red; instead, ingredients like liquorice extract repair and soften, while shea leaves a protective film on the skin’s surface.
#2 Shave 24 Hours Before
If you need to shave or wax, make sure you do it 24 hours before you plan to fake tan. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, is something called a ‘pore gaping’; this happens when fake tan enters the hair follicle and appears as brown specks on the skin. The best way to avoid this is to leave a decent amount of time (I suggest a day) between shaving and tanning.
Tip: If this does happen to you, exfoliate with a scrub, or use a BHA solution.
The second reason you should wait to tan after shaving is irritation. Using a sharp blade can cause micro-tears on the skin’s surface, which could be aggravated by your self-tan formula. Save yourself the stinging, and wait it out!
#3 Avoid Deodorant and Perfume
Avoiding your smellies isn’t ideal, but it could save you from going green, so it’s a worthwhile step. The chemicals and alcohol in perfume and deodorant can react with the DHA in tan and have a grinch-like effect on the skin. Try your best to avoid these 24 hours before applying your tan, or if you can’t, shower before application to remove them.
#4 Moisturise Dry Areas
Moisturising is a vital step in prepping your skin for self-tan. But you don’t slather it all over. Instead, before tanning apply moisturiser only to areas that you’re prone to dryness. Think knees, elbows, knuckles. Applying moisturiser here helps create a barrier, which stops the fake tan from clinging to any dryness and going patchy.
One of my holy grail moisturisers is the Eucerin UreaRepair Lotion. It’s one of the best lightweight lotions out there; it delivers heaps of hydration thanks to added 10% Urea, without feeling greasy or heavy on the skin.