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08th Aug 2022

Top tips for keeping your fake tan on for longer as the weather heats up

Ellen Fitzpatrick

Got the tips at the ready.

As the weather starts to heat up again this week, and if you’re someone who likes to wear fake tan, this ones for you.

As we’ll be showing off a little more skin than usual to combat the heat, the paler of the population (me) will be relying on tan from a bottle.

We know what you’re thinking, it starts to come off after a few days and looks blotchy – is there even a point? Yes, and we know how to make it last a lot longer.

Saffron Hughes, the MUA at has shared her top eight tips for ensuring your tan looks the best it possibly can for as long as it can.

Firstly, make sure your fake tan product is still in date 

Saffron said: “Many fake tan wearers are unaware that fake tan can go out of date. This is why it’s important to make a note of when you open a new bottle, as it should be used within 12 months. Not doing so is likely to make your fake tan turn patchy, or even green depending on how long the bottle has been opened.”

Next, exfoliate before you fake tan

To make it last longer and go less patchy as it fades, always exfoliate beforehand. Especially if you are putting tan over an old tan, as some areas might turn out darker than you’d hoped. Another top tip is to go swimming before fake tanning as the chlorine will soften your tan, making it easier to scrub off the remains.

Always apply your moisturiser at least 12 hours before you plan on tanning 

She said: “Whilst it’s important to add moisturiser to any dry spots like your elbows, knees, ankles, fingers, inner wrists, and knuckles to prevent the fake tan formula from sticking to the skin, you should do this at least 12 hours before applying your chosen lotion.

“Moisturiser acts as a barrier, preventing the tanning formula from accessing the skin so you’ll end up pale, patchy or a combination of both. If you do, however, have no choice due to time constraints, make sure to pick a moisturiser that has a thin consistency, so the barrier is lessened.”

 Stay clear of deodorant before you tan to prevent green armpits

While most of us are keen on doing this one to get rid of the smell of tan, the ingredients in your deodorant can make your armpit turn green. Instead, shower with a cold rinse to keep your body cool, and close your pores.

Always fold your tan mitt in half before applying the product to your body

“It’s now finally time to fake tan. You should always use a mitt and work methodically from your legs, upwards, and regularly twirl around a full-length mirror to see if there are any streaks,” Saffron said.

“When applying your fake tan to the mitt, make sure it’s distributed across the whole mitt by placing the tan in the middle, then folding it in half by closing your palm. This not only ensures you get the most streak-free finish when tanning, but it makes each fake tan pump go further, saving you money in the long run.”

Wear loose, black clothes for at least two hours after you tan  

As most tan formulas can feel tacky after they’re applied, you should avoid wearing super restrictive clothes afterwards. This includes underwire bras as well as tight shoes and clothes, and black clothes will help with a fake tan transfer disaster.

Shave your legs after fake tanning to prevent speckled legs

“There’s a common misconception that you should shave your legs before you tan, however, this ends up taking much longer as it takes 24 hours for your hair follicles to close. Therefore, meaning you shouldn’t fake tan for at least 24 hours otherwise you’ll end up with speckled legs. It’s, therefore, easier to leave shaving until after you’ve fake tanned. You can even do it at the same time as washing your fake tan off,” she said.

Make sure to look after your fake tan once it’s on 

“Another common misconception is that once you fake tan, that’s it. You don’t need to do anything to maintain it, however, this couldn’t be further from the case. What you do in the following days determines whether you’ll stay a bronzed goddess for a long period or turn into a loaf of tiger bread. You should, therefore, moisturise daily and try to refrain from shaving as the shaving foam can make your fake tan fade faster. You can also top up your tan after a few days with a gradual tan if you want to deepen it,” Saffron added.