Our love affair with self-tan could be called tricky at best: we hate to think where we’d be without it (a whole lot pastier, that’s for sure), but we’ve also had one too many application mishaps (read orange streaks and unsightly missed bits) to totally trust our at-home tanning technique.
Luckily, the man behind many an A-lister’s perfectly bronzed limbs, James Read, has shared these nine clever tan hacks with Byrdie.com, so we can finally feel confident about achieving golden goddess status every time we reach for the bottle.
From frozen peas (yes, really) to electrical shavers, here are the ultimate tanning maestro’s top application tips...
Tip 1: Erase mistakes… with curdled milk
You may have heard that rubbing a lemon wedge over self-tanning streaks can lighten them up – but that definitely doesn’t apply to the skin on your face, which is much more sensitive and can react badly to that much acid. The solution? Read says to DIY a curdled milk mask. “Put a little lemon juice into some milk, then place a lemon wedge in,” he says. “Leave it in for about an hour, allowing the milk to curdle and form a paste.” He explains that the lemons activate alpha-hydroxy acids in the milk, so you can put it on your face and leave it on for about 15 minutes. The result? A gentle, DIY method to strip tan off your face and leave you with a glowing complexion.
Tip 2: Use ice cubes to ward off breakouts
“Before you tan, you can rub an ice cube over your face to seal your pores,” Read says. “Then, pat dry with a tissue and apply your self-tanner – the ice closes your pores so they don’t get blocked by the self-tanner and you run less risk of breakouts.” This is especially helpful for anyone who breaks out easily or is prone to acne flare-ups.
Tip 3: Squeeze your tanning mitt
A tanning mitt helps distribute product for a more even, natural-looking finish. But is your technique on point? Read suggests applying the product – whether it’s a mousse or lotion – onto the palm of your mitt and then clenching your hand so the mitt folds and the product presses into the top half. Then, apply your tan using only this top part of the mitt. “You’re diluting the tan and making it thinner,” he says. “This is especially important if you’re applying it to your face – this way, you’re lightly buffering the tan onto your face without it looking too dark. Only small amounts are going on, and you’re only getting a thin layer.”
Tip 4: Involve moisturiser
For tanning newbies, applying bronzing product to your face might seem intimidating. If you’re especially pale or just wary about the final effect, Read suggests applying moisturiser to your face before you tan. “Moisturiser slightly dilutes the tanning product and makes the effect lighter,” he says. However, if you’re using an overnight tanning product, like his line’s Overnight Sleep Mask Tan Face, Read says you won’t need moisturiser. If you’re super dry, wait five-to-ten minutes and allow the product to absorb, then “seal it in” with your night-time lotion.
Tip 5: Mind your hairline
Nothing is worse than streaks of darker spots along your hairline – a dead giveaway that your glow is faux. To keep your colour even, Read says to dip a cotton ball into toner and then rub it along your hairline after applying your self-tanner. “This will make the fade fainter and more natural,” he promises.
Tip 6: Plan ahead and layer
Here’s an inside secret: The best way to get a natural-looking glow with self-tanning products is to layer. “I’ll plan ahead and layer my tanning over a few hours,” Read says. “I’ll put one layer on then wait 30 to 40 minutes, then put on a second layer and wait another 30 minutes, then I’ll apply a third layer. After four to five hours, I’ll wash it all off – it gives me a really nice base and really natural colour.” He also says that using this method prevents build-up, so your tan is smooth, even, and doesn’t fade or build up in random spots.
Tip 7: Use an electric shaver
So you finally achieved a gorgeous glow – but now can’t shave your legs. Oops. To keep your pins smooth without stripping your carefully placed colour, Read says to use an electric shaver. “It just takes off the top layer of hair and doesn’t remove the tan.”
Tip 8: Seal your pores with frozen peas
Another tip for smooth, silky-looking legs: grab a packet of frozen peas and run them down your limbs before applying a self-tanner such as James Read’s Gradual Day Tan Body. “This will seal the pores in your legs, so you don’t end up with those annoying dots after self-tanning,” he says.
Tip 9: Get creative with applicators
In a perfect world, you would have someone who loved you enough to apply self-tanner to your naked back whenever you so needed. If this isn’t the case, you can still achieve an even, smooth tan yourself – just get creative. Read says you can wrap a tan applicator mitt onto the end of a wooden salad spoon or backscratcher and use that to apply the product, or even use a mini paint roller. “Take a paint roller, squeeze your product out into a bucket, then rub it over your back,” he says. “It makes it much easier to apply!”
Looks like we’ll be heading to Homebase for our next beauty run…
For the full article, visit Byrdie.com