6 Self-Tan Mistakes The Experts Want You To Avoid
6 Self-Tan Mistakes The Experts Want You To Avoid

6 Self-Tan Mistakes The Experts Want You To Avoid

If you find streaks and patchiness getting in the way of a good tan, you might be in need of a little expert advice. Here, A-list tanning expert Jimmy Coco shares the six mistakes everyone should avoid to guarantee flawless results every time.
By Georgia Day

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Not Paying Enough Attention To The Prep

The golden rule for a golden glow is always the same: preparation is everything. “Prep is the gateway to an even, flawless tan,” says Jimmy. Put in a little extra effort and not only will the colour be deeper and more even, it’ll also last longer and fade much more seamlessly. If you have time for the full pre-tan routine, then start in the shower. “Don’t use any washes or soaps containing oils as they will interfere with the formula and the tan won’t stay on your skin,” advises Jimmy. Although he advocates shaving in the shower as a good way of exfoliating your skin, you will need a more thorough form of exfoliation to ensure a flawless look. “Once you’re out the shower, dry your body with your towel, then exfoliate from top to toe using something like my Buff & Glow Mitt.” If you can’t commit to this full prep routine every time you tan, skip the shower and go straight to the sloughing.


Treating Your Hands & Feet As An Afterthought

If there’s one sign of a tan gone wrong, it’s orange palms and feet. For the most natural results, apply tan from just above your ankles all the way up your legs, and from your wrists all the way up your arms. At the very end of your application, take your mitt and lightly swipe over your hands and feet, applying only what’s left of the formula. Don’t forget to make a claw shape with your hands to ensure your knuckles and in between your fingers are covered. Next, use a tan buffing brush like Isle of Paradise’s Shape & Glow Big Blending Brush to blend the colour around the sides of your hands and around your ankles. For extra security, Jimmy advises using a damp cloth on these tricky areas immediately after application to gently wipe away any excess. To prevent any colour collecting around your feet, kit yourself out like a pro with a set of sticky feet. “They’re what all tanning experts use,” says Jimmy. “Pop them on the undersides of your feet to stop the tan gathering in that area if you apply too much.”


Moisturising At The Wrong Time

Almost as fundamental to a good faux glow as the tan itself is knowing when and where to moisturise. “So many people still apply moisturiser before applying tan,” says Jimmy. “But that creates a barrier that either dilutes the tan or stops it from sticking to the skin altogether.” For best results, take his advice and tan directly onto dry, exfoliated skin, only using moisturiser after application – and twice daily after that to keep skin hydrated and the colour locked in. To go one better, choose a tanning product that contains moisturising ingredients so your skin is soft and supple from the off.


Not Having A Back-Up Plan

Sometimes even the best laid plans go awry, so if unwanted streaks do emerge after your tan has developed, you need a plan of action. Take a tip from the pros and mix together a rescue remedy to rectify things. “For stubborn, baked-in streaks, mix some body oil with lemon juice and baking soda. This should naturally lift the tan from the skin,” says Jimmy. If streaks aren’t the problem but your tan is fading unevenly, start by soaking in a warm bath to open your pores. “Next, exfoliate by mixing some body oil with a chemical body exfoliant with actives like lactic or glycolic,” advises Jimmy. If all else fails and you really can’t fix it, blend some body make-up onto the offending areas to even out your skin and disguise any patchiness. The Instant Tan from Bare By Vogue is ideal.


Missing A Spot

For a tan to look flawless, you need to cover all bases, even the ones that are barely on show – after all it only takes a flash of untanned skin for your natural glow to suddenly look faux. “People often forget to tan the back of their neck and behind their ears,” says Jimmy. “You don’t have to apply much here but don’t overlook it.” And although they can be hard to get right, don’t neglect – or be overzealous – when it comes to your armpits. “I’ve seen a lot of tan pit traumas,” he adds. “Negate this by exfoliating the edges of your armpits and lightly swiping your tanning mitt over this area.”


Failing To Find The Right Formula

If you’ve done everything right and still not had self-tan success, you might need to rethink what you’re using. A great gradual tan is a good option for delivering natural-looking with lower maintenance required. “It’s the safest way to build a tan to the shade level you want to achieve,” agrees Jimmy. “You layer on a little more each day until you reach your bronzed goal.” We love Jimmy’s ID 2 Gradual Tan which you can build up gradually over three days to take you from subtly sun-kissed to beautifully bronzed, while Tan-Luxe’s The Butter is a melting gradual tan formula with flattering flecks of gold. If you do decide to persevere, then take Jimmy’s advice and avoid any self-tans that go on clear. Having a guide colour to steer you through application is a godsend for anyone who finds application tricky, plus it’s useful to have on hand if you do wake up to streaks. “Just apply another light layer of tan to fill in the gaps,” he says.

Follow @JimmyJimmyCoco on Instagram


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