Top tips to stay tan-tastic all year round

Ah, the instantly recognisable smell of fake tan. It’s no secret that we all have our precious tango memories (and photos), and while we sit and reminisce about our favourite shades of orange, we’re secretly glad the bronzing bad days are behind us.

We’ve teamed up with tanning guru Jules Von Hep, founder of tanning brand Isle of Paradise, to bring you an easy guide to getting the best fake tan for real. Flawless faux glow? You got it.

How to apply fake tan

Nailing down your preferred tan type is the first step to being a bronzed god or goddess – and “texture,” says Jules, “is all down to personal preference.” From Self Tan Mousse to Self-Tanning Water or Self-Tanning Drops, here’s how to apply your tan without a streak or splodge in sight.

If mousse is your go-to, apply onto a mitt and transfer to your skin in sweeping motions (like you’re icing a cake) to make sure you’ve got an even distribution. Trying out tanning water? Spray directly on your skin, buffing it out with a mitt or the palms of your hands. Dabbling in tanning drops? Mix your drops into your face and/or body moisturiser for added hydration – the more drops you add, the darker your tan.

“Always start from the ankles (not the feet, these come last!) and work your way up to the heart and chest,” says Jules, no matter which tan type you choose. “This means that your tan will be dry enough to apply a second coat after a couple of minutes.

”Don’t forget about your face! Once you’ve gone back to apply tan to your feet, apply one coat to your face, remembering to wash your hands to avoid tanned palms – one of those pesky tell-tale tanning signs.

Psst! You can speed up drying time too. “Use a hairdryer on cool setting all over the body,” adds Jules. No electricity? “Take a barber brush and translucent powder or talc.” Apply it all over the body to set – voila!

How to remove fake tan

According to Jules, the easiest way to wave goodbye to mismatched shades of orange is to “tease your tan off your skin over a course of three days,” leaving the last day for deep tan removal. Simply “mix a spoon full of sugar in with your body wash,” each time you shower or bathe, and “a light layer will come off, giving a gradual but even fade.”

If a quick fix is more your style, take your fave self-tan eraser (yes, they are a thing) and spray all over. “Leave on the skin for five to seven minutes before washing off,” says Jules, remembering to massage your skin with an exfoliating glove as you go. Even the most stubborn of tango stains can’t resist tan eraser! Take a facecloth and some micellar water, and work in circular motions until no trace of tan is left behind – success!

How to tan your back

“When it comes to tanning the back, the good news is you CAN do this alone,” insists Jules. “Just turn your mitt backwards (so the foam sits behind the knuckles) and apply the product directly onto your skin.” Or, if you’re feeling creative, apply your tan to your back by taping a long wooden spoon to your mitt – who’d have thought it?

“If you’re applying self-tan water, simply lean forward and spray the water generously over the back,” says Jules. “Dry with a hairdryer on cool to speed up the drying process.”

How to even out a streaky tan

If the faux-glow isn’t quite up to scratch, your glow faux-pas can be fixed in an instant. Spot a streak after your tan has developed? Jules suggests using “a beauty blender and applying a light layer of tan to the area you missed,” remembering to blend from the middle outwards.

How to apply fake tan to the face

Getting that glow on your face has never been easier! If you’re using self-tan drops, Jules advises “mixing two to four drops in with your usual moisturiser,” and not forgetting to apply some to your neck. For tanning water lovers, misting the face with five to six sprays, making sure you cover all your features will have you covered.

How to use fake tan without a mitt

No mitt? No problem! If you’re using a self-tan mousse and find yourself in an emergency, no-mitt situation, Jules recommends using “a household sponge or baby sponge, or latex or latex-free gloves.” If gloves are your only option, make sure to apply the mousse directly to your skin and rub it in – that way, you’ll avoid orange hands.

How to prep your skin for fake tan

The trick to a truly flawless glow is all in the prep. According to Jules, it’s best to “shave or wax at least 24-hours before application and ensure skin is exfoliated with a dry brush or scrub.” This means you’ll have an even surface so the final result will be even and more importantly, it’ll fade like a natural tan – result! To get rid of the old, unwanted tan from the last application, use Isle of Paradise Over It – it’s the perfect base for your next tanning adventure!

For the ultimate prep step, use Isle of Paradise Prep It. As a pH balance spray, it will “lower your pH and will help the tan penetrate deeper into the skin,” says Jules. Spritz and spray all over, letting it absorb into your skin.

How to avoid a fake tan disaster

We’ve all had at least one orange coloured mishap, so avoiding a second tan disaster is at the top of our list for sure. According to Jules, “the whole reason you’re using self-tan is to look like you’ve been on vacation!” So, if you’re nervous about trying out tanning, apply a single, light layer – or mix some moisturiser into your tan before applying, it’ll soften the in-tansity (see what we did there?).

How to tan your hands

Ah, the age-old question! It’s much simpler than people think, and it starts by “moisturising your hands directly before tan application,” says Jules. Once you’ve applied tan to your entire body, use your leftover drops, water or mousse, sweep it over the tops of your hands. “Re-moisturise your hands to blend the colour,” Jules tells us and remember to wipe your palms, nails and in between your fingers. As a tanning tattle tale, your wrists are often left streaky where the tan collects, so if you find yourself with streaky inner wrists, use your new-found fake tan removal knowledge.

And with that, we’ve just solved all future fake tan mishaps – you’re welcome!