Orange knees, patchy feet, pasty back… If you’ve tried – and failed – at self-tanning at home, you’re far from alone. But we’re here to tell you, it’s time to get back on the horse! A gorgeously golden, flawlessly fake tan really IS within your reach, and it’s the fastest way to feel fabulous – once you know once and for all how to self-tan those tricky bits!
To help you master the art of self-tanning, from top to toe, we’ve put together this guide to tackling the most common problem areas. From self-tanning elbows to subtly bronzing armpits, here’s everything you need to know. Don’t hit the bathroom without our glow-to guide!
You don’t want to sacrifice a smooth, blemish-free complexion for the sake of some colour, so take care when choosing a facial self-tanner. Skip the cheap ‘n’ nasty formulas that can be super-drying and pore clogging, and pick a fake tan packed with hydrating, anti-ageing ingredients and antioxidants – like Sunny Honey Bali Bronzing Foam (designed for both the face and body)!
Now the formulas sorted, it’s time to tackle application. For a flawless result, exfoliate before tanning, and apply your product to clean skin. Just before tanning, plunge your face into a bowl of cold water or run an ice cube over your t-zone to close your pores. Tie back your hair and rub a little moisturiser over your hairline and brows to avoid unwanted staining – especially if you’re fair – then you’re good to go!
As the facial skin seems to have mysterious tanning powers, it’s important to use self-tanner sparingly in this area. We recommend applying a small amount of tanning foam (1 pump) with a Kabuki brush – like the one included in our Bali Bronzing Bundle. This allows you to seamlessly apply self-tanner to all the tricky nooks and crannies of your face.
Worried you’ll go too dark? Start by choosing the correct colour for your skin tone (Sunny Honey comes in medium, dark or ultra dark) and – if you’re still nervous, mix in a little moisturiser. You can also rinse your face off after the minimum developing time, while leaving your body colour to develop for longer.
Alternatively, you might wanna try our Bronzing Face Drops — simply mix 2-3 drops with your fave moisturiser for a gorgeous, natural daily glow! Check out our fail-proof face-tan guide here!
Ears may be the most awkwardly shaped appendages to self-tan, but that doesn’t mean you should skip them! Pasty lobes are an instant giveaway your glow is faux.
So, what’s the best way to tackle the little tricksters? Go easy. Instead of piling on a fresh pump of tanner, use any product that’s left on your kabuki brush after tanning your face. Buff into your lobes and don’t forget the backs of your ears – especially if you’re a ponytail kinda gal.
No brush? A cotton wool ball can also come in handy.
Not quite as tricky to tan as the face, the neck still needs some consideration – and a light hand. Facial tans tend to fade fast due to twice daily cleansing, and the last thing you want is a ghostly white face floating above a mahogany neck!
Using your tanning mitt and a small amount of product (less than you’d use on your limbs, for example), apply self-tan to the neck and blend up towards the jawline. If the guide colour is looking a bit too dark, you can use a facial wipe to quickly remove any excess colour.
You’ve got to hand it to hands – they do like to make our lives difficult when it comes to achieving a natural looking fake tan! However, you CAN achieve a natural looking (fake) hand tan, so long as you use the right tools and technique.
Instead of scrubbing your hands raw with soap and water to avoid those muddy palms, do yourself a favour and invest in an applicator mitt. A velvety mitt (like the one in our Bundle) not only prevents self-tan soaking into your hands, it ensures a silky smooth, ultra-even application – and zero, zip, zilch annoying streaks.
Wear your mitt while tanning your body, then remove for the tops of your hands, fingers and insides of wrists. Create a claw with your hands and, using a small amount of tanning foam on a kabuki brush, apply in a circular motion and blend well.
You can also apply a bit of moisturiser to the knuckles, fingernails and between the fingers first, to avoid too much product being absorbed. A baby wipe can also come in handy to remove any rogue self-tanner from the palms and nails.
All the single ladies with the pasty backs, put your hands up! Tanning your back can be a bit of a B, unless you have a housemate or partner to lend you a literal hand. But – take it from us – it can be done.
All you need is a body brush, wooden spoon, ruler… anything with a longish handle. Pop your mitt over the top, secure with an elastic band, and you’ve got a handy back tanning device that doesn’t require you to dislocate a shoulder.
Knees (and elbows)
Knobbly and generally neglected, the often-dry skin on the knees is notorious for soaking up more than its fair share of self-tan. Make sure you pay attention to the knees and elbows especially when you exfoliate, and do a quick sweep over these areas with your tanning mitt. It’s also a good idea to apply tanner when your limbs are bent, so you can make sure all the crinkly bits are covered.
Armpits are another area that’s often neglected, but pasty pits are a bit of an eyesore when you’re rocking a glow in your summer dress. So, what’s a girl (or guy) to do?
Start by doing any underarm hair removal at least 12-24 hours before tanning. Skip the deodorant and moisturiser, and give the underarm area a quick swipe with leftover product on your mitt.
If you don’t want to spend your summer in trainers, you need to learn how to tan your feet. Start with exfoliated and moisturised, yes moisturised, feet. These guys tend to be thirsty suckers, so you can bend the rules a bit.
Instead of applying product to your tootsies, blend down from your legs, using your applicator mitt. Concentrate mainly on the tops of your feet – where the sun would naturally hit them – and go easy on the toes and, especially, the back of the heel. Use your brush to buff in evenly, and to get in between the toes.
As with your hands, use a baby wipe or makeup remover to remove any excess from your toenails or extra dry areas.
Written by: Pip Jarvis
Edited by: Vidhya