Want to look good naked or boast an island glow without the tell-tale signs of fake tan?
When it comes to achieving the perfect au naturale glow, it’s one thing knowing what fake tan to buy and then another learning how to fake tan effectively.
No matter how many times you may have dabbled in fake tan, we’ve all had that one awkward experience that has left us more...shall we say - ‘oompa loompa’ than ‘bronzed goddess?’
Let’s be honest, learning how to fake tan properly is a serious art form, not to mention confusing. Do you use a mit? Do you exfoliate? Is a lotion, mousse or spray tan better? How long do you leave it before showering? What about the after care?
With so many questions, we at Three Warriors want to make it as simple, stress-free and streak-free as possible for you. So we’ve created an easy guideline of ‘what to do’ and ‘what not to do’ to make the faux glow experience as seamless as possible.
But first, the basics! Learning how to fake tan well all comes down to two things - choosing the right product with the right ingredients and understanding how the product should be applied.
choosing the right fake tan
For a golden hue will absorb well, give you a naturally tanned complexion and looking on point, we recommend a tanning product that has no hidden nasties, is natural, organic and works to compliment your body, not against it.
At Three Warriors (TW) we use only natural and organic ingredients and we care about what goes into our products, using native ingredients that work to empower our bodies.
For those fearful of fake tan hands, we recommend a self-tan mousse and mitt option. Using a mitt minimises your odds of a potentially streaky fake tan or chance of accidentally applying it somewhere you’d rather not have a faux glow. Leave for 1.5 hours for a light hint of a glow and all night for a deep, dark glow.
Alternatively, if you’re more of a low maintenance guy or gal that’s about getting it done fast and would prefer to not risk it rubbing off on your clothes or hibernating inside while it develops, then a gradual tan lotion is a great option. It develops in two hours, won’t stain clothes and all you need to do is apply two hours beforehand.
Or for those who work in beauty or have access to a spray tan machine, the spray tan solution is an amazing way to build a long lasting glow, especially if you’re holidaying or need a boost for more than a few days. The TW spray tan solution is a light-weight, non-streaky, violet based formula that will last for a week and only requires a quick spritz using the spray tan machine and up to five hour building process before showering.
how to fake tan
Now you’ve got the lowdown on the best self tan product to suit you, let’s talk the do’s and don’ts of self tanning...
exfoliate: the number one rule for achieving a flawless faux glow is to scrub your whole body first (face included). Exfoliating the body using a glove and a quality scrub (such as our TW sand scrub) will remove dead skin cells (often responsible for a blotchy tan) and allow your body to become a natural canvas for building a beautiful fake tan base.
prepare your hair: ...removal that is! If you wax, aim to do it at least 24 hours before, and if you prefer shaving opt for 12 hours before, to avoid irritating the skin. Any attempt to remove hair post-glow can strip your fake tan, and no one has time to scrub and start all over again!
shower first: you wouldn’t apply makeup onto to a unwashed face before starting the day, so it’s important to treat your body the same away. Bathe your body with fresh water and just at the end, give your skin a quick blast of cold water. Cold water helps shrink your pores and reduce the chance of them becoming blocked when tanning.
look for the right light: while the bathroom maybe your go-to location for fake tanning, if it has no natural lighting or only a dimly lit glow that doesn’t reflect your true skin tone then opt for a well lit area. Ideally you will need some form of privacy and a mirror and floor covering on hand (or a tiled area is great).
go all natural: and by this we mean no deodorant, perfume or moisturiser. Before tanning, make sure your skin is product free and application ready. By allowing your skin to absorb products before tanning, there is a chance they will affect the chance of a smooth, streak free faux glow.
use a mitt: if you’re all about mousse or would just rather not have to scrub your hands, a mitt makes for a seamless self tan experience. Just add two pumps of mousse to the mitt and apply the tan using a circular motion.
treat your hands, feet, knees and elbows with care: it doesn’t matter if you’re using your hands or a mitt, make sure to pay careful attention to these areas to avoid any obvious tell-tale signs of fake tanning.
extend your tan: keep your skin aglow for as long as you can by moisturising and or using a gradual self tan too. Our gradual self tan makes for a great extender if you need to keep your tan topped up for a final few days.
wear clingy clothes after: opt for anything loose and free flowing, whether that's a silk or satin gown, dress, baggy pants and t-shirt or wide leg pajamas.
shower too soon or for too long: always read the directions on the label and opt for the bare minimum amount of waiting time before showering, if not longer. Also, when you are ready to wash off, take a short shower and towel dry after.
skip the exfoliation process: unless you want scaly skin and an uneven tan, then it’s a key part of the process. But hey, if it means your tan lasts longer!
attempt to coat every finger and toe: you may want a flawless all over faux glow, but there’s nothing more cringe than a build up of tan between every knuckle and toe. Lightly sweep the tan around the top of the hands and feet, but leave the fingers and toes tan-free for a more natural look.
apply a body based tan to your face: unless the product is designed with the face in mind, opt for a product that is customised to give your face a glow. We recommend going for a light mist (such as the Face Tan Aqua Mist) that can easily be applied and will absorb gently into the skin. Don’t forget to apply to neck and decolletage too.
For more practical fake tan tips from the experts, click here.