Spray tans - sound simple, but in reality the pitfalls of a patchy tan are all too easy to encounter. Between wearing an inappropriately clingy outfit post-spray, to streaky legs and the dreaded face fade, spray tan disasters are always waiting to happen.
Which is why we've turned to the two main men of spray tanning, Isle Of Paradise founder and industry pro Jules Von Hep, and the man known simply as the Tom Ford of tanning, James Harknett, for their guide to making your spray tan last as long as possible.
Because when you've actually bothered to treat yourself to a pre-holiday treatment, there's nothing worse than it fading before you've even got off the flight.
Here's how to get a spray tan the right way (and make it last way longer)...
It all depends on your spray tan maintenance (see below) but generally your tan should last around ten days. Of course, if, like most people, you tend to shower on the regular, your spray tan will fade over the course of the following week.
Which is why we would always recommend getting your spray tan one to two days before the event you want to look bronzed and glowy for. That way you can make the most of your tan at its peak and pre-fade.
Read on for the pro tips and tricks to making your tan last as long as possible...
Plan your hair removal wisely
'Hair removal can still be one of the main reasons a tan looks patchy or streaky,' says James. 'Removing hair tears away the first layer of skin, which is what the tanning agent is colouring, therefore it’s essential to time the hair removal right. If you wax, then do it 48 hours before the treatment and shaving should be 24 hours.'
Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate
'Exfoliate your skin using an oil free body scrub and, if you want to go the extra mile, incorporate some exfoliating gloves or a dry body brush too,' says Jules. 'If you use retinol, AHAs or BHAs – do this the evening before your spray tan.'
Take a shower
'Just before you tan it’s a good idea to take a cool shower and wash away deodorant, body lotion and freshen the skin from perspiration which can react with the tan and cause a slight yellow effect,' explains James.
The Jules Rules
If you're going into a salon for your tan:
1. Pack some make up remover. I always use Avène Micellar Water, Cotton Pads, and Boots Exfoliating Make Up Wipes (for deodorant and underarms) and a hair tie.
2. Pack a cloth bag to put your jewellery as it’s best not to wear any as your spray tan develops post application.
3. If the spray tan formulation being used contains a guide colour, pack the perfect post tan outfit – jersey maxi dresses and jumpsuits are great. Do not wear active wear, it’s too tight and will completely ruin the spray tan. Trainer socks with pumps also work well, avoid flip flops or gladiator sandals as the straps can cause havoc with the tan developing.
4. Wear a thong or be prepared to go naked if the spray tanner doesn’t choose to use paper pants. If you’re having a spray tan before holiday and wear a variety of different types of swimwear I always advise my clients to go naked to avoid tan lines – we’ve seen it all babe.
5. A serum is ok to apply onto your face before your tan application (just tell your spray tan artist to tan your face last so the serum has sunk in). Don’t apply a moisturiser as the formulation is too thick.
6. Try, if you can, to brush your teeth before your spray tan, that way no toothpaste will gather around your mouth and interfere with the tan's development.
If you’re having a spray tan at home:
1. Shower no less than 15 minutes before your spray tan application (this plumps up your skin cells for a deeper lasting more hydrated tan).
2. Don’t get your hair wet and remove make up and deodorant.
'Ensure your spray tan artist dries you using the spray tan gun, with no mist coming out of it to speed up the drying process,' says Jules. 'Do not get wet during the tan's development time – no exercise, no outdoor kissing in the rain, and nothing that will make you sweat (hint).
Stay away from the perfume and make-up
'Do not wear deodorant or perfume (if you have an appointment after, apply perfume to your hair instead). Do not wear liquid foundation or tinted moisturiser – concealer is fine to apply.'
'Try to wait as long as you possibly can before getting dressed to give the tan maximum absorption time,' says Jules. 'When you get dressed, if you've worn socks, fold down the upper part so the elastic isn’t pressing directly onto the skin.'
'Keep your skin hydrated at all times. Whenever you see someone with a patchy tan it’s because they are dried out, explains James. 'DHA, the tanning agent can dry the skin, so moisturise generously morning and night with a light weight body lotion.
'After moisturising, gently dust the body with a powder to create slip and movement. Pay attention to around the boobs and joints like the inner arms. The powder works like an invisible shield for the tan, stopping the body’s natural moisture and perspiration from stripping the colour to early.
'It’s also a good ideal to sprinkle some talc or mineral powder in your sports bra and trainers if you work out or do regular Pilates or yoga. This will stop the fabrics from digging into the tan and causing any patching.'
How To Boost Your Spray Tan
According to Jules...
'For an instant hit, apply Isle of Paradise Happy Tan on day 4 and then alternate days after, or mix Isle of Paradise Self Tan Drops with your moisturiser of choice 4-5 days after your spray tan appointment just once.'
Isle of Paradise Happy Tan Everyday Gradual Glow - £14.95 Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops - £19.95
According to James...
'To boost your tan and maximise the colour for the longest time try adding Clarins Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster for Body to your existing body lotion. Just a few drops added evenly will slightly darken the tan. Apply to dry skin after showering before bedtime and use latex gloves or a mitt to avoid tanned palms.'
Clarins Radiance Plus Golden Glow Booster - £27