How to Make Your Winter Tan Believable — Even When It's Grey Outside

Because we all know you didn't just step off the plane...

Fake it till you make it...

Admit it: Your skin hasn't seen the sun in what feels like about two years. Whether that's because you've finally listened to your dermatologist and stopped laying out, or you just rarely emerge from the office for your hourly dose of vitamin D, your skin now looking as grey as the skies above. You miss that healthy glow, we miss it too.

Ideally, you'd jet off to the Bahamas, or maybe the South of France, but you've got bills to pay and a cat to feed. The holiday will have to wait, and you'll have to continue looking like Casper the Friendly Ghost. Or, you could just reach straight for a bottle of fake tan. But it's November and if you rock up to work on Monday with a tan darker than the one you got when you spent a week in the South of France earlier this summer, nobody is going to believe it—especially as all your colleagues saw you Instagramming pictures of your cat all weekend. 

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missing my morning cup of ☕️☕️ in 

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But tanning in winter doesn't have to be a complete no-go. We asked He-Shi tanning expert, Shelley Martin to share her rather ingenious tips that prove it is possible to add a little warmth back into the skin without your desk buddies suspecting a thing. Keep scrolling as we teach you how to tan in winter, in four easy steps.


It may sound obvious, but if you want your tan to stick around, you need to prep your skin. "For flawless skin you need to remove dead skin cells that sit on the top layer of your skin," explains Martin. Applying colour over skin that hasn't been exfoliated will only fade as the cells shed, leaving you with a patchy tan. You should be gently exfoliating your body "2-3 times a week, concentrating around the knees, back of arms and elbows" recommends Martin. After scrubbing leave the skin clear of oil and moisturiser. These are what cause streaks and blotches. Clear, clean skin is all you need.


First, choose your shade. If you have fair skin, opt for a light-to-medium formula, and if you have an olive-toned complexion, use a darker formula.

Next, choose your brand. "When looking at tanning brands be selective and always choose a brand that has added skincare benefits. The better condition your skin is in, the longer your tan will last. He-Shi is a tanning brand that prides itself on offering skincare benefits containing rich moisturising ingredients that will work on the skin whilst offering a natural golden colour," says Martin. 


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First thing's first, don't use your bare hands unless you want your palms to look like they belong to an Oompa Loompa. For seamless application, get yourself a mitt which will make light work of bronzing your back. Using a mitt ensures an even, streak-free finish. "Apply the tan in a circular motion, leave hands, knees, feet and elbows till the end and use the remaining product left on the tanning mitt," recommends Martin. 


Now your tan has developed and you’re happy with the results, the work doesn't stop there. Stay glowing for longer by keeping your skin hydrated. "Apply body moisturiser daily after showering, this will help with the longevity of the tan. To maximise the benefits of your moisturiser, apply to damp skin. Your moisturiser will glide across the skin and be more easily absorbed," advises Martin. 

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dog hair on my shirt oops

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Just remember, fake tanning is an art form.  It takes practice, but with the right paint, the right tools and the right technique; you'll totally look like you went on that vacation to the South of France. (Harry Styles and a yacht not included.)

Main image by @gemary on Instagram

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