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Exactly How To Keep Your Self-Tan From Fading, According To An Expert

Don't let your hard work go to waste...

Because if you're going to take tanning advice from anyone, it should be Marissa Carter and her team...

From ‘I thought I left these in secondary school’ stress-induced spots to new fine lines and wrinkles resulting from too many hours bingeing Netflix - it’s safe to say, quarantine hasn’t been quite the skin vacation some of us had been hoping for. 

And now that lockdown restrictions have eased and life begins to get back to normal, you'd be forgiven for thinking that your skin would too follow suit. But then a little thing called maskne (that's mask induced acne) came our way and the desire to have glowing, radiant skin is more relevant than ever.

Enter, self-tan.

Much like makeup has the power to raise spirits when we're feeling down, painting on a golden bronze hue will allow us all to feel much less zombie-like as we get to grips with our new reality. But, when you think of self-tan, it’s almost always attached to the idea of it being an overly complicated chore that 99% of the time results in a blotchy, streaky mess. 

First, there's choosing the right type of fake tan. Mousse, lotion or mist? Then, there's nailing the technique, because no-one wants blotchy limbs. And that's before we've touched on how to ensure it sticks around - heck, there's even a tanning hotline for when it all goes horribly wrong!

But because we want the best for you, dear readers, we've enlisted the very best tanning experts in the business (read: the experts over at Cocoa Brown) to lift the lid on the quick, easy and downright clever tips and tricks they swear by for nailing that seamless, sun-kissed look because no-one needs to know you got it from a bottle...


1. Body Prep Is Key

"You’ve heard it all before, you know the drill - exfoliate! Pop on your exfoliating gloves, add a dollop of Tough Stuff (€4.99) body scrub and rub in long sweeping strokes backwards and forwards. The faster you sweep, the deeper the exfoliation. Pay close attention to dry areas including hands, feet ankles and elbows. This will remove dead skin cells as well as any old tan and will create a super smooth surface to apply the tan to, for the most even golden colour.

Next step is to moisturise. Make sure the exfoliation and moisturising takes place at least 24 hours before application. Do not moisturise any closer before application, as it creates a barrier on your skin meaning your tan can't get in and do its job."

Tough Stuff, €4.99, Cocoa Brown

2. Timing Is Everything

"If you’re applying tan after showering, wait at least 40 mins after the shower to allow pores to retract to normal. Or if you’re in a rush, blast your skin with cold water before you get out to quickly shrink all of your pores."

3. Set The Mood

"Apply your chosen tan formula with a tanning mitt, in circular motions onto the skin. A mitt will protect the hand from absorbing all the tan and will also help to evenly distribute the product.

If possible, apply the tan in a bright room in front of a mirror to make sure you don't miss any spots."


4. Lightly Does It

"Apply the tan methodically from legs, working upwards, rather than darting from limb to limb! This way, you know what’s been tanned and what’s left to do - it will become an efficient routine in no time.

Carefully wash palms of hands after application, without getting too splash happy.

Make sure there isn’t much tan left on the mitt and apply whatever is left sparingly to your hands, feet ankles and elbows. Alternatively, you can use a tan-touring brush (or any clean foundation/buffer brush) on these areas to blend tan around knuckles etc."

5. Be Patient

"Allow tan to develop for 3-6 hours before washing off, or ideally, leave it overnight. Be aware that some transfer may occur before wash off so best to wear loose, dark clothing while it dries."

6. And Repeat! 

"To maintain tan, moisturise daily – it can last up to 7 days.

Once your tan begins to fade, use Fresh Start to start again! The revolutionary tan eraser formula contains no harmful ingredients and effectively removes all signs of residual tan, leaving skin fresh, clean and ready for your next tan application."

Fresh Start Self Tan Eraser, €9.95, Cocoa Brown

Main image by @maria_makeup_x on Instagram

READ: Sales Of Self Tan Are Up 450% Since Lockdown – Here Are The Ones Worth Your Money

READ MORE: PSA: The SPF In Your Foundation/Moisturiser Is Not Enough