Whether it's your 15th or your first, getting a fake tan can leave you feeling a little apprehensive, no one wants to find themselves on the orange side of the colour chart. But after you've had your first spray tan, it likely won't be your last.
If you're booked in or are considering getting a spray tan, there are some things you need to know first. We've enlisted the help of tanning expert, Fake Bake's Global Creative Consultant, James Harknett to help answer any questions you may have when it comes to spray tanning. From how best to avoid those dreaded orange-stained bed sheets to hacking your way to patch-free elbows and knees, Harknett has you covered. Read on to see his top tips to give you the tan of your dreams.
What tips would you give to someone going for a spray tan for the first time?
"If you are a tanning novice and a little perturbed from using a self-tanner, I strongly recommend using a fair tan for a warm, natural glow." James also makes the great suggestion of trying out a spray tan on the legs first to get used to the spray-tanning procedure and colour guide before going for a full body.
How long will the spray tan last?
"A Fake Bake tan will last a good five to seven days if you look after the tan. Keep out of hot water, and pat the skin dry. Also, moisturise every day to lock in the colour." But different tan brands will differ, if you're looking for something more long wearing, discuss your queries with the salon prior to the appointment.
Can I still wear makeup over a spray tan?
"Once the guide colour is rinsed off after eight hours or the following morning, makeup can be applied as usual. Most people find they don't need as much foundation or bronzer once their face is tanned." After I've had a spray tan, I find this is definitely the case. I love how little makeup I need after a tan.
Do I need to prep before a spray tan?
According to Harknett, prepping is essential, "you always need to prep the skin with a good exfoliator, like the Fake Bake Bamboo Buffing Lotion (£8) or Cocoa Brown Tough Stuff (£5). Harknett says "you don't want to use anything too oily, as this can affect how the tan sticks to the skin, it's crucial to remove traces of other skin care before tanning." However, you must still moisturise after you've washed the colour guide off and in the following days to maintain an even colour, many salons recommend using an oil-free moisturiser as the DHA in the tan can dehydrate the skin thus effective the appearance of your golden glow.
How soon should I shave before a tan?
"Shaving should be taken care of 24 hours before a spray tan, leaving pores time to close, which avoids any colour guide sitting in the pores."
How can I avoid orange bed sheets?
If you're a real tan lover *raises hand*, you'll have certain tan sheets or PJs dedicated to sleeping in whilst your tan marinates. Harknett says "tan can darken bed sheets; however, it washes away on a 30-degree wash. To avoid this, try getting your tan earlier in the day so you can wash off the guide colour before bedtime." Something else to consider, from personal experience, be aware of toilet-seat stains if you opt for a daytime tan.
What is the best type of body wash to use to maintain my tan?
Harknett says it's best to "avoid a shower gel with sulphates, as these can strip the colour prematurely."
How can I avoid dark patches on my joints?
Your spray tanner should know all about the handy tricks to avoid this, such as thinning out the tan of drier areas of the body. Harknett also says "dab a pea-size amount of moisture on these areas before application."
Can I get a spray tan before my holiday in the sun?
"Yes. Spray tanning before a holiday has become a must for many! It actually stops people from damaging their skin, as there is not such an overwhelming desire to lay out in the sun so quickly and catch some colour" Harknett says. But remember, a fake tan does not protect you from the sun! SPF is still an essential. On holiday, you may find your tan fades quicker as you are going in the pool and sea. Using a gradual tanning moisturiser throughout your trip will make sure you still have a glow toward the end of your trip.