Tan legs bench

Fake it until you make it: how to perfect your fake tan this summer

Follow these golden rules for a fresh-off-the-beach glow from head-to-toe

Fake it until you make it: how to perfect your fake tan this summer

If you haven't been out and about getting your tan on so far this summer, a little fake tan can go a long way when it comes to achieving that perfectly golden summer glow.

That's right - you can cheat your way to beautifully-bronzed skin without frying yourself on a two-week holiday abroad. We've broken down our fake tan guide into ten simple steps that are easy to follow. Stick to them religiously and you'll soon become a fake tan pro with that sought-after hint of colour. 

So whether you're a self tan novice or just need some great suggestions to help you fake it, our tan commandments mean you can dare to bare with confidence - all summer long!

1. Prep school

Pre-tanning, thou shalt shower, shave and buff away dead skin cells with Dove Gentle Exfoliating Body Wash. Don’t moisturise immediately before applying fake tan as it can stop the colour ingredients working. Instead, smooth Vaseline Intensive Care Aloe Soothe Lotion, over your elbows, wrists, knees, ankles and toes (the dry areas that ‘grab’ tan, creating that orange, wrinkly effect).

2. Gloves on

The tango should be limited to dance programmes and soft drinks – not the colour of your hands. That’s why we love the St. Moriz Self Tan Applicator Mitt (pictured below), for applying your fake tan.

3. Soft touch

Add St. Moriz Self Tanning Mousse Medium to your mitt, scrunch it up to spread the tan, then work onto the skin in sweeping motions. Do legs first, then tummy, arms, neck, back, feet and hands. The colour you apply shows where you’ve put product. This will wash off eight hours later to reveal a natural-looking, just-stepped-off-the-plane glow. Don’t overload the mitt – less is always more when it comes to achieving a healthy colour.

4. Don’t leave tell-tale signs

Use Simple Kind To Skin Cleansing Facial Wipes to clean your palms and easily wipe away any staining between your fingers and on your nails. Finally, massage moisturiser onto the backs of your hands, paying special attention to your wrists to blend in the edges.

5. Style it out

Even the best tan aficionados make mistakes. If you’re looking a tad streaky, don’t panic. Mix the juice of a lemon with a little Clean & Clear Exfoliating Daily Facial Wash, and scrub gently over to fade the problem area. Nobody will ever know…

6. Wing it

Last-minute girls’ night out? You can bare your legs and achieve instant colour by spraying on a little Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs Leg Makeup. As well as adding some colour to pale pins, this lightweight body makeup covers freckles, veins and anything else you don’t want to bare to the world, helping to boost your confidence and get those legs out.

7. Ace the base

While some people fake-tan their faces, a fail-safe way to look more natural is to up your foundation a shade or two. Mix your choice of foundation with an illuminator like Collection Speedy Highlighter 01 Pearl Sheen, to reflect light for a sun-kissed look.

8. Gently does it

Worried about faking it? The easiest way to get some colour is a moisturiser with a built-in tanning boost. Garnier Apricot Summer Body Moisturising Lotion works a treat and smells lush, too. Just make sure you wash or cleanse your hands afterwards.

9. Tan-touring

Tan-touring is the full body version of contouring - the process of applying a darker shade of your regular makeup to the hollows of your cheeks and along the sides of your nose to give the appearance of a better bone structure.

Tan-touring is traditionally achieved with fake tan that develops to leave you looking sculpted and toned, but, because this so hard to master it’s probably best left to the expert spray tanners. Cheat your way to tan-style contouring by working Maybelline Master Contour into the hollows of your collar bone with the QVS Foundation Brush, before buffing away the edges with the Real Techniques Finish Sculpting Brush.

10. Last but not least

The finishing touch? Collection Bronze Glow Matt Powder. Swirl your make up brush over the palette, tap off the excess, then gently dust the bronzer across your nose, the tops of your cheeks and temples. This is where you would naturally catch the sun.

Looking to get your glow on this summer? Whether you're baking it or faking it, make sure to stock up on everything you need online or pop into your local store.