I know you should exfoliate prior to tanning to get rid of all dead skin cells. I also learnt that a bit of moisturiser before application, especially around knees and elbows, helps the tan to build up in those areas creating those orange spots on your joints...however after doing a bit of online research I learnt a few things and worked out I have being doing a few things wrong...so here is a summary of what I have learnt...
First, Prep Work...so I usually exfoliate in the shower and shave my legs (as I know if you shave when you have a fake tan it reduces the longevity of the tan). What you should do...
1. Exfoliate (Check). Sources say often the body scrubs developed by the fake tan companies are the best. The apparently tend to be stronger and best for removing those dead skins cells. Also it is important to ensure your scrub isn't too oil, if its left on your skin it can make it hard for the tan to take.
2. Shaving time. Now here is what I didn't know. Apparently you should shave the day before (or at least 12 hours before application, and 24 hours prior for waxers). This is due to the face that just shaven skin is quite sensitive and reactive to the tanning formulation.
3. Avoid Deodorants, Perfumes and oils as perviously stated. It creates barriers for the tan to take.
4. Apply moisturiser to dry areas such as knees, elbows, and heels (check) apparently it helps the tanner from saturating those areas.
5. Wear loose fitting clothing to allow tan to be able to set properly. Night is the best option as it allows time to set without clothes rubbing it off (unless its a hot night then maybe best not too so that it doesn't stain your sheets...hot tip!)
Second, Application...ready to go. So pretty self explanatory I thought, use a mit, apply it evenly (not so easy) and not so much on joints...but this is what I learnt that I now know I'm have not been doing right at all (hence over tanned feet...eek!)
1. Apply tan with the use of a mit (check...as it avoids tan on the hands and showing those obvious "I tanned myself" signs) and rub cream (they recommend creams are the best but I'll get to that) on the large areas of the body first (I hate using the word large when talking about the body, but you know what I mean) then focus on smaller parts of body, such as feet (That might be the solution to my over tanned feet problem?!)
2. Use the best product that suits you. There are numerous brands and types on market, St. Tropez and Bondi Sands are my favourites (I usually find St Tropez is cheapest at Chemist Warehouse for under $40, and you can find Bondi Sands at Priceline for about $19.99). With Dove Summer Body Glow being my favourite daily tinted moisturiser (Also really cheap at Chemist Warehouse for under $5). Generally creams are the most moisturising option, however they are usually non tinted and need to be applied with extra care to not miss any spots. Sprays are apparently better for topping up tans as they can be tricky to manoeuvre, and those without a 360 degree nozzle hard to get coverage in those harder to reach areas. And finally theres mousse which is the most popular as they usually have built in bronzers allowing you to see where you have applied. I personally find it gives the best colour but is the hardest to spread evenly.
3. Choose the right shade...now I thought being white as a ghost use a dark shade, as opposed to a light to medium to get my legs tanned ASAP. Apparently I was wrong. If you are fair and want to go dark, do a couple of applications of a light-to-medium shade and develop a more natural looking tan.
Third, Maintenance...usually I use the Dove Summer Body glow moisturiser on a daily basis and obviously pat dry after the shower.
1. Whilst in the initial first 8 hours, while your tan is developing, avoid light clothing as it easily rubs off on the clothes, or will create a nice patchy look.
2. Do not shower 6-8 hours after application. The longer you allow it to develop the darker the tan needs to be
3. Exfoliate about 3 days after you have tanned. Exfoliating dead skin cells as this point helps the tan fade evenly.
4. Pat Dry after your shower to avoid tan coming off prematurely.
5. To make sure your tan endures you need to stay hydrated. Drink lots of water and apply moisturiser daily. There are tan extended products on the market that you can try. One is the Reef Coconut After Sun and Tan Extender which is relatively inexpensive at $10.50 from Priceline.
Now my tan right now wont be so great, I have learnt I have already done a few things wrong in the process. However I now know what I need to do to ensure I have a more natural looking tan...at least I hope...xo