How to fake it

With the rain-drenched British summer leaving much to be desired, the only sure-fire guarantee for beautifully golden skin seems to be a long-haul trip to an Equatorial paradise. Winifred Adeyemi provides The-Latest with an alternative, fool's guide to self-tanning.

There are other ways to achieve the melanated tones of health, wealth and success without shelling out a fortune on foreign travel or leaving yourself open to skin cancer and premature ageing. Few people today are strangers to the self-affirming effect that simulating natural brown skin has on the appearance and psyche. Long coveted by the inhabitants of cold climes, darkened skin is now a must-have for the masses and deemed just as essential as a decent hair cut or white teeth.

Coco Chanel, an immortal arbiter of style changed fashion forever in 1923, putting tanned skin on the wish list of those just as rich and famous, with the desire for sun-kissed skin trickling down the social spectrum as if it were liquefied gold.

Not everyone is able to attain the gold standard of tanning which they nonetheless aspire to. We've all chuckled over celebrities and acquaintances who appear to emulate a bottle of Orangina rather than a butterscotch beauty from Ipanema.

But how can you be sure that the joke isn't also on you? Instead of walking out the front door looking as though you're competing with its mahogany veneer or having your breast fondled at the food hall because a long-sighted stranger has mistaken it for a tangerine follow these tips and you will be greeted like one of the gods wherever you go.


  • Be sure to patch test your skin before you apply an all-over tan. Some unlucky people settle for the Tangoed look as tanning agent DHA which is meant to brown the skin can leave your skin an awful orange hue.
  • Selecting a tinted self-tan, like Decleor's Aroma Sun Tinted Self-Tan SP10 or something super from L'Oreal's innovative laboratory allows you to see where you've applied the product.
  • Prime your skin by exfoliating  — especially the heels, feet, knees and elbows - the night beforehand with a gentle, non-irritating body scrub.

Moisturise the night before too. Applying cream or lotion to the skin on the day may block your chosen products effectiveness. Be sure to choose a moisturiser free from petrochemicals and fragrance as these ingredients can react with your tanning agents producing off-key colours. Anything by Aveda or Molton Brown would be a good choice. If you suffer from dry skin use a cream self-tanning formula.


  1. Blend your tan, half and half with moisturiser and apply to your face as you would a foundation. Blend outwards from forehead and cheeks, over your ears and chin, then sweep down your neck.
  2. Sweep the tan down your neckline and across your chest. Never stop at your jaw-line otherwise you'll be left with a harsh line.
  3. As bleached hair magnetises colour, blondes should further dilute the tan with moisturiser as they merge towards the hairline. Any excess should be removed from the hairline or brows with a cotton bud.
  4. Scrub your hands clean. Applying tan remover and wearing latex gloves prevents orange palms.
  5. Taking care not to over-rub and cause streaks, smooth tan up and down your lower legs in circular strokes.
  6. Massage the tan over the top of your foot, then mix 20 per cent tan to 80 per cent moisturiser and merge it with the sides of the foot, toes and ankle.

Tissue off any excess.

  1. Tan your bottom and thighs. Apply sparingly to your knees, again tissuing any excess.
  2. Apply tan to your back and chest. St.Tropez Back Applicator  £8 is a good investment if you've short arms.
  3. Making sure it doesn't pool in your navel, take the tan down your tummy, then apply along your outer arms. Mix moisturiser into tan and blend your inner arms and armpits.
  4. Remove your gloves and squeeze a little tan on the back of your hand. Rubs the backs of your hands together. Apply a little moisturiser to your fingertips and blend it with the tan on your hands, taking it down your fingers. Remove from your inner wrist crease, nails and palms with a wet wipe.
  5. Once the tan has dried dress in loose dark clothing and if female don't bother with a bra, as there is nothing worse than fake tan lines to give the game away.
  6. Fake tan can be washed off after four hours without any risk to colour development, but wait 24 hours to apply a second layer for optimal colouring.

Save Our Skins …

If you suffer a self-tan disaster try these handy insider tips:

  • A dip in the pool will tone down a too dark tan as chlorine is a bleaching agent. If you don't have access to your own pool, try fading the colour with a tan remover like Velvotan  £1.99
  • For a lighter complexion than wanted boost the colour with an instant bronzer. Guerlain produces excellent bronzers with the most glamourous packaging.
  • Dark patches can be minimised with tan remover or whitening toothpaste. A tried and tested last resort is gentle exfoliation with the underside of an emery board.
  • Pale streaks can be filled with more tan. Dark streaks can be evened out with tan remover.
  • Never attempt to camouflage orange skin with a different tan; you'll end up looking radioactive. Soak in the bath and scrub everything off with a rough towel or follow the brands instructions for  "too dark" applications.


Lengthen the life of your tan by moisturising twice daily. Reapply to your face every 3-4 days and start afresh all over once a week. To add an extra sun-kissed sparkle or glam it up on a night out, dust your skin with a subtle golden shimmer such as Smashbox's Illuminate Bronze Tint.

Now there is no need to envy those lucky enough to be gifted gorgeous skin by a constant sun. If you don't have it you can fake it and once you've faked it be sure to flaunt it!