Whether you’re about to get your natural glow on for the summer or you’re hitting the self tanning foam, knowing how to maintain and keep your tan will save you a whole lot of effort, money and stress.
After reading through our eight golden rules on how to keep your tan, you’ll be stepping off the plane just as dark as the day you left that Hawaiian beach (or out of the tanning salon, weeks later).
1. Exfoliate Beforehand
For both a suntan or self-tan, exfoliating before hitting the sun or mitt is essential. This step will remove all of your built-up dead skin cells and ensure that it is your REAL living cells that are getting brown, meaning that they won’t shed from your skin within a matter of days.
Also make sure to get any waxing or shaving out of the way 24 hours prior to your spray tan session, as this will help avoid the look of dark, enlarged pores.
2. Do NOT Moisturise On The Day Of A Spray Tan
Only on stubborn areas that tend to catch a lot of irritating build up, such as hands, feet, elbows and knees, should a coin-sized amount of moisturiser be applied directly before a fake tan.
If moisturiser is applied liberally to the entire body, it will act as a lubricant, not allowing the tan to dry to the skin.
3. Take Cold Showers
If you’re holidaying in the tropics, this step should come as no qualm to you!
Believe it or not hot water dehydrates the skin and makes it peel quicker.
An oil based shower gel will also help lock in your tan instead of scrubbing it off. This, and basic, natural brands are best. Contrary to popular belief, anything advertised as “deeply moisturising” may leave residue behind and shorten the life of your tan (especially if it’s not a real one).
4. Expose Your Skin To Sunlight
Gradually (and safely) exposing your skin to sunlight as often as you can boosts your natural melanin, which is the pigment responsible for making you darker. No matter how white you are or how easily you burn (yes we see you, Lobby the Lobster), EVERYONE has melanin that can be boosted by small but regular doses of the sun’s natural rays.
5. Moisturise Moisturise Moisturise
Moisture and hydration locks in your skin cells, and therefore your tan! Moisturising also helps your skin maintain that healthy, fresh glow, so that you can take what benefits the Cuban sun did home with you!
Body oil is also a fantastic alternative, but can also be used to accompany moisturiser in your daily routine. Oil is a naturally hydrating substance that will lock in your tan for weeks upon weeks. You’ll feel soft and slippery, and also glow like a vain, oiled up ‘Baywatch’ star. Who’s complaining? Certainly not me.
6. Eat Your Beta-Carotenes
These are orange based fruits and vegetables that are scientifically proven to make your skin appear darker and include sweet potato, mango, carrot, pumpkin, cantaloupe and peaches.
They’re also great for the health of as well as brightening your eyes!
7. Drink Plenty Of Water
While this is a given for any health or beauty benefit, drinking at least two litres of water a day prolongs the life of cells, and this includes tan cells!
8. Keep Your Tan Up With A Gradual Tanning Product
This works extremely well in the case of extending both a natural and unnatural tan. Gradual tanning products usually come in the form of moisturisers; hydrating your skin and not creating any unwanted build-up on an already existing tan.
This step will work as a safe and fast top up for a tan that is standing on its last legs, extending its life for as long as you wish.