My self tan beauty hacks

Hello again, 

 Those of you who know me will know that I love a good tan! I used to be a religious sunbed user but after realising how bad and damaging they are for the skin I ditched the beds for fake tan! 

My tanning routine is pretty simple, if I’m trying to give my skin a break and don’t want to overload my face with product then my favourite tan is the palmers cocoa butter tinted moisturiser. Ill apply a thin layer every night for a few nights a week. This tan is very moisturising and is perfect if your wanting that subtle everyday glow.


If I’m wanting a darker more intense tan then I will use the tan truth build up tan and apply this a couple of nights in a row leading up to a night out. Tan truth is the brand my spray tan lady uses when she does my tan. It always develops the perfect shade of brown for my skin so I now use it as a build up for when I’m not having a spray tan. If you have read my skincare blog then you will know I like to exfoliate twice a week, so what I usually do is exfoliate the day before I’m going to tan. If your lazy like me or you’ve left it too late and want that intense tan in one night. You can always apply one layer of tan and then another 20 mins later.


 I know some people don’t like too but I always tan my face! If you exfoliate before the tan won’t stick in any patches on your face. I am oily meaning I have open pores and so to stop the tan from siting in my pores I will use my clay mask the night before I tan to avoid You can also use a light layer of moisturiser right before you tan if you find your tan sticks to dry patches or blemishes.  

 If I want to save myself the hassle of tanning a few nights and I know I have an occasion planned then I usually will book in for a spray tan. I’ve been going to the same lady for about 6 years for my spray tans because she always does them how I like them - DARK haha. She uses sienna X and tan truth and I prefer the tan truth on me as it develops nice and deep. I always ask her to spray my chest and face twice as that’s where the product lifts first on me so this way I can get a full week out of the tan before it starts to break down. You can see by the pictures that the colour is very intense straight after the spray tan but after washing off fades to a really nice shade of brown. (I will post her details at the end of the post). 


I am a serial tanner and have learned a lot through trial and error. Have a read of my top 10 beauty tips when it comes to achieving the perfect tan.. 

1. Use a foundation brush to apply self tan to your face (I use real techniques buffing brush)

2. Always wear gloves when applying tan 

3. Use an old t-shirt to fit over your pillows so you don’t leave tan all over them

4. Wear long sleeved pjs to bed the night you tan

5. Use your facial cleanser to remove the top layer of tan the next morning

6. Tan your hands last (I use the foundation brush to tan my hands) and use a minimal amount of product.

7. Right before you go to bed use a wipe to clean inside your hands (you don’t realise how much you touch your face/ body unintentionally) and this is how you can end up with tan on your hands even after wearing gloves!

8. Don’t forget to apply tan to your ears and the backs of your ears. You might not be able to see the back of your head. But everyone else can.. especially if you wear your hair up.

9. Exfoliate well 24 hours before you apply your tan

10. If you suffer with dry patches of skin or eczema like me, use a light moisturiser to act as a barrier cream to stop the tan from clinging to the dry area.  

Personally tanning mits are a no go for me.. they act as breeding ground for bacteria - yuck and for me they don’t apply the tan evenly. I find when using a mit that some of the product will stick to it and that’s how you can end up with an uneaven application. This is why I use gloves..

The one thing I probably hear the most when it comes to self tan is “my tan always goes patchy”

The ‘patchy tan’ is usually because of one of two things,

Dry skin - If you don’t exfoliate regularly as you tan then dead skin cells will build up on the top layer of the skin which means the tan doesn’t have a smooth surface to apply too. So will often sit in creases like arms, elbows etc. If you do exfoliate and your skin feels rough and dry still, then I would recommend investing in a new moisturiser.

Choosing the right shade - If you go from a pale base colour and add a deep tan in one go it’s too much of a contrast in colour.  If you are fair skinned go for a light tan and build it it up, this way when it does start to lift it won’t be such a contrast from your natural skin tone. 

Use your hairdryer to instantly dry your tan after application, this way you can get dressed straight away! You are always going to get transfer of tan onto your clothes but using a hairdryer to dry the tan straight away will reduce this and will get rid of that sticky feeling.  

Are you one of those people who have attempted to fake tan once and been put off as you ended up looking like an umpa lumpa? Well this might help you to understand why..


Something I have noticed while trying over 10 different brands of fake tan is that you should try to find a tan that works with your undertone. So let me talk a little about undertones, There are three classifications for undertones. Warm, cool and neutral. If you have warm undertones your skin will either appear slightly peachy, yellow or golden. If you have cool undertones you skin will lean pink, red or blue. 

One thing I have noticed on myself is that certain tans like Bondi sands and garnier will come out slightly too warm for my liking. I have worked out that this is because the undertones are very yellow and I am naturally olive toned so when I apply a tan with a warm undertone tan I end up looking very golden/ borderline orange 😂. However if I go for a cooler tone tan something quite dark and reddish almost then the colours neutralise better and I will end up with a sun kissed brown colour which looks more like a natural tan. It’s exactly the same with a natural sun tan, some people will go a golden tan whilst others will go a deep brown this is all to do with your natural pigments in your skin as well as your undertone. So this is something to bear in mind when researching the best tan for you. 

If your someone who has tried a lot of these tips and tried numerous tans and still can’t get on with gradual self tan then here’s a few other wash off products I recommend..

Mac face and body foundation - This foundation is super lightweight and is designed for the face and body. When I was training in London we would use this foundation most days on photo shoots to apply to our models face/ neck and chest if we wanted to bronze up the look. I have a few shades of face and body and I’ll often use this trick leading up to a spray tan when my skin is free of tanning products.

By Terry cellular rose brightening CC syrum - I don’t actually own this product but I do follow a lot of makeup artists who highly recommend it. Its quite pricey which is why I haven’t bought it but it would be perfect for someone who has fair skin and doesn’t get on with self tan. All the reviews I’ve read have been good and it can be worn with and without makeup to give you that sun kissed glow all over.

Nars body glow -I love this body glow especially on holidays it’s nice to use of an evening if you want to look more tanned and it has specs of shimmer in it. I even use this on top of tan on my legs and chest to make my skin look super bronzed and dewy. This body glow is quite dark so I wouldn’t recommend it if your fair.

Lastly.. the biggest downfall to self tanner for me has to be the smell,
If anyone knows of a tan that doesn’t leave you smelling like a biscuit tin please let me know! I’m sure men can sniff out fake tan from a mile away.. I’ve probably tried about 10 different fake tans and the only tan that doesn’t smell funny is the cocoa butter build up lotion. Because it smells quite strongly of coconut it’s the only tan I can wear without my boyfriend noticing.

There isn’t much point me explaining all of the brands I have tried and if I did and didn’t like them because as ive stated different tans will work better on different skin tones so you really have to just find the best one for you. But hopefully you can try some of these tips and find the perfect tan for you! 

I love reading your replys to my blogs, and I’m always up for trying new products so if you have any recommendations for me then pop me a message on social media or comment below!

Thanks for reading,

Kirsty x

For the best spray tan I highly recommend Kelly Hannis. You can find her on Facebook under Kelly ‘tanning’ hannis.  

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