I get a lot of questions regarding my tan and how nice and natural it looks, so I decided to throw together a Tanning Guide. If you’ve never tanned before and are curious on how to create a natural, streak free tan or maybe you haven’t quite mastered it yet, then this is definitely going to help you!
So to start off, you’re going to need the following things:
- Bondi Sands Light/Medium Tan ($19.95 AUD)
I prefer this one over the dark because my natural skin is extremely white, so I don’t like having such a big difference in my skin tone when the tan fades and also between tanning and not tanning. The secret is to keep it natural looking. But if you do already have a bit of a tan or prefer the darker looking tan, I say give it a try and see which you prefer and which works for your skin tone.
- Le Tan Tanning Mit ($9.95 AUD)
I love this mit, it’s so soft and hard wearing that I normally get two uses out of each side (so four weeks worth of tanning). You can use other tanning mits, but I’ve had some bad experiences with them. From the colours coming off them, and the fabric on them shedding so I would definitely chose this one!
- Exfoliating Glove ($3.80 AUD)
This glove comes in a two pack and each glove lasts me a few months which I think is amazing! It does such a good job when mixed with some scent and oil free soap, and doesn’t leave any residue on my skin which is perfect for prepping for a tan!Extras (not necessary, but if you have them it will come in handy!)
- Scent and oil free bar of soap
If you use a body wash, or soap with lots of smell and oils in it, this will usually stay on your skin and effect the application of your tan. I just get a bar of soap from my local priceline.
These are just for any drips or excess product. Trust me, you will need these.
Of course you can use whatever brand you prefer for some of these (except the actual tanning lotion) but these are what I use, and what works for me.
Now that you have these things, you’re ready to start the prep work.
Note: All up, this process will take about 4 hours. But don’t be scared off! 3 of them include lounging around waiting for your tan to develop 🙂
To start off, I go for a shower and I exfoliate my body from head to toe with my mit and soap. Make sure you get every bit of skin you know you will be putting your tan! These are some of the places people seem to forget: your elbows, hands and feet, under the arms (don’t scrub too hard under your arm or any areas where your skin is delicate). Do not use the glove to exfoliate your face!!!! These gloves are rough and are meant for your body and not the delicate and softer skin on your face.
It’s also worth noting here that I do not apply any fake tanning products to my face because:
1. I wear makeup everywhere and even when I don’t, I’ll use a BB cream.
2. Like I said before, the skin on your face is very different to the skin on your body, so I don’t want these products sinking into the pores on my face.
3. Fake tan does not last on your face for very long. It’s a waste of time as the tan will just wear off your face from using different makeup, cleansers, wipes and just natural oils that your body develops.
Bondi Sands has special gradual tanning products made for your face that are the best thing to use if you do want that tanned face.
Moving on… Now that you’ve showered and exfoliated, you will wait about 10 minutes before applying your tan. In this time I put on an old bikini bottom or pair of underwear (optional), I like to do this because it helps protect sensitive areas. But be aware it will leave lines from where you haven’t tanned. So it’s honestly a personal preference. I know a lot of girls use g-strings, so that could be a good option too!
Tips and Notes Before Application
1. Make sure you’re spreading the lotion in circular motions to stop obvious lines! If you have a spot that just won’t blend then simply tap the area continuously with the mit until it blends out.
2. Hands and feet: Only use the excess product that is left on your mit after doing your arm or leg to cover your hands and feet and fingers and toes. Don’t forget to do between all of your fingers and toes, and up the sides of your hands and blend it out so there are no lines. Do not apply the tan on the palms of your hands or the bottoms of your feet!
3. The areas of your body that see the sun the least will be the hardest areas for the tan to stick. In my case this is my lower back, my boobs and stomach. So I always apply extra to these areas.
4. If you have done your whole body and think that you need a bit more in certain spots, you can wait half an hour and apply a second coat. I have never had to do this because I always apply extra in these spots the first time.
Before you open the bottle here are a couple of notes: The smell of the lotion is quite strong and will linger around for a few days on your skin, no matter what body washes you use. In saying this, the smell is a coconut scent and I love the smell of it, so it’s never been a problem. Another thing is that the tanning lotion comes out dark brown… Don’t be scared, because it will NOT turn your skin this colour. Your skin will have a brown/green tinge to it while the tan is on and developing but will wash off after the 3 hours and you will be left with a perfectly natural colour.
Now that you’re all prepared, you’re ready to start applying the tanning lotion. I personally start from my legs and work my way up for two reasons:
1. Because my legs are the whitest part of my body so I like the tan to be on there for a little bit longer than the rest of my body.
2. Going from top to bottom ensures that I don’t miss any spots because I’m not just starting on any random body part.
After the first time you will be able to measure how much you need for each part of your body. I start with a small blob on my calf and work it out and up to my thigh. If I feel like I need more coverage, I will just keep applying small blobs of lotion until I have covered every inch from my toes to the top of my thigh. I do this process with each body part.
3. Don’t forget around your neck (I go up to my jawline), under your arms and behind your knees and legs. Now you’re also probably wondering how the hell you do your back?! Well, I get my mum to do my back (other girls also get their boyfriend or a best friend to do it for them) or Bondi Sands have a handy back applicator!
Now that your tan is on, do not put any clothing on until it is dry. I stand in front of a fan or air conditioner for about 15 minutes to dry it off quicker and to make sure there aren’t any wet patches. After I’ve felt that I’m completely dry, I slip on a loose fitting dress (no bra). This is the easy part, waiting… I leave my tan on for 3 hours to develop and this is the perfect amount of time to get the natural long lasting tan I love. In this time you can lounge around watching some movies, catch up on some work or uni assignments or anything that doesn’t require you to sweat or leave the house (unless you want to walk around outside looking like Shrek). I know a lot of other girls sleep in their tans, but I have white sheets and don’t want to risk it transferring! (I use a towel when I sit down whilst my tan is developing) plus 3 hours already gives me the perfect colour so why sleep uncomfortably to achieve a colour I don’t want. But again, it’s all about personal preference, and how long it takes for your skin to absorb the tan.
My favourite part, washing off the excess tan! For this part do not use any soaps/washes or any products at all on your skin. Just stand under the shower for about 2 minutes watch it all come off. Don’t scrub or rub your skin, just gently glide your hands over your skin to make sure all of the product is washed off. Once you get out of the shower, pat dry your skin, do not rub!!!! Now you may be freaking out a little because your skin still looks the same and that’s completely normal! Your tan has now sunk into your skin but needs time to develop and change colour. I generally do my tans in the late afternoon/night so it doesn’t really affect my skin randomly changing colour whilst I’m out during the day. Plus, you wake up so beautiful and bronzed and you feel like a new person which is the best feeling.
Here are my before and after pictures:
Note: The lighting in the bottom two pictures have a brighter lighting than the top one because I couldn’t get the shadows off my face for the after picture. So just know that the tan is darker than it looks in those two! Also these pictures were taken 24 hours apart to try and achieve the same lighting.
Common Questions & Answers
Question: Should I use the lotion or mousse?
Answer: It’s personal preference! The mousse is easier to apply, but does not last as long as the lotion, so I don’t use it for that reason.
Question: How do I get the tan off?
Answer: I normally let my tan fade naturally. But after about 7 days it starts to go patchy, so I use my exfoliating glove and soap to scrub what ever product is left on my skin. If that doesn’t work you can soak in a bath and use the exfoliating glove with some lemon juice to help get it off. I’ve also heard that lush bath bombs work a treat too!
Question: Can I swim with fake tan on?
Answer: Yes you can! But be warned, this will fade your tan a lot faster than normal as it’s similar to soaking in a bath. If you know you will be swimming a lot then I would put a second coat of tan off after half an hour of the first application.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading and I hope this has helped you! x