With summer in full swing and temperatures on the rise, it’s time to start thinking about getting your tan on, and I don’t mean lying on a beach in full sun. Get a safe golden glow without the dangers of sun-tanning by following these top tips, and a few unusual ones too, for achieving the perfect tan.
Top 6 Tanning Tips
These are my tried and trusted tips that I’ve been using for years. Ignore them at your own peril.
- Get smooth. Remember to remove unwanted body hair before having your tan done, especially if you wax. One strip of wax is all it takes to whip away that beautiful colour in seconds, wasting your time, your money and leaving you looking like a patchwork doll.
- Scrub down. A smooth skin makes for an even tan so exfoliate you body and face well, at least an hour before your tan. Coarser, granular scrubs work best for body but make sure you rinse off well afterwards using a shower gel to remove any residual oils that will prevent your tan developing correctly.
- Butter up. Use a touch of body cream on trouble spots such as your elbows, knees, ankles and the tops of toes and knuckles. This prevent these naturally drier patches of skin from soaking up too much colour, leaving an unnatural or dirty-looking finish.
- Be prepared. Whether you’re having your tan done at a salon or at home, remember the essentials. Put down old sheets on your bed and pillow if you’re sleeping with it on and cover your car seat with a towel or two to protect it if you have to drive home.
- Dress smartly. Don’t forget to take a slim g-string along to ensure you get as much of your body tanned as possible (those disposable spa panties don’t leave the prettiest tan). Wear loose-fitting dark clothing after you’ve dried off and avoid items with elastic areas that sit close to the skin.
- Don’t sweat it. Keep cool and avoid activities that cause you to perspire such as exercising, cooking for long periods of time and above all, sitting in a hot car. If you have to drive home after a tan, try to plan your times and routes to avoid traffic. There is nothing worse than sitting in a hot car in summer, in an hour of traffic, watching your perfect tan slowly melt away from you.
4 Tips You’ve Never Heard Before
These are my four biggest tanning faux pas that I’ve learned the hard way. They’re the kind of things no one ever tells you but believe me you’ll be grateful you know them now.
- Drive safely. Tempting as it may be to forgo this essential safety device after a tan, it’s just not a smart idea to travel without a seatbelt and you don’t want want to end up on the wrong side of a car accident in the name of a perfect tan. It’s not worth it; there’s no beach in heaven. Instead, buckle up but loosen the belt around your waist, then pull the diagonal strap forward and place it between your thumb and hand against the steering wheel. This way, you stay secure without the strap cutting into your body or tan, and if you really need to you can release the strap in less than a second.
- Wear slippers not sandals. They may seem like the smart choice but sandals, thonged or otherwise, are not the best footwear to use after a tan. You’ll end up with a tell-tale v-shape or stripe across your feet that makes you look like you’ve spent a week on a beach in Bali wearing shoes. Rather slip on a pair of soft, loose slippers (those fluffy ones with the open toe areas you get at spas) after you’ve dried a bit. These will ensure you can walk to your car without getting a sandal tan or looking like a bergie.
- Tinkle with caution. There’s just no delicate way of putting it but, unless you have the precision of a man, this is a task best done slowly and with a wide berth. Many a tan has been ruined in this way so pay attention and take care.
- Don’t wash your hands. Calm down, I don’t mean at all, I just mean with running water. Trying to wash your hands in a basin, with running water or a bit pooled into the basin, doesn’t end well when you’re trying to develop a tan. You can drip, dab and pat as much as you like, the result with be an uneven mess and you won’t end up washing your hands properly anyway. Rather use an anti-bacterial wet wipe to clean the underside of your hands well to ensure a sanitary and streak-free outcome.
Photography Jamie Nelson and courtesy images