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How To Prime Your Skin For Fake Tan

Verity Edwards-Flaherty

Got a knack for DIY? Then you’ll know how important it is to prep and prime a wall before you paint it. In much the same way, preparation is key when it comes to fake tanning properly. Fake tan glides and ‘grabs’ onto well-prepped skin, lending it a flawless colour finish. Plus it makes for a longer-lasting tan that fades gradually and evenly, ready for the next application.

Here are the three steps to priming your skin for fake tan:

Exfoliate. A day before your fake tan use an exfoliator to remove the dead skin cells that are sitting on the surface of your skin, to create a smooth base for tanner to glide over, and reveal the fresh ones. The newer your skin cells, the longer your glow will last so this step shouldn’t be missed if you want to increase the lifespan of your tan.

Remove cosmetics. Some of the ingredients in cosmetic products, like perfume, deodorant and moisturiser, act as barriers to fake tan and can prevent it from latching onto the skin properly. Therefore, bare skin, that’s free from fragrances, anti-perspirant and make up, is the perfect foundation for fake tan application.

Hydrate dry areas. This might sound counter intuitive to the last point but you may have to apply a touch of moisturiser to particularly dry areas of your skin before fake tanning. Skin that’s too dry can ‘soak up’ sunless tanner and leave the skin looking patchy instead of balanced from head to toe. If you need to even up the texture of your skin apply a dab of moisture to common dry spots like the elbows and ankles and blend in well so it’s fully absorbed before tanning.