As regular readers of my blog, or anyone that knows me well, will know - I am a huge fake tan devotee. I love nothing more than on a night time standing in my bath and dousing myself with the lovely stuff. It's a great quick fix and perfect to get the colour that you actually want to be.
Having said all this, there is nothing, and I mean nothing, that beats having a natural tan. Yes, you look healthy and yes, you look glowing. As a bona fide sun worshipper from an early age, I've had more than my fair share of natural tanning disasters (including lobster legs in Mallorca and a whole day in Ibiza where I had to cover up in a t shirt and shorts - bad times) and now, in probably my eleventh year of serious tanning, I think I've finally got it right.
So, since we are currently experiencing somewhat of a heatwave here in the UK (yes, it has stayed sunny for three whole days now) I thought I'd share my tips for a fantastic looking natural tan.
- Get a good book/friend/puzzle/game/magazine/anything to keep you occupied. Natural tanning is all about patience, persistance and consistency. You could be out all day and so you will need something to stop you from getting bored. You aren't meant to fall asleep in the sun as you could get sunstroke but I find it pretty refreshing to doze off, especially if you're on a girls' holiday and you've been partying until the early hours.
- Get your SPF spot on. If you are on holiday abroad where the sun is that bit warmer and you have either a week or two weeks to build up your tan, start on a higher factor (I suggest 20 if you have normal skin for European countries. You may want to go higher if you are venturing further afield.) and work your way down. If your skin can take it, switch to oil for your last couple of days. If you're in England where, as us Brits know only too well, one day you could be laying out in glorious sunshine and the next you could be back in your winter coat, you won't have the luxury of lowering your SPF. I tend to use a low factor of 10 for sunbathing in England. I always use a higher factor on my face to prevent sun damage and premature ageing and really you should be using an SPF every single day to help fight against this. Your moisturiser or foundation may have SPFs.
- Do not burn! It is a common myth that buring makes your skin go brown. Yes, it will go brown after but it will soon peel off and you will be left with the pallor that was there pre-tan. Plus buring is dangerous for your skin and no amount of vanity (and I have more than a fair amount) is worth the risk of skin cancer.
- Keep super hydrated. Iced water, mocktails, even ice lollies - keep your water intake up to stop you feeling like a bear with a sore head after your sunbathing sesh.
- The three Ms - Moisturise, Moisturise, Moisturise. Skin that has been out in the sun all day will need to be re-hydrated. You can use aftersun specially designed for post tanning or just your plain old moisturiser. Try to moisturise at least once a day to keep those pesky peels at bay.
- Use a tan enhancer. I used to love the Piz Buin one as it was really fresh and had a bit of a sheen to it. I now use a St Tropez one which has a bit of fake tan in it to really help out your natural tan.