Expert Advice

How to make your fake tan look natural

It’s no secret that lying in the sun or using a sunbed is incredibly bad for your skin. Whilst applying a fake tan is a sure fire way to save your skin from the sun’s harmful rays, it can often be a challenge to get a sun-kissed glow that looks real. We’ve devised some expert tips to make your fake tan look natural.


women cleansing

The secret to making your fake tan look natural starts in the preparation. For a truly even tan, exfoliate your entire body before application. Use an oil-free exfoliator in the shower before getting started with the application. Oil creates a barrier between the skin and product meaning that it will make fake tan streaky and patchy from the offset.

Editor’s pick: Pai Kukui and JoJoba Skin Brightening Exfoliator

The product’s Omega 3 and 6 lock in moisture, whilst the nourishing gel formula leaves an improved texture and smoothness – perfect for preparing your skin for your tanning application.


After exfoliating, you then need to moisturise. Apply an oil-free body moisturiser all over the body, focusing on extra areas such as your elbows and knees where tan sticks too and causes unevenness. Tanning expert, Kristyn Pradas, who gives spray tans to the Victoria Secret Angels, told Cosmopolitan: “If you have large pores or dry skin, you should apply a moisturiser on you face 20 minutes before applying you self-tanner.”

Editor’s pick: Fake Bake Oil Free Mistifier Moisturiser Body Spray

Combining powerful antioxidants green tea and vitamin E, not only does this moisturiser make for the perfect tan it also protects the skin against free radicals.

Bend your hands like a claw

Okay, so this one might sounds strange but tell-tale signs of a fake tan are often in the hands. We often apply fake tan with straight fingers but we don’t go about our day to day life with straight hands.  To make fake tan look natural, bend your fingers so your hand looks like a claw and apply into all of the nooks that would usually be visible on the body.


We all know about contouring with our makeup but why not do the same with your fake tan too? You’ll get double the contouring effect and have a healthy glow. Look in the mirror, smile lightly and apply to the area underneath your cheekbone where the face naturally caves. Speaking to Harper’s Bazaar tanning expert Katie Quin says: “Imagine a ‘3’ going from the arch of the eyebrow, to under the cheekbone, to under the jaw. This is the template for face contouring.”

Editor’s pick: Brushworks HD Definer Complexion Sponge

Designed for seamless blending of foundation, this complexion sponge is perfect for contouring a natural looking fake tan.



Writer and expert