EXPERT SECRETS | A fake tanning tip... or ten

RECENTLY I penned a piece on how to self-tan. Yes, yes, there's so much about it in the papers ALL THE TIME because tanning has become a four-season sport in the last 10 years. Just another bit of pulp to add to the pile, right? Sure, and not just a day or two after writing a piece about ignoring all this beach-ready nonsense. I'm sticking to my guns on that, by the way. If you already respect your body and have realistic expectations, it'll be in fine shape for a bikini.

It goes without saying that even though I emplore peeps to not go crazy and all unrealistic on the beach-body stuff, they will self-tan. And that's cool. There's nothing wrong with not wanting plucked-chicken palor while wearing teeny summer frocks.

So, because there is so much SHITE advice on how to apply self-tanner, here is my list of essential beauty tips to applying the stuff properly. Leave any of these out and you will probably have a sub-par fake glow. And nobody wants tell-tale signs that any aspect of their *cough, cough* 'natural' beauty isn't as advertised, now do they?

Do it or put down the tanner:

  1. E. X. F. O. L. I. A. T. E. Like it's going out of fashion tomorrow and you have a stockpile of the stuff to get through before then. Once you're done, go back and do your feet, ankles, knees and elbows again.

  2. Don't shave or wax the day of unless you want a pretty polka-dot pattern to show up on your skin when that fake tanner settles into those freshly vacated follicles.

  3. Whatever you do, don't use sprays, liquids or anything other than a cream, foam or gel tanner at home, preferably with instant color to help show you where you already covered. Spray (yes, even those 'just spray a thin coat and your done!' airbrush ones) and liquid are IMPOSSIBLE (impossible!) to get right at home.

  4. Use gloves. Seriously.

  5. Start at your feet. Some hair-brained idiots who somehow, some way have earned the title of beauty expert will tell you to start at your thighs. Right... so when I bend over and my non-super model stomach rubs against them the entire time I'm applying the stuff to my feet, ankles and calves, what do I then? Wear my smeared stomach and thighs as a badge of non-anorexic honour? Cockamimi. Start at the bottom and work up the torso, then do the back (yes, the back is hard to do alone so work up from the hips and then down from the shoulder), followed by the chest and arms then the face and neck (although do the back of the neck when you do your back). Work your body in segments too (think colour by numbers). Don't just randomly slap it on. Hands are the last thing you do before washing your palms. Use it sparingly here.

  6. Put vaseline on your toenails, cuticles and eyebrows. Any build up in cragy areas will be instantly tell-tale.

  7. Mix the self-tanner with regular lotion (1:1) before applying it to ankles, knees, elbows, hands, inside arm and any other area it's easy to cock up. It's easier to build a tan gradually than have to walk around looking like a diseased satsuma.

  8. Massage the stuff in like you're being paid by the hour to do it. The more thorough the application, the more even it will be.

  9. Take the time the side of the box says it'll take for your tanner to dry and treble it. At least. Stay naked for as long as possible after you've applied it and avoid heavy sweating, water (salt, fresh, chlorinated, whatever) and acidic products right after.

  10. Finally, time is precious while you're working so do it efficiently. The quicker you get the application done (while still doing a crack job at it), the better. It's literally a case of hurrying up to wait (naked).

And now for a few of our favourite fake tan offenders. How do we choose when there are just so, so many. Thousands... millions of them? It was a tough call but we think these three have earned the title through dogged dedication to the cause, come rain or shine, winter or summer. The seasons may change but their orange hue does not



Linday Lohan, you're like an orange beacon in the night. Your fake tan seems to fluctuate as frequently as your lips... patches of it here and there. Some days it's orange... other days it's... oranger. You labour on, impervious to us naysayers down below on earth. Your airbrush bronze must double as armour that keeps you safe from our prying eyes and disbelieving gasps while you toil day and night to bring us our very own range of dyslexic self-tanner so we too can fly the flag of the fake tan!

Chelsey Davy, you are an inspiration to wannabe Royals everywhere. Wear the tangerine badge of an aristocratic parvenu with honour!

And then there's the king of the mahogany mug himself, Valentino. The man who puts the 'tan' in fantastic. I was once stuck behind this naugahyde wood nypmh while in a rush on Sloane Square and almost ran smack into him as he disappeared into the scenery like a chesire cat. Very effective urban camo... In cuban heels, he measured in at 5-feet nothing and weighed in at a whisper more than a sack of grain. Which was fittingly the same colour as his suit, hair AND skin... he was a monochrome picture of caramel and camel that disappeared into the brickwork of the surrounding buildings effortlessly. I have yet to afix my eyes to such a vision again... the closest I've come to it is an orange stereogram and I had to look away because it gave me a headache. He might have the same effect if I stared too long.