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How To Apply Fake Tan

How To Apply Fake Tan

Team Missy

Yes, it’s summer but us Irish cailíní know the true struggle of trying to get a golden touch to our pasty skin. And if you’re in any way smart you know that plonking yourself out in the sun is only going to result premature ageing. No thank you! And for the love of God, please forget about sunbeds!

So, the obvious solution is to seek a tan from a bottle. The thing is, tanning can be a bit intimidating. The fear of it all going very wrong, especially before a big event, is very real.

But fear not, is here to tell you how to apply fake tan the correct way to ensure a flawless result each and every time. The goal is to be a tanned goddess, not an orange umpa lumpa.

Here’s how to apply fake tan like a pro.


Prep Is Key

Tanning disasters can be in the making before you even open up the bottle of tan. It’s super important that you make sure that your skin is in tip-top shape before application.

  • Avoid shaving right before you apply tan. It’s best to shave the day before. When you shave your pores are left open and pores love nothing more than getting fake tan stuck in them. The result is not good.
  • The smoother your skin the better the application, so exfoliate and moisturise your skin daily in the lead up to your tan application. MISSY LOVES Vaseline Spray & Go Aloe Fresh and Soap & Glory Scrub ‘Em and Leave ‘Em Body Buff.
  • On the day of your tan application, don’t moisturise your body as it will act as a barrier and stop the tan absorbing. But you should apply a small amount of moisturiser to dry areas such as hands, elbows, knees and feet as well as any other dry patches, including anywhere you may have eczema or psoriasis, just before self-tan application. The moisturiser helps blends the tan, therefore reducing the chances of these areas going too dark.
  • Have a shower before you being applying the tan. You can use your normal shower get, but do not exfoliate right before applying tan.
  • Apply a coat of nail polish to your nails to stop the tan from staining them.
  • Apply some Vaseline to your brows and hairline line if you’re tanning your face.

A couple of our faves ✌️ : @ebbamatilda

A post shared by Cocoa Brown Tan (@cocoabrowntan) on


  • Use a tanning mitt to apply your tan.
  • If you’re a beginner, use a product with a guide colour (like Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Mousse) to help show you where you have and haven’t applied the tan.
  • Work in lengthways motions, apply the product in clean sweeps. Circular motions can unevenly distribute product around the skin and leave you at risk of streaks in your final colour.
  • Leave your hands and feet until last and use only what product is left on your tanning mitt. Do not apply more product directly, just brush over the excess tan left on your mitt.
  • Make a downward pointing ‘claw’ with your hand so that the tan gets in between creases on your fingers. This will ensure you there are no white patches left.
  • When it comes to applying tan on your back, the internal saviour Penneys now has an applicator that you “shimmy” down your back. But when in doubt ask a friend or your mam.
  • Once you’re finished avoid the temptation to wash your hands. Instead use a face wipe to remove the tan from your palms, in between your fingers and your nails.


  • When you shower for the first time after applying tan you can use shower gel, but don’t exfoliate your skin.
  • Wait until days 2 or 3 after your tan application before you begin applying a moisturiser. If you moisturise your skin too early, it can cause the tan to fade too quickly.
  • A product like Cocoa Brown Chocolate Whip Oil Free Body Moisturiser can help maintain and extend your tan.

How To Cover Up Bad Tan

We’ve all been there! There’s nothing worse than waking up the next morning and you’ve got horrible patches! The best thing to do is hop in the shower and try scrub off any patches the best you can with a good body scrub and exfoliating mitt. To cover up any mistakes use some Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs.

See Also
Winter Skincare

The best fake tan for:

pale gals: Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Mousse Light

beginners:  Cocoa Brown Gentle Bronze Gradual Tanning Moisturiser

looking like you’re just back from the Bahamas  bBold Xtra Dark Mousse

when you can’t commit: Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs


Have you any tips on how to apply fake tan? Let us know in the comments below.

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