There’s nothing like a faux glow to make you look and feel like a golden goddess. But – let’s be honest – we’ve all experienced our share of self-tanning fails. From choosing the wrong formula to sloppy application, self-tanning mistakes are easy to make. Thankfully, though, with a little know how, they’re even easier to prevent!
So, put down that questionable tan-in-a-can and get reading. This is your essential guide to the most common self-tanning fails – and how to avoid them.
1. You're Streaky
Streaks are a major self-tanning fail, caused by a poorly-prepped base and dodgy application. To avoid looking streaky and freaky, you really need to start by stepping up your prep! This means exfoliating and waxing or shaving a full 6-24 hours before applying your self-tanner. You should also slather yourself in a heavy-duty moisturiser in the days leading up to your tanning session.
By sloughing away dead skin cells and hydrating skin, you’ll prevent colour clinging to dry areas. Leaving time after hair removal also prevents irritation and stops tan settling into follicles and leaving little dot marks.
Next up, application. Start with clean, dry skin – no moisturiser, deodorant or fragrance as these can interfere with your tanning formula, and apply self-tanner with a mitt, using long, sweeping motions. Apply in front of the mirror and choose a tinted formula to guide your application and ensure you don’t miss any spots.
Super-absorbent or tricky tanning areas – face, ears, hands, feet, knees and elbows – need a little extra care, and less self-tanner. You might even want to apply a small amount of moisturiser to dry knees, elbows and hands before you get started. Then, for a perfectly even finish, apply a small amount of tan in a circular motion, using a kabuki brush.
2. You’re Patchy
Patchiness occurs when your tan fades unevenly. The key to avoiding this fake tan faux-pas lies in thorough prep (see above), but also aftercare. Once you’ve tanned, avoid soap and use a gentle body wash that’s free from colour-stripping ingredients like sulfates (SLS, ALS), mineral oil and petrolatum. Avoid hair removal for a few days, and don’t start exfoliating until your tan starts to fade.
Make sure you also keep your showers short and on the cool side, and gently pat – don’t rub – your bod dry. Dry skin and tans don’t mix, so make sure you always follow with a moisturiser that’s free from the ingredients above.
Water baby? Jacuzzis and chlorinated pools will also cause your tan to break down faster, so stay on dry land if you can.
3. You’re Orange
Ever ended up Oompa Loompa orange after a self tan sesh? You’re not alone. A tangerine tone is one of the most common self-tanning fails, caused by using a formula containing poor quality DHA or too much DHA for your skin tone (as in, opting for an ultra-dark formula when you’re porcelain-pale), or ignoring instructions and leaving fake tan on for too long.
To look perfectly sun-kissed, make sure you follow pack instructions, and always choose an anti-orange formula, like Sunny Honey Bali Bronzing Foam. With a green-grey base colour to cancel out unnatural tones, Sunny Honey ensures you’ll look beautifully bronzed and gorgeously glowing. Without so much as a hint of orange!
4. You’ve got Cheeto Hands
Muddy or orange palms are a total giveaway your tan comes from the bathroom, not the Bahamas. Hands are thirsty little suckers that really drink up self-tanner, so an applicator mitt is a must to avoid a Cheeto-like hue.
Tanning mitt virgin? Prepare to be converted! A velvety self-tanning mitt (like the one in our Bali Bronzing Bundle) doesn’t just protect your hands from absorbing too much colour. It helps your tan glide along the skin for an ultra-smooth application and even, streak-free results.
5. You’re Too Dark (or Too Light)
Choosing a tan that’s too dark is another common self-tanning mistake. While it’s tempting to want to get the most bang for your tanning buck, too dark a colour can make your complexion look a bit muddy and not exactly natural… To avoid this, always choose a shade designed for your natural complexion.
Another tip? Opt for a quick-developing formula that gives you control. In Medium, Dark and Ultra Dark, Sunny Honey Bali Bronzing Foam allows you to play around with how deep you want your colour to go. You can rinse off the guide colour after two hours – this is the point at which the fake tan begins to develop – or leave for 8 hours (or even overnight) for a more intense bronze hue.
6. You Smell Like Biscuits
You know that biscuity smell that lingers after you apply most self-tan prods? It’s caused by Dihydroxyacetone or DHA – a chemical colour additive used in sunless tanning formulas. Derived from glycerin, DHA has a chemical reaction when it comes into contact with amino acids found on the skin. While this reaction is responsible for darkening the skin, it also results in that yeasty fake tan smell.
Like most of you, we find this smell suffocating and kinda gross. So, we formulated the world's first 100% natural, stink-free DHA! Now, instead of smelling like baked goods gone bad, you’ll smell like tropical Balinese mango and guava as your tan develops. What’s more, you’ll also be feeding your skin a cocktail of natural antioxidants and hydrating, firming, imperfection-blurring ingredients.
7. You've Ignored Your Face
Applying fake tan to your face can be a little scary. Some formulas are drying, while others make you break out. But skip the face, and you’ll look a bit odd. Or spend forever with the bronzer every morning!
To ace your face, you need a self tanner with skin-loving ingredients. Free from parabens and sulphates, Sunny Honey ticks all the boxes. Lightweight and non-sticky, it’s enriched with mandarin oil and powerful natural antioxidants to nourish skin as it tans.
The right tool also makes all the difference. A kabuki brush should be your go-to for getting into facial contours without staining your fingers. Pop a small amount of self-tanner on the brush and apply in a circular motion, blending as you go. Foolproof application and flawless finish, guaranteed!
So, what are you waiting for? Say bye-bye to these self-tanning mistakes with Sunny Honey Bali Bronzing Foam.