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The Tan Commandments

The Tan Commandments

From the importance of self-tanning prep and colour selection, to tricks for avoiding orange palms and streaky elbows – make no mistake. For a truly flawless faux glow every time, thou shalt always obey our 10 tan commandments!


1. DO your prep

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again and again and again – good prep is essential for a flawless fake tan! Not only does a thorough skin sloughing remove any dry, dead skin cells and prevent a streaky finish, it helps your tan look beautiful, even and patch-free as it fades. 

To prep right, you should therefore exfoliate from top to toe at least 6 hours before tanning. And for silky smooth results, any waxing or shaving should also be done 12-24 hours before applying self-tanner. This allows the hair follicles to close, reducing the risk of unwanted irritation – and preventing those dodgy little dot marks. Psst, our exfo mitt is perfect for this!

2. DON’T buy the cheapest formula

There are lots of beauty buys you can scrimp on and still get gorge results. Mascara, hairspray and lip gloss are part of this gang. Unfortunately, however, self-tanner is not. 

Often packed with nasties, such as poor-quality synthetic DHA and harsh, drying ingredients, cheap tanning formulas will leave your skin super-thirsty and, more often than not, an unnatural shade of orange. So, maybe skip that second coffee for a few days and invest in a product you won’t regret!

3. DO use an applicator mitt

Muddy palms quickly give the faux glow game away, so make sure you keep yours protected. Wearing a tanning mitt to apply self-tanner is a total no brainer – not only because it prevents your hands from drinking up too much tanning agent, but because it makes application oh-so fast and easy. 

A velvety applicator mitt (like the one in our Sunny Honey Bali Bronzing Bundle) helps your tanning foam glide evenly over you bod. Getting into all the nooks and crannies and quickly skimming over those tricky areas (we’re looking at you, knees).

4. DON’T choose a colour that’s too dark

It can be tempting in the heat of summer to reach for the darkest tanning formula on the shelf. But, if you’re naturally pale or light-skinned, going too dark just won’t look that great. 

Why? Well, the darker the formula, the higher the concentration of the tanning agent DHA it will contain. Applying too much DHA for your natural skin tone is a recipe for an orange-tinted, fake tanning disaster. 

To stay in the safety zone, in Sunny Honey we recommend reaching for our Medium tan if you’re pale or light, Dark if you’re olive-skinned to medium and Ultra Dark if you’re medium to dark. (Note: if you’re olive skinned or darker, there’s a little more leeway and you can go up one colour level if desired.)

5. DO choose a green-grey base

To avoid a Cheeto tan, it’s important to choose a self-tanner with the right base colour. The most universally flattering is a green-grey base – as used in our Sunny Honey Bali Bronzing Foam! Not only does a green-grey tanning base eradicate all hints of orange, it helps to colour correct pink tones and supercharges the bronzing potential of darker skins.

6. DON’T forget to protect your hairline

Blonde bombshell? Make sure it stays that way by remembering to protect your hair when you tan. Chuck your hair in a bun and pop on a hairband. Then rub a little moisturiser into your hairline, not forgetting those translucent brows!

7. DO go easy on elbows, knees and dry bits

If you’ve ever self-tanned before, you’ll know that knees and elbows can be a bit of a B. Often neglected, they can be dryer than the desert, meaning they literally drink up tanner and take on a dirty looking tint. 

The secret to successfully tanning these bad boys? Make sure you pay extra attention to dry spots when exfoliating, and moisturise like crazy in the lead up to self-tanning.

Another useful trick is to apply a little moisturiser to the knees, elbows, ankles, wrist bones and knuckles before tanning. This will act as a barrier cream and prevent too much product from absorbing. Applying while limbs are bent is also a good idea to get into all the creases. 

(For more tips on tackling elbows, knees, ears and even toes, check out our article on how to self-tan those tricky bits.)

8. DON’T change into your best clothes

Sure, our Sunny Honey Bali Bronzing Foam dries fast. But even so, you don’t want to risk ruining your favourite white dress if you start to sweat! While your tan develops, stick with loose, dark, comfy clothes – and bypass the bra if possible. Once you’ve showered off the bronzer, you can slip into whatever you want!

9. DO apply to clean, dry skin

For the best self-tanning results, you want to always apply your bronzing foam or lotion to clean, dry, perfectly prepped skin. This means skipping the body lotion (apart from on those areas that need extra protection), and avoiding perfumes or deodorants, which can interact with the formula. 

10. DON’T exfoliate or shave afterwards

Now you’re beautifully bronzed, it would be a total waste to flush your colour down the drain! Wait at least 3-4 days before exfoliating or shaving, making sure you’re hydrating each day with a luscious body moisturiser to prolong your glow!

Tanned & Tested

Don’t just take our word for it, check out these real reviews from real people! Head over to our reviews page for more!

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Not sure which Sunny Honey shade to get? Check out our blog on Which Sunny Honey Shade Is Right For Me?

Written By: Pip Jarvis

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16 Jul, 2020

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