How to Master a Salon-Quality Fake Tan at Home

James Read Fake Tan Tips

Bare legs weather has finally arrived. And with it comes the instant panic over pale, pasty limbs. I’ve had my fair share of fake tan mishaps in the past, but now have an effective routine in place. For a subtle, gradual tan I like to use the Tan-Luxe illuminating drops. And for a quick hit of colour I always turn to James Read’s Express Bronzing Mousse. Nothing beats it. Honestly.

Recently I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to speak to tanning expert, James Read. And he kindly shared his top fake tan tips, so you can achieve salon-quality results at home, this summer. Read on for his advice…

CTP: What are the most important things to do before applying fake tan? And how far in advance should you start thinking about skin prep?

James Read: Exfoliate 3-4 days before you plan to tan. Moisturise on the day of tanning application – and if your skin is particularly dehydrated apply an oil the day before and wash it off before you apply any tanning products. Wax and shave 24 hours before tanning application. And if you want to have a facial, have it a week before to let skin settle down.

What are your top tips for achieving a salon-quality tan at home?

ALWAYS use a mitt. Start from the face and work down the body in stages. To tan hands and feet, wipe left over product from the arms onto the hands and from the legs onto the feet. Never go over the hands of feet twice! And remember to clean finger and toe nails afterwards.

Expert Fake Tan Tips
How to Avoid Fake Tan Mistakes

The number one worry is that fake tan will look streaky. What’s the easiest way to make sure that doesn’t happen?

Layering on the same day is key. Apply in front of a mirror so you can see yourself from all angles to make sure you don’t miss any spots. And, if worse comes to worse, go and sit in a steam room for while. It will strip the tan off.

Where should you stop applying body tan and switch to a product specifically formulated for the face? And how can you make sure these tans blend seamlessly?

Stop at the bottom of the neck area. Slightly overlap the two tans (the face and body) on your neck so there’s no unevenness.

Which products from your range would you recommend for someone who is new to self-tanning, and wants to take baby steps? And what products are best suited to a confident tanner who wants a deeper, instant tan?

For someone new to tanning, the new Coconut Tanning Balm is very easy to use. Just make sure to mix the formula prior to application. For a confident tanner, the newly reformulated Fool Proof Bronzing Mousse is great for a deeper tan.

So there you have it, ladies. Expert tips to help you achieve a flawless fake tan at home…

What are your top fake tan tips? And which self tanning products do you swear by? Leave a comment below to have your say…

{Style Credits: Bikini c/o Triangl. Passport holder from My Little Box.}


  1. I never do fake tan, but I LOVE THIS PASSPORT HOLDER, the prettiest one I have ever owned 🙂 (I may be a bit of MLB addict)


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