Tips and Tricks

Tanning tips and tricks

For many people their wedding day is their first foray into the world of spray tanning or self tanning, and for some, it can be pretty fraught with overwhelm and sometimes… very orange joints.
Hopefully these tips will help you navigate your tanning experience with ease.

If fake tanning for your wedding is something you’ve never done but would like to try, I’d recommend having a trial/ practice application a couple of months out from the wedding to avoid any reactions and to make sure you are happy with your colour and application.

  • Regardless of which method of tan you choose e.g professional spray tan, gradual self tan, mousse, cream, spray, you will always need to have freshly exfoliated skin to achieve the best and smoothest result.
  • This means exfoliating the day of tan application and paying particular attention to any areas where there is usually a buildup of dry skin i.e, elbows, knees, ankles, wrists.
  • The tanning product tends to “grab” and concentrate on these sorts of areas and often looks much darker than the rest of your skin when it develops.

Make sure you use an exfoliant that doesn’t leave an oily residue as this may interrupt the tans reaction with your skin. Exfoliating gloves in the shower are also fine for this.
Any waxing/ shaving or hair removal should be done at least 24hrs prior to tanning to avoid skin irritation.

  • For professional spray tans, the technician will often add a light layer of moisturiser as a barrier cream to the areas referred to above (palms, knees, elbows, ankles, knuckles and toes etc) before they begin the application to avoid the product “grabbing” as I mentioned.
    If you’re DIY tanning at home I suggest doing the same thing before you apply your chosen tan product. I’ve been using this method on myself for years and it always works perfectly.
    Don’t apply any product on any other skin area you wish to tan – including deodorant. You’ll want nothing to interfere with the tans development on the skin.
  • If you’re going to tan your face – I suggest doing so only lightly. If it is a professional spray tan be sure to tell them you only want a very light application of the face as the product can dry your skin (which also isn’t good for makeup application) and there are specific tanning products for the face that tend to deliver a great colour and don’t over dry the skin. I have a list of some favorites below if you choose to forego spray tanning the face.


  • Be prepared with clothing to wear after your tan application that is loose and usually a dark colour as there will likely be a bit of tan transferring onto your clothing when you dress. I find this usually washes out but it is best to just wear black from the start to avoid disappointment.

Think loose, black maxi dress (with no bra or underwear if you can at least for the first hour or two to avoid marking your skin).
Always follow the instructions with regards to development time too as different tans require a different amount of time on the skin.

Some tan formulations are express and you can wash them off in under 3 hours (my favourite) and others will need up to 8+ hours to develop fully.
Try not to get wet /sweaty/ splashed with water in this development period (especially the first few hours) or you will likely end up with uneven patches of colour on those areas.

    • Once the tan has fully developed and you’ve showered the excess colour off, it’s really important to moisturise your skin and also every shower thereafter.

Generally tanning products can dry the skin a little and regular moisturising helps keep the skin hydrated and also maintain the colour longer.
Depending on your skin, the tan may hold for about a week, after which point you’ll notice it starts to get patchy and you’ll want to do a very thorough scrub in the shower to get it all off. Definitely give yourself a good moisturise again after all that

  • If you’re going for a professional spray tan, as with anything, do your research and try to find someone really reputable that has lots of experience.
    If you tend to have very sensitive/ reactive skin make sure you do a patch test with them or whatever product you intend to try and do it more than a month away from your wedding to ensure that if you do have some kind of reaction, your skin has time to return to normal.
  • If you’re applying product yourself at home, I strongly suggest wearing a mitt or disposable gloves to avoid staining your palms. Once you have tanned everywhere else you can remove the gloves and very lightly with a mitt apply some product to the backs of your hands, being careful not to get too much settling on the knuckles or joints of the fingers.
    Most tanning products are a visible bronze colour when you apply so it’s easy to go little by little and BLEND EVERYTHING as you go.

Blending and thoroughly rubbing the product in to avoid streaks is absolutely key. I cannot stress the blending enough AND try not to get it on your palms as best you can 🙂

Product Recommendations

My favourite way to tan myself is a to use a mousse applied with a tanning mitt.
I’m particularly fond on Le Tan’s new Uber Dark or Uber Glow range as they have specifically created different undertones for fair, medium and olive complexions so the colours always blend very naturally.

A major plus is that they are express so you can was them off in under 3 hours. The price point is great and I find these types of tans usually smell the least too.
-Available at Chemist Warehouse, Priceline and some supermarkets.

On my face I like to use Dr Dennis gross alpha beta glow pads as they exfoliate at the same time and the colour is perfect. These also come in light or a darker shade.
Another good option for this is the James Read sleep mask tan for face. This one is really easy to apply as it’s a moisturiser you put on at night and you wake up with a nice colour.
-Both available at Mecca stores.

For the inexperienced, a safe place to start can be a gradual tanning moisturiser. These products are very user friendly as you just apply a little every night and stop when you reach your desired colour.
Chemist warehouse and Priceline usually have a good array but go to Mecca if you want something a little more Luxe.
Luna Bronze is a great brand of gradual moisuriser from Mecca Maxima that also happens to be natural and organic if that’s something you look for  🙂

I hope you found this to be a helpful guide. If you get stuck, or have any questions please always feel free to get in touch.

Jess x