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Golden & Gorgeous - Sunless Tanning Advice

PUBLISHED: 14:27 28 May 2009 | UPDATED: 16:02 20 February 2013

A perfect tan needn't require hours of sunbathing

A perfect tan needn't require hours of sunbathing

For the uninitiated, the world of sunless tanning can be confusing. Explore your options with some help and advice from expert, Kelly Hooper.

Tanning technology has moved on enormously in recent years. Gone are the days of the orange streaky tan. Nowadays there is an impressive array of tanning solutions available. The greatest benefits associated with the fake tan are achieving an instant summer glow without the expense of flying abroad and, more importantly, without the damage to your health or skin caused by UV rays.

When fake tans first appeared they came with an orange colour and an unpleasant smell. Today, the majority of products have evolved, with lotions containing a green or a blue/black undertone to cancel out that awful orange tone. Furthermore, the ingredients have improved and the smell is better! Tanning products now include lotions, mousses and sprays, giving roughly the same result. However, sprays and mousses are quicker to apply and have quicker drying times. The lotions take a little more time to apply but the resulting colour will last longer.

There are two types of fake tan available on the market. Instant tan gives you instant colour that you can wash off immediately. Self-tanners, however, will develop between 6-8 hours after application and last between 5-14 days. Product providers now offer a 'fair skin' range which is ideal for those with paler skins or for those who only want a gentle glow.

Doing it yourself
Success in applying the tans on yourself is possible and the following advice will help. Applying the tan to new skin cells will help achieve a longer-lasting effect and provide a more even, natural result, so begin by ensuring you exfoliate your skin to remove any dead cells. You then need to moisturise your knees, elbows, hands and feet, as fake tan tints the upper layer of your skin. Moisturising these areas dilutes the tan and prevents skin from becoming too dark. Now move on to apply your tan, using even strokes on the body, and don't forget that it is important to wear protective gloves. Most of the tanning agents now come with a guide colour incorporated. This means that although the tan will be dark on application, in order for you to see where you have applied it, this is not the colour you will end up with!

Call in the experts
Spray tans are a quick fix lasting between 3-5 days. You are normally required to stand in a booth wearing salon-supplied pants as the machine sprays your body, or you could be sprayed by a professional using a hand-held spray gun. As the skin has no preparation the whole process takes about 15 minutes to complete. You can get dressed straight away - great for fitting into your lunch hour!

Alternatively, it is relatively inexpensive to visit a salon and enjoy a professional tanning treatment. Here, your skin will be prepared and the tan applied by a therapist. You will also be advised how to maintain your tan and can peruse many of the homecare products available. A salon-applied tan will last up to 10 days but it is not unusual for people to tell me that their tan has lasted two weeks. Naturally, a salon treatment will give you the most superior result and may give you the confidence to attempt a home application.

Kelly Hooper runs The Barn health, beauty and well-being centre in Badgworth, near Axbridge, 01934 732893; www.thebarnsomerset.co.uk.

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