HOW TO
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A Streak-Free Fake Tan

Fancy a fake tan that doesn’t come hand-in-hand with stray streaks, uneven patches and an orange hue? Fabled asked A-list tanning expert, James Read, (below) to reveal his top tricks.

With formulas that include lotions, sprays, creams, gels and mousse and shades that range from sunkissed to dark, it should, in theory, be a cinch to get a flawless fake tan. However, more often than not, you’re left with at least one tell-tale sign you’ve been at it with the fake tan - one streaky shin, a tide mark around the wrist or whiter-than-white inner arms are sure signs your bronze is from a bottle. So, on behalf of the one in five of us who self-tan every summer, Fabled asked celebrity tanning guru, James Read (the man behind Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s faux glow) to divulge his favourite fake tan tips. Follow these and we guarantee you’ll get your best ever glow.

Rule #1

Always, always exfoliate
You’ve heard it a million times before but exfoliation really is key to creating the best faux glow. “You need your body to be a clear canvas to allow your tan to fade evenly and avoid any patchiness,” says James. “Start exfoliating 48 hours before you apply any tan, and then again 24 hours before, to get rid of any unwanted colour or dead skin.” Remember to wax and shave too. “If you do need to shave your legs after, use an electric shaver as this won’t strip your tan but will remove the top layer of hair,” advises James.

Rule #2

Use a mitt
Any savvy self-tanner knows that to get the most realistic looking colour, you need to nail your application method and a mitt (not your hands) is an essential part of the process. “It allows you to achieve a natural looking, streak-free tan (if you take lots of care whilst applying) and ensures you don’t get any excess product on your hands or in-between your fingers,” says James.

Rule #3

Apply it like a pro
If you’ve ever been tanned by a pro, you know that it’s a careful, step-by-step process to ensure everywhere, from your big toe to your elbow, gets an even application. “I always start from the face or neck and work down the body in stages, starting with the front before tanning the back,” says James. Do the same, working limb-by-limb so you don’t miss any areas and for your back, either invest in an applicator - or pop your tanning mitt over a long handled exfoliating brush. “Blend any excess product from your arms and legs onto the hands, feet and ankles and wipe your palms on a towel when you’re finished or use alcohol based wet wipes,” adds James.

Rule #4

Prevent patchy spots
Patchy tan isn’t down to a bad quality product; once you’ve applied your tan, maintaining it with care and a lighter application of colour will help it fade more naturally (and prevent any patchy parts). “After four days lightly exfoliate your skin with a scrub,” says James. “Then, mix a small amount of your tanning lotion with your daily body moisturiser - this will prolong your self-tan and keep your colour topped up, plus, the hydration will give it an added boost.”

Rule #5

Fix missed bits
The biggest tell tale sign when it comes to self-tan? Those bits you’ve missed on the back of your arms, legs or your decolletage are sure fire ways to tell your tan is from a bottle - not a week in the Balearics. “For a quick fix use an instant bronzing mist or a wash off tan to cover up any lines or missed areas,” advises James. “Apply sparingly at first - you can always add more if you need to.” And if you’ve overdone it? “Alcohol based wipes are great for removing tan on smaller areas like the palms of your hands or your feet or step into a sauna or steam room to strip an all-over tan,” says James. If you’ve not got access to you local sauna, try dry dry exfoliating problem areas with a scrub and then place a towel under hot water and gently rub away at the colour until it fades.

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“Once you’ve applied your tan, maintaining it with care and a lighter application of colour will help it fade more naturally.”