How To Fake Tan
Image credit: Instagram/@solidandstriped

Hello, and welcome to Do It Yourself (At A Distance): a mini series helping you solve beauty issues from the safety of home. Of course, a DIY manicure or blonde hair refresh isn’t going to change the world, but if it makes you feel even just a little bit better better, it’s worth doing. Basically, we’ll be borrowing tips from our editors as well as experts to see you through quarantine without tears, tantrums or over-tweezed brows. Today, we’re looking at fake tan. This is one such beauty exercise that is often taken on at home, but there’s no time like the present to brush up on your skills. Plus, a little coat of sun-safe colour might be the perfect quick fix for your stuck-inside beauty woes. To assist, St. Tropez’s Resident tan expert Jayne Cooper has all the know-how for colour that’s even, glowy and natural-looking.


Jayne: Exfoliate the skin 24 hours before to ensure you have a smooth, even base. Any hair removal should be done 24 hours before tanning to ensure pores are closed, too. On the day of tanning, make sure your skin is dry and free from any moisturiser, perfume, deodorant or essential oil.

Editor’s tip: If you’ve tanned before and find it catches around knees, elbows or wrists, apply the tiniest amount of moisturiser to those areas.

Frank Body Coconut Coffee Scrub, $11. SHOP NOW

The perfect gritty body scrub that smells like an island holiday.


Jayne: Using a mitt, apply tan in an upwards, sweeping movement ensuring you overlap each area. Do not rub in, just coat your entire body including the face, lightly. As for the hands and feet, you only want to apply a small amount of tan. Lightly glide your mitt across the tops of hands and feet, before cleaning the palms and soles. Either ask your quarantine buddy to buddy to help you get your back, or just do your best (without dislocating anything) to cover fully. Leave your tan to develop for up to eight hours, unless you’ve chosen an express formula. Whilst your tan is on the skin developing, wear loose dark clothing, don’t get the skin wet and avoid exercise.

Once developed, wash it off in the shower (but avoid scrubbing and shaving). Pat skin dry with a dark towel and apply a coat of moisturiser.

Editor’s tip: A tinted mousse formula is typically the easiest in terms of application. It spreads nicely and you can track your progress. However creams are also fine if you feel your skin is super dry. For anyone who lacks confidence or motivation, trade actual tan for a gradual formula, or add tanning drops into your regular body moisturiser. Easy and impossible to stuff up.

St. Tropez Self Tan Purity Mousse, $50. SHOP NOW

This clear mousse delivers flawless colour and doesn’t transfer onto sheets or clothes. It has no colour guide, but the lightweight texture makes it easy to apply. Bonus points for no strong scent, either.

Elle Effect The Tan, $45. SHOP NOW

If you prefer a deeper glow, Elle Effect delivers in spades. It applies tinted, so you can see missed spots, plus it has a sweet, rose scent.

Luna Bronze Glow Gradual Tanning Moisturiser, $29. SHOP NOW

This Australian, female-founded moisturiser is the easy way to tan. Just apply as you would a normal body cream of an evening. Once you’ve built up a colour you’re happy with, move to every second night. This pick is 99 per cent natural, too.

Isle Of Paradise Self-Tanning Drops, $42. SHOP NOW

A recent innovation, tanning drops are fool proof and require 0 effort. Literally apply a few of these drops into moisturiser and you’re golden (literally). You’ll find a subtle colour develops over time. Use as often as you feel.


Jayne: To maintain your tan, moisturise daily and avoid scrubs or chemical exfoliants. This will ensure an even fade. If you want to, top it up every second day with a gradual formula. Likewise if you need it removed, try a specific tan remover.

St. Tropez Tan Remover Mousse, $30. SHOP NOW

Use this to remove patchy, uneven or old fake tan in a pinch.

Kiehl’s Creme de Corps, $45. SHOP NOW

The perfect hydrating, creamy (but never greasy) body moisturiser.