Once a week, the strong, nutty, biscuit-like scent of fake tan permeates the GRAZIA office and I know it’s Thursday. Why? Because the GRAZIA team always tans on Thursdays.

GRAZIA’s equivalent to “Pink Wednesdays”, “Orange Thursdays” include a very meticulous, considered and thorough routine which involves five-stages:

Phase One: Ghost-Town
Arrive freshly scrubbed (essential to any fake tan application) and ghostly white. Tip: don’t ask colleagues if they’re sick Thursday or Friday – these are holy tanning days.

Phase Two: the right arsenal
Spoilt for choice, the team debates what brand, what formula, what shade (dark, always) they will choose this week.

Phase Three: Operation Bronze
A 15-minute rendezvous to the office shower is in order to mousse, foam or lather oneself in brown goodness.

Phase Four: Missed A Spot
Ahoy there, small patch of lower back that is impossible to reach. Oftentimes, the white patch in question needs a little help from a friend, or colleague, and a mid-office mousse goes down. (FYI, Culture Editor, Nicholas Carolan, is now proficient with mitt and mousse in hand).

Phase Five: Marinating
The team work away at their desks slowly marinating in the brown juices of said self-tan, progressively getting darker and darker by the hour, until they are a glorious shade of brown (and a scent that has permeated the entire office space).

Credit: Ryan Conduit

Here, we turn to our foremost tanning oracle, Jessica Bailey, who shares her top tips on how to really tan in winter.


  • The pre-tan prep process in winter is super important. From the top of your head to the tips of your toes – and yes, including the little square that you can’t quite reach on your back – every inch of your body should be exfoliated in circular motions the day before applying a fake tan. This will rid your body of all those winter dead skin cells which will mean your tan will be even.
  • After scrubbing time, apply a deep moisturiser and make sure you drink lots of water. Staying hydrated will ensure your fake tan will go the distance in the colder months.
  • After showering, apply your tan of choice immediately. It’s an important step that is often omitted – your skin pH levels are optimal for applying tan right after a warm shower.
  • For me, one layer using a mousse tan and mitt always ensures the most even application. I’m currently using Margot Robbie’s favourite St Tropez Dark.
  • One layer in winter is all you need. While you may appear to have gone on an overnight trip to the Bahamas while the tan is busy developing, you most definitely don’t want to look like that once you’re out at the bar. It is winter, after all. We’re after a bronzed glow, and not a body that matches your Aperol.
  • Blow-dry your tan before you apply any clothes. The heat will keep your skin’s temperature at optimal developing status before your next step.
  • Marinating is important. If you become too cold, your tan may not take to your skin or develop properly. For the uninitiated and tan amateurs among us, marinating is the art of wearing dark coloured tracksuit pants and a long-sleeve top. This step will also limit tan coverage on your bed sheets for overnight-tanners.
  • However long the bottle advises you leave your tan on for before showering, always wait an extra two hours. Nothing is worse than going through the entire above process and then watching your tan completely wash down the shower drain, leaving you the naked ghost you were to begin with.
  • Switch up your tan brand every couple of months. Your skin can get used to one type of tan and can stop taking to your skin.
  • Once you’ve showered and are ready for your night out, mix a little (dark) foundation with an illuminator and moisturiser. Apply to the visible skin once dressed for a flawless complexion.
  • Moisturise with a basic moisturiser, like Sorbolene, every day. Too many ingredients can alter the colour of your tan, leaving it orange.