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Sunday 16 September 2012

How To Maintain A Natural Tan

Swatches \ L - Charisma Skin Tint \ R - St Tropez Instant Glow

As some of you may know, I've recently just arrived back from a rather sunny week in Kefalonia and at the moment, keeping my post-holiday glow is top of my beauty to-do list. One thing friends and family tend to mention when I arrive back is how long I manage to keep my tan for. So, I thought I'd share my tan maintaining tips with you as over the years, I've developed a routine which seems to work for me, and keeps that 'just got off the plane' look for longer. Maintaining a natural tan is completely different to how I would maintain the look of a fake one - and it takes a lot more time and effort, but it's so worth it. Personally I can always tell when I have a natural tan, and even though fake tans on the market these days are amazing, I always do my best to keep any natural colour I do have as I find it looks better and more healthy than any product in a bottle can give me. I'm aware most of you have already been and gone on your summer holiday, but if you're a tan addict like me, then these are some good little tips to bare in mind for your next trip to sunnier climates..

Preparation: Before I go, I exfoliate like there's no tomorrow. Your skin constantly renews itself and if you make sure to exfoliate the top layers before you go, the longer it will be before it starts to renew - therefore keeping the colour in the layers of your skin for longer.

Avoid Burning: I know so many people who burn on purpose simply because 'it goes brown'. Yes, it does. But you'll also start to peel rather quickly - resulting in an uneven, patchy tan. I build up a tan slowly - start with a high factor sun tan lotion to avoid turning yourself into a lobster, and as your skin gets used to the sun, reduce the factor slightly. It takes me about 3 days into my holiday before I start to get a decent bit of colour. I never go below a factor 15 and I never use tanning oils. Unless you want to fry yourself, stay away from these.

Body Lotions & Tan Maintainers

Lancaster Tan Maximiser After Sun: I always pick up one of these in duty free. It's rather expensive for an after sun (around £16) but it's been a staple product to have in my suitcase for a few years now. It has no fake tan ingredients in it, but works with your skin cells to deepen the colour you do have. I use this whilst I'm on holiday and continue to use it as a general body moisturiser up to a week/fortnight after I arrive back. It's really hydrating so it helps to prevent skin drying out (You can read my full review here).

Garner Ambre Solaire After Sun Hydrating Tan Maintainer:
This after sun contains a low level self tanning ingredient. I use this alongside the Lancaster after I arrive home, as it blends into the tan you already have whilst helping to even out any patchy bits. 

Dove Summer Glow Nourishing Lotion: After around 2 weeks, there's no getting away from the fact your tan is going to fade - especially on your face and hands. Instead of whacking on the fake tan, I put a little bit of this on every other day. It gradually builds up a colour on the skin and is more moisturising than a bottle of normal fake tan.

The Body Shop Mango Body Butter: Really richly moisturising and thicker in consistency when compared to the other lotions mentioned in this post. I always, always apply this at night before I sleep, and I wake up with really soft and deeply nourished skin. I also apply before work so that when I'm running about in the shop all day, my skin still feels healthy and smooth. It also smells like Solero ice lollies...

Skin Tints

I find colour fades faster on my face as all of the make up removing, cleansing and toning means that the surface layers of skin are going to be removed quicker than anywhere else on the body. To keep it looking lightly tanned and in-keeping with the rest of my body I'll often apply a skin tint before or after applying my makeup. 

St Tropez Instant Glow Face Lotion: I find this best applies underneath my makeup, and provides a long lasting natural bit of colour.

Lush Charisma Skin Tint: You can read my full review of this here, but I find this best applies on top of my makeup. It contains a slight shimmer so is best suited to certain areas of the face rather than full on bronzing.

On top of all this moisturising and colour maintaining (it is a lot of work - I often moisturise up to 3 times a day), I also makes sure I'm taking care of my skin on the inside by drinking lots of water to help skin stay hydrated. I avoid exfoliating or taking any long, hot baths for as long as possible. I start the moisturising routine whilst I'm on holiday and make sure I apply it before I'm due to fly home, as the air in planes often drys out skin considerably. Whereas before, a natural colour might last up to a week or 2, I find I keep mine for up to a month before I have to use any fake tan. Obviously, this all depends on your skin type and how much you tan - I have olive tones in my skin so I tend to go quite dark - this isn't going to work for everybody but it will certainly help to keep any colour your skin has developed over the course of your holiday.

Any other tan maintaining tips for me/products to try?


  1. ah im so jealous of youre natural tan!! im st tropez all the way at the moment, i'm actually editing a tanning video as we speak! i find my face fades the fastest too, which is so annoying because it's the best place to tan, you dont have to wear as much make-up with a tan! xx

    1. haha thanks lovely - it wont last for long though :( Oo ill have a little look through your Youtube and have a nosey at the tanning vid! I know, i never wear loads of make-up if my face it tanned :) You can get away with so much less with a bit of colour in your cheeks x

  2. I'm so gunna run out and get some of these products! Every time I shower I can feel my tan fading - so depressing!

    Time for another holiday I think haha :)

    1. Its horrible isnt it :( took a whole week of hard work to get and a few days to fade :( gutted..
      yess hun deffo time for another holiday haha xx

  3. It depresses me how beautifully tanned your hand is here, I feel SO pale right now!


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