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Back To Basics: The Art Of The Perfect Tan

It’s almost time to ditch those tights (hurrah!) as spring is nearly here. You know what this means, don’t you? It’s time to show your limbs some love and give them a little air after months of hibernation. “But I’m too pale!” you cry. Never fear, because the tanning experts nominated in our Business of Beauty Awards are here to advise you on the best way to get back to your former glowing self, via a perfect shade of fake tan. These professionals are the best in the biz, and as part of #TanningThursday, they take us back to basics to ensure you’ll be streak free for your first tan of the new season. And there won’t be an Oompa Loompa in sight.

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What advice would you give to those wanting to completely start over in the fake tan department?

Our clients are “Tanimals” and love to tan all year round. Firstly we would recommend exfoliating and moisturising ALL year round, not just a week or two prior to your appointment. This gives skin the perfect base for fake tan. If having a professional spray tan, choose the right shade! If you’re pale and pasty after winter, don’t go for the darkest colour, as so many do.

Amy Costelloe, Vanity Rooms

For those who are total beginners, shade choice is key. How do you avoid the dreaded Oompa Loompa look?

I would ask the key questions, so what event the tan is for, what result are they after, and would also recommend my opinion as a professional if I thought a particular shade would suit better.

Ciara Nolan, Burgundy Beauty

I would not start anyone off with a dark tan. Many want this option right away, but it just won’t look natural or suit pale, Irish skin tones. I would start with a light or medium tint, and then gradually build it up. You can go as dark as you like, just not from the first session!

Nicola Rush, Rosanna Crothers Beauty Clinic

What’s your salon etiquette when it comes to tanning?

Our first priority is to make the client as comfortable as possible and explain the treatment process thoroughly. Good home care advice is also a must.

Nicola Rush, Rosanna Crothers Beauty Clinic

The professional spray tanner and client relationship are key with us. It’s as important as a client relationship with a hairdresser; there has to be good communication and trust. 

Karen Buckley, Mimi’s Beauty Room

It sounds obvious, but bring loose, dark clothing! This can be an easy thing to overlook, especially if you’re new to the tanning game. Anything white will be covered with tan residue. Wearing loose clothing can also help prevent any “sticky” feeling.

Claire Donohue, Carter Beauty

​Our primary salon etiquette when it comes to tanning is ​creating a tan as close as possible to that glow you might achieve after a week in the sun. We ask our clients to arrive prepared, exfoliated and without deodorant or fragranced moisturiser. The dress code is loosely fitted clothing and during the application, the dress code is entirely up to you. You can wear the disposable underwear provided, a bikini or if you would prefer to tan nude, it is your body and your tan, so we are pleased to accommodate your preference.

Ewelina Konkel, Edvard & Pink

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Help! I’ve had a self-tan disaster. What do I do now?

Code Orange: We do not want you to panic scrub! You will make it SO much worse by removing it unevenly, so lather yourself in baby oil, leave it on for half an hour then pop yourself into the bath. Then use a damp (not wet) towel slowly but firmly to roll off the offending tan. Your body will naturally exfoliate over 3-5 days but the latter works a wonder.

Ewelina Konkel, Edvard & Pink

Firstly, don’t let it put you off! The usual mistakes are with hands and feet. The trick is not to apply more product to these areas. Either use the excess tan left on your mitt or mix tan with moisturiser and apply with a make-up brush.

Amy Costelloe, Vanity Rooms

If we can’t make it to the salon, how can we achieve a decent DIY job?

Buy a good tan that suits your skin, and suss out whether you prefer using a liquid a mousse or a moisturiser. Do not shower directly before applying the tan, as this can alter the PH in your skin, causing it to be lighter or darker in certain areas. Do not wear moisturiser, deodorant or perfume. A big one: give yourself plenty of time! Self-tans don’t appear right away; they are a gradual process. I would suggest using a tan mitt, and then a towel for buffing the feet and hands after.  For the face: Apply a light moisturiser to your face and neck and vaseline on your lips and brows. Only then start the facial application.

Karen Buckley, Mimi’s Beauty Room

The best tanning advice you can give?

“Donald Trump could use a few tanning tips!”

To get the length out of your tan, it is important to keep your skin well moisturised. This means using an oil-free moisturiser for approximately 3-4 days after the spray tan (once the residue is washed off). After the fourth day, start to lightly exfoliate your skin so the tan wears off evenly and moisturise, moisturise, moisturise! If there are patches of dry skin, concentrate on that area. Dry skin = a patchy tan. Not the look you’re after!

Claire Donohue, Carter Beauty

Choose the right product! This is literally the difference between getting it right and getting it wrong. There are some great brands out there, but self-tanning novices are best using an easy to control gel or mousse ​with a wash off guide colour. Our number one for home tanning is the Au Courant mousse – perfect for ease of application and it smells gorgeous. We chose the same solutions for professional in-salon tanning.

Ewelina Konkel, Edvard & Pink

Don’t shave before applying your tan (something many forget!), and buff over any hard areas, i.e: knuckles, ankles, elbows, to take any excess off if you want it to look as natural as possible.

Ciara Nolan, Burgundy Beauty

Celebrity tan-spiration: Who gets it on the money and who could use serious help?

I think Khloe Kardashian nails it every time. For someone with naturally very pale skin, her tan always looks flawless!

Amy Costelloe, Vanity Rooms

Celebrities like Jennifer Aniston and Kate Hudson have mastered the natural-looking faux glow we absolutely love. We think we could give Donald Trump a few tanning tips!

Ewelina Konkel, Edvard & Pink

Blake Lively is our perfect tanner; she never fails to get it perfect.

Ciara Nolan, Burgundy Beauty

To show your love for these tanning queens or any other of your beloved glam squad nominated in this years’ Business of Beauty Awards, you can vote here. Skip over and make yours count. 

Book your tickets here now to reserve your place at the third Annual IMAGE Business of Beauty Awards, Sunday, March 2oth at 6.30pm in Dublin’s Doubletree by Hilton. We look forward to seeing you there!

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