Marissa Carter shares her pro secrets to achieving brilliantly bronzed, summer-ready skin.
FEATURED IMAGE: JASON LLOYD-EVANS
HOW DOES FAKE TANNING WORK, AND HOW CAN WE SOURCE THE RIGHT PRODUCT FOR OUR NEEDS?
False tanners produce a temporary pigment in the skin using an ingredient called dihydroxyacetone (DHA). DHA is a type of sugar, which stimulates the production of pigment called melanoidin. Melanoidin is similar in colour to melanin, the pigment produced in skin from UV rays. Melanoidin does not absorb UV rays the way melanin does, which is why you must wear SPF in the sun if you've applied false tan. The depth of colour achieved on the skin depends mostly on the percentage of DHA in false tan. Gradual tanning moisturisers that can be applied daily to slowly build colour usually contain between 1 and 2% DHA, whereas mousses and sprays contain anywhere from 6 to 14% DHA.
HOW CAN WE MASTER THE PERFECT APPLICATION?
A fake tan is only as perfect as the skin it is applied to, which is why having soft, smooth, hydrated skin before false tanning is key. Exfoliate well the day before you apply self-tan, paying particular attention to areas such as heels, ankles, knees, elbows and hands, as these are the telltale areas that tan clings to if they're rough and dry. I recommend waxing two days prior to tanning, or shaving the day before. On tanning day, don't exfoliate, but do use an oil-free body moisturiser, which will hydrate skin but won't act as a barrier to your tan. Always use a tanning mitt to apply - they give the most even finish - and use a flat head, stippling foundation brush to buff tan onto your face, hands and feet.
WHAT ARE THE SECRETS PROFESSIONAL TANNERS DON?T TELL YOU?
Self-tan actually takes 48 hours to fully develop on the skin, so even though you'll see quite a difference in your colour after four hours, you haven't fully cooked until two days after you tan! Also, self-tan is actually colourless, and the only reason you see colour coming out of the bottle is so that you can see where you're applying the product - it has no bearing on what colour your tan will be in a few hours.
WHERE ON THE BODY SHOULD WE APPLY EXTRA PRODUCT AND WHERE SHOULD WE MINIMISE APPLICATION?
A trick used by many celebrity make-up artists to make clients look slimmer is to apply a second layer of tan down the sides of legs and arms. This effectively contours the arms and legs. Be cautious applying tan to face, hands and feet. Less is more on these areas.
HOW CAN WE ENSURE AN EVEN, LONG-LASTING TAN?
A top tip, which I was given by fellow beauty expert Triona McCarthy, is to spritz your tanning mitt with a moisturising facial spray and use it to buff your tan into the skin. Genius! It gives the tan the added bit of slip it needs to blend evenly. I'm more about making tan fade evenly than making it last longer. To do this, lightly exfoliate with either a pair of exfoliating gloves or a body scrub in the shower every day and then use a moisturiser daily.
WHO SHOULD WE LOOK TO FOR INSPIRATION?
Kate Hudson always gets it right. She has a very natural, sun-kissed radiance. Millie Mackintosh has beautiful skin and rocks caramel skin tones. And Jessica Alba, Chrissy Teigen and Desi Perkins? tans are always on point.
YOUR FAVOURITE PRODUCTS?
Cocoa Brown 1 Hour Tan Mousse with the Double-Sided Velvet Mitt. The mousse is light and silky, dries in seconds, and there's no beating the mitt for foolproof application. I like my tan a deep caramel colour, so opt for Cocoa Brown 1 Hour Tan Extra Dark. Then I highlight with Cocoa Brown Golden Goddess Oil applied down the centre of my legs and arms and on my collarbones and cheekbones.
Marissa Carter is an expert at the Boots Summer Beauty Weekender, a complimentary event in Boots, Liffey Valley, over Thursday evening, July 13 and all day Saturday, July 15. Find out more about this outstanding weekend of beauty excitement, expertise and insider tips, combining the hottest talent in the business here.??
This article originally featured in the June issue of IMAGE Magazine.