This is the secret to the perfect fake tan according to Ireland's professional spray tanners

  • by IMAGE

Ahead of the IMAGE Business of Beauty Awards 2020, powered by Dyson, we get the low down on how to prep our skin for the perfect spray tan, from our shortlisted tanning professionals. 

We've all been there the night before a big do when we've expertly applied our tan, making sure we're so careful around our ankles and through our fingers, only to wake up with a streaky leg, or completely orange fingers.

Fake tan is such an integral part of Irish women's lives – it's not like we get much vitamin D – and it is the safest way to get a bronzed glow.

But it can be difficult to achieve that tan perfection, and often the key is to just pay a professional to do it for you. With professional spray tans however, there are still some skin prep tips that you simply must follow in order to achieve the ultimate spray tan perfection, according to our shortlisted tanning professionals for IMAGE Business of Beauty Awards 2020, powered by Dyson.


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"Exfoliating/moisturising is very important, especially the week running up to having your tan applied. It really helps remove any dead skin cells, also hydrating any dry areas on the skin helps to give that even finish.

"I would recommend stopping this routine 48 hours prior to having your tan applied. Make sure there is no residue left as this can block the tan from developing.

"I always recommend using an oil-free moisturiser 24 hours after having a professional tan applied. It helps to prolong and lock in moisture so that the tan fades as naturally as possible. The preparation mentioned previously plays a big part in how long the skin can hold on to the tan.

"My favourite professional tan is St Tropez, as it suits most skin types. It adapts to your natural skin tone, giving a more natural finish making it especially amazing for brides on their wedding day.

"I am also really enjoying using Vita Liberata Body Blur as a self-tanning product. It gives a HD finish almost like make-up for the body.


"My final tips are to wear loose clothing after tanning. Brides-to-be should get a spray tan two days before the wedding." – Emma Lawless, Sugar Coated 

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"Preparation is key when it comes to tanning. The better condition your skin is in, the better the tan will turn out. Exfoliate in the days prior to your tan, never on the day. Use a sugar or a salt scrub on damp skin and work in circular motions from your toes up. Ensure in the days prior to tanning you are applying plenty of body lotion to keep the skin soft and hydrated.

"Any hair removal should also be done at least 24 hours prior to tanning.

"If you have exfoliated your skin well before your tan it will apply more evenly and last longer. Keeping your skin hydrated after your tan will also help your tan last longer. Once it begins to fade, start exfoliating again to help even out areas, which will help if you need to top up your tan


"I love Bellamianta Spray Tan and Dripping Gold Spray Tan. Both give a gorgeous tan, absorb into the skin and the fade off from both is amazing! I also love St Tropez lotion for tan you do at home yourself, it’s foolproof and a classic.

"I would recommend having your spray tan done two days prior to a big event if you are concerned about transfer onto clothes. Once you have washed your tan off, it needs time to settle into your skin so our two-day rule allows for this." – Olivia Foley, Allure Beauty and Nail Spa

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"Ensure all hair removal is done 48 hours before tanning to allow skin to heal and ensure an even coat. Do not use deodorant, lotions or oils on the skin on the day of tanning so the tan will adhere to the skin properly and develop smoothly.

"When you take your first shower do not use shower gels, just allow the tan to rinse off and the water run clear. Always pat the skin dry to stop rubbing or lifting of the tan via your towel.

"I love the Vita Liberata Fabulous Self-Tanning Tinted Lotion to keep the skin moisturised while giving you longevity to your tan.


"Make sure you’ve given enough time for the tan to dry, wear loose-fit clothes and avoid light coloured clothing." – Nic Dunne, OSLO Beauty

"To achieve perfect tan application it's all about preparing your skin. Tan sits better on hydrated skin. About a week before you apply tan ensure you moisturise every night. The day you apply tan, have no moisturiser on and gently exfoliate your skin before you apply tan.

"For the first three to four days after applying tan use an oil-free moisturiser. This will keep your tan looking fresh. On the fifth day start to gently exfoliate in the shower and then use a nice hydrating tinted moisturiser – Gentle Bronze Gradual Tanner from Cocoa Brown is amazing. This ensures that your tan fades evenly and does not go patchy. Essential for when you are away on your holidays!

"For skin prep and removing old tan we love Fresh Start from Cocoa Brown. Apply the foam five minutes before showering. Once in the shower use an exfoliating mitt to remove any stubborn tan.

"For that bronzed glow we love the Bellamianta Rapid Tan. This tan is great for dry, sensitive skin and free from alcohol, harsh chemicals and parabens.


"To keep your tan glowing we love to use the Gradual Gentle Bronze from Cocoa Brown. This moisturiser is great for keeping your tan fresh as well as hydrating your skin.

"If you are getting a spray tan for an event, have it applied two days before the event. Do not apply any body creams or oils to areas that the tan might lift, for example under arms. Oils can lift your tan and this is where you will find it rubs off on your clothes". – Claire, C Beauty Studio Blackrock

"The week leading up to your spray tan ensure you are moisturising daily and exfoliating every second day. Shave and exfoliate 48 hours prior to tan application. On the day of getting your tan ensure your skin is free from all products including deodorant, moisturiser, body oils and perfume.

"Moisturise daily with an oil-free moisturiser. After the first few days start using a gradual tanning moisturiser such as Bellamianta. This will prolong your tan while keeping your skin moisturised.

"I am a huge fan of Bellamianta as it is a clean and luxurious brand with rich ingredients. It works so well with every skin type. The golden olive tone gives the impression of a natural tan and it evenly wears off. My top three Bellamianta products are Liquid Gold (super easy to apply and dries in 60 seconds. Great for last-minute plans); Triple Glycolic Scrub (amazing to prep the skin and leaves you feeling so soft) and Gradual Moisturiser (I use this daily to maintain a constant glow).


"Wear loose clothes and ensure tan is completely dry before getting dressed. Sometimes it is inevitable but thankfully it washes off no problem. Bellamianta has a clear mousse that doesn’t transfer." – Aileen King, Anua Wellness 

Congratulations to all of our shortlisted candidates! Voting is now open here. Voting ends at midnight, Friday March 6. For voting terms and conditions, click here.

IMAGE BOB 2020 will kick off at 6.30pm with a cocktail reception on Sunday, March 15, at the Clayton Hotel on Burlington Road in Dublin 4. Early bird tickets are available here at €191 including VAT for a limited time. Tables of 10 and 12 guests are available.

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