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Image / Style / Beauty

Tired of streaks and stains? How to apply a flawless tan while salons are closed


by Shayna Sappington
05th Feb 2021

Woman in pineapple bikini in front of white wall

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Trying to maintain a streak-free tan at home is no easy feat. We asked Emma Lawless, the winner of best tanning professional at IMAGE BOB Awards 2020, to share her expert tanning tips.


If there is one thing we have learned in lockdown, it’s how much we appreciate the existence of beauty salons. With everything closed, we have had to adapt and learn how to carry out our regular primping at home.

Painful at-home waxing kits, courageous hair cuts with kitchen scissors and self-tan messes streaked across the bath and our body – it has been quite the learning experience, to say the least, but one that has led us to appreciate beauticians, brow technicians and tanning specialists more than ever before.

Emma Lawless is one such talented expert at Sugar Coated salon in Blackrock and the winner of best tanning professional at IMAGE BOB Awards 2020. In a desperate need for self-tan assistance, we asked her how to apply the perfect tan, avoiding streaks and stains and maintaining a flawless finish throughout lockdown.

How do I avoid getting streaks on my hands and feet?

What you’ll need: Kabuki brush, oil-free moisturiser and your choice of self-tanner (we recommend St Tropez, Bellamianta or Vita Liberata)

“Gently dab the brush into a pea-sized amount of your moisturiser and lightly apply it over the entire surface area of your hands and feet, ensuring to get in between your knuckles and toes. If you find that your ankles or elbows are dry you can also brush in these areas. The moisturiser will act as a protective barrier and help to avoid the ‘tan hand look’.

“Once your moisturiser has fully absorbed, repeat the above process swapping the moisturiser with your tan of choice.” 

How often should I remove and reapply tan?

“If you’re looking for long lasting tan, I would recommend assigning one day every week for application. This way you will always have a glow. The key to longevity is preparation. I always begin to exfoliate two days after I apply tan, using a bodyscrub. Again, using an oil-free moisturiser daily will help your tan to fade naturally while keeping your skin hydrated, helping you to avoid that unpleasant ‘fake’ look.” 

How should I choose the right self-tanning product for me? 

“Choosing a tan that’s right for you comes down to what you want and what you want to avoid. Doing your research on self-tanning products is essential. Each product has its own uniqueness that can either give you exactly what you want or exactly what you don’t want.

“For instance, St Tropez is amazing for someone who doesn’t want to overdo it. It adapts to your natural skin tone and only ever goes as dark as your skin goes when in the sun. Perfect for applying and reapplying weekly. Whereas a product like Vita Liberata goes that little bit further, offering slightly warmer tans. It’s great for last minute tanning and has a built in HD Skin Finish that blurs out any perceived imperfections. This is a superb product for someone seeking an instant fix without the commitment of reapplying.

“For those who are seeking a deep rich tan that is longer lasting, Bellamianta is a great choice. It ranges from medium to ultra dark and suits a variety of skin tones, giving you camera ready tan all week long.” 

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