The beginner's guide to DIY fake tan

Say goodbye to streaky skin with our zone-by-zone guide to a flawless tan

Marie Claire Contributor / April 11 2016

A DIY fake tan is as synonymous with summer as sea, sand and sandals. And thanks to foolproof bronzing formulas, it’s never been easier to achieve a streak-free 'I’ve-just-been-to Tahiti' tan.

Once your hair removal, exfoliation and moisturisation is done, here’s what you need to do next when applying fake tan. 



Apply tanner to your mitt and “start at the forehead with circular motions, before moving around the entire face”, explains Tayla Brandt, St. Tropez celebrity tanner, who favours mousse formulas with a mitt for ease of application. Once the mitt starts to dry out, rub it firmly over your ears to give them coverage.
Apply fake tan to face



“Look up and sweep your mitt in one direction, from the chin to the chest, repeating until the neck is covered,” advises Brandt.
Apply fake tan to neck


Décolletage & torso

“Continuing downwards, begin using circular motions and follow through to the hipbone,” instructs Brandt. “Start coming down the sides using the same action.”



Now for the acrobatics: use the mitt to cover the back (or as much as you can) in circular motions.
Apply fake tan to back


Legs & feet

This is where you’ll use the most fake tanner, so ensure the mitt remains saturated. “Starting at the ankle and using circular motions, work your way inwards, gradually coming up the leg,” says Brandt. Repeat your preferred method of hand application on your feet.
TOP TIP: When you’re done, avoid touching skin for at least five minutes and then slip into loose clothing (sans bra).

Main image credit: Getty
Illustrations by: Ann Do

Lucy is a beauty, fashion and health journalist, brand consultant and speaker from Sydney, known for her work across a broad array of platforms. Her work has been published in marie claire Australia (for which she was Beauty Director for 9 years), marie claire France, UK, Netherlands, US and China, Women’s Health and The Australia Women’s Weekly. As a journalist, Lucy has interviewed celebrities including Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Margot Robbie, Aerin Lauder and Miranda Kerr.

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