Ever wondered how celebrities achieve a flawless red-carpet worthy tan every time? We spoke to celebrity tanning expert and Founder of VANI-T, Tania Walsh who gave us the top tips to ensure your golden goddess transformation goes gracefully.   

  1. Not all tanning products are created equal  

Gone are the days of Oompa Loompa looking tans that have you feeling like you’ve rolled around in a bowl of Cheetos.  Self-tan formulas have advanced dramatically over the years, so you can achieve a tan that makes you look like you’ve spent a week on an exotic European beach lapping up the sun, without long term damage that we all know UV rays can do to the skin. 

Of course, it’s always good to find a product that is cruelty free and vegan... absolutely no fur babies should be harmed in our quest for the perfect tan.  

Look for a product that is natural based with organic ingredients so you’re not putting harmful chemicals on your skin and will also reduce the chance of skin sensitivities. Parabens, mineral oils, or artificial fragrances are the key ingredients to avoid.  An odour inhibitor is a big plus, so you avoid the notorious fake tan smell in your quest for the glamazon glow.  You’ll also want one with lots of luscious botanical and skin loving ingredients that will condition and hydrate your skin as the active tanning ingredient DHA can dry out your skin.  Without ingredients that counteract this drying effect your tan may end up fading patchy and your tan won’t look smooth. 


DHA, also known as Dihydroxyacetone, is a non-coloured, naturally derived, sugar-based ingredient that when applied to skin, causes a browning effect catalysed by amino acids known as Maillard ReactionIt uses a similar  process to that which turns an apple brown once cut 

The browning process affects only the outer layers of the epidermis or ‘dead skin cells’ and will only penetrate through 4 – 5 layers of the skin.  

  1. First, we create the perfect canvas 

To ensure an even tan, shower, exfoliate and shave before you tan. This rule goes for professional spray tans also! Exfoliating and shaving will both remove dry, dead skin cellsthat can cause your tan to come out patchy. Hair removal should be done 24 hours prior to your tan application. 

We can’t stress enough how vital a part exfoliating plays in achieving this perfect tan. Keeping your skin in good condition will help your cause when it comes to hitting the fake tan bottle. If you really want to avoid a patchy fake tan, you need to exfoliate before beforehand to lift all the dead skin cells and reveal revitalised, ready-to-tan skin beneath.  

Tania’s top pick for exfoliating is VANI-T’s Tan Eraser Mousse which uses an ingenious blend of skin smoothers and fruit enzymes to gently but effectively remove all dead skin cells and traces of previous self-tan if you are a weekly tanner. Apply the Tan Eraser Mousse to your skin and let it do its magic for 5 mins. Then jump in the shower or bath and use a washcloth to whisk away dead skin cells.  For maximum results use VANI-T’s Exfoliating Mitt in circular and vertical motions - spending a little bit of extra time getting your elbows, knees and ankles super smooth. Voilà!  Now you’re ready for the fun part – the tan transformation.

  1. Start at the ankles and work your way up 

 A good quality glove is essential for an even tan – one that has a waterproof lining to protect your hands from getting stained. It’s really worth having the right tools to ensure your get the smoothest application possible. Use gentle circular motionsstarting at the ankles and work your way up, applying to one section of the body at a time.  

For face, hands and feet, less is more – only use what’s leftover on the mitt and blend over your hands and feet, ensuring you work between the webs of the toes and fingers and down the sides of the hands and feet.  You may wish to add a little moisturiser to the mitt when apply to the face for a subtler look, and ensure you blend up into your hairline and down the sides of the neck. 

Depending on the product, you leave it on before showering for 6-8 hours. Simply rinse with water then pat the skin dry, do not rub.  

For a rapid or express tan, you wash off in 1 hour for a light tan, 2-3 hours for a medium or 4+ hours for a dark tan.  Many people leave a rapid tan overnight if they want an uber dark result.  

  1. Icing on the cake- sculpt, glow and go!  

For my clients it’s all about the next level of tanning – sculpting and highlighting," says Tania. “Add additional tan to the area you want to sculpt with a brush–under the collarbones, underneath the bicep indent, the outer torso to define the waist. I also contour down the inner and outer thighs and calves to really give the illusion of elongating these areas (depending on the area you can use a smaller eyeshadow or contour brush). I always apply an extra coat to the buttocks to make it look smaller.  

“For a special event, I highlight areas with our Liquid Radiance Highlighter Drops or Afterglow Skin Finishing Gloss, applying lashings to shoulders, collarbones, cheekbones and the front of the legs to create sheen and definition. It adds an amazing luminosity to the skin!” 

  1. Blessed are those that take special care 

Now you’re feeling like a million dollars (and let’s be honest 5 kilos lighter!) you want it to last. “The most important tip is to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate” says Tania. “Because the tan only affects the top layers of the epidermis you want those skin cells to stay around for as long as they can. Moisturise immediately after your first shower, and daily with a deeply nourishing moisturiser or body oil.   

But don’t forget to hydrate from the inside too, drink plenty of water every day with VANI-T’s Lumiere Collagen Peptides to assist with longevity of your tan not to mention beautifully smooth skin. One of the main contributing factors to a patchy, fast fading tan is lack of hydration in the skin.   

To extend the life of your tan and boost colour, I recommend our Bronzing Custard which is a 3 in 1 gradual tan, moisturiser and tan extender.  It contains a small amount of the active tanning ingredient so each time you apply, your tan deepens. Also avoid harsh scrubbing, exfoliating or soaking in a bathYou should exfoliate only towards the end of the life of the tan, once the tan has completely faded, or just prior to being re-tanned. After washing, pat body dry – do not rub Tania suggests. 

Frequent swimming will enhance exfoliation and chlorinated water tends to lighten the skin, thus fading the tan quicker. A water-resistant sunscreen or coconut oil applied before swimming will act as a barrier to the chlorine or sea water. Quick dips instead of long swims will prevent excessive fading and exfoliation. Saunas and exercise can also make a faux tan fade quicker, however there are new “active” tanning products on the market designed specifically to prevent fading from exercise or sweating. Tania recommends their new Activate Tanning Mousse for those with an active lifestyle. 

There you have it, the top tips for getting the most flawless looking tan. x 


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