How to Achieve the Best Fake Tan Ever

Applying fake tan is not as simple as just “slapping it on”. It will never, ever pass as a real tan if elbows, knees and heels appear three shades darker than the rest of your body. Patchy wrists, feet and hands can also give the game away big time. That’s why our Temple Spa Guide on “How to Achieve the Best Fake Tan Ever” will talk you through the whole self-tanning process and make sure you not only cover the basics but the “Tricky Bits” too. This means you will be able to flaunt your beautifully tanned body with both confidence and style. Naturally, we also have a fantastic range of self-tanning products that, along with these tips, will help you achieve the perfect bronzed look you’re aiming for.

PAM - 3 Basic Steps to Achieving the Best Fake Tan

The best way to self-tan is to follow PAM. PAM consists of three simple and easy to remember steps that help to create a healthy looking and flawless semi-permanent fake tan. These are PREPARATION, APPLICATION and MAINTENANCE.

How to Prepare Your Skin for a Fake Tan

Preparing your skin before you self-tan is one of the key aspects to achieving a jaw dropping, long lasting tan that will be the envy of all your friends. Follow the steps and tips below and you will be well on your way to becoming a bronzed summer beauty.

  • Exfoliate
  • Cleanse skin
  • Moisturise
  • Vaseline or barrier cream to the hairline and eyebrows
Instant Bronzing Gel
| 30 ml / 1 fl.oz.

Step 1 - Exfoliate your Skin

Having gorgeous, clean skin is great but not if there are lots of dead skin cells determined to cling onto it! Exfoliation removes dead skin cells on the surface of your skin, unclogs your pores and prevents uneven skin tone which is, as you can imagine, of upmost importance when self-tanning. Exfoliate in the shower or bath by using a loofa and some heavenly body scrub to get the ultimate results. However, if you would prefer to try dry skin brushing instead, then sit naked in the bath or shower and use a good body brush on your skin to make long brush strokes in the direction of the heart. This not only removes dead skin cells but filters toxins and helps to fight the much-feared cellulite too. Bonus!

Step 2 - Cleanse your Skin

Before applying fake tan it’s vitally important to have clean skin. By making sure you have a relaxing bath or shower with some of your favourite spa products and using a good cleanser on your face you will make sure you have thoroughly eliminated all residual dust and dirt as well as dead skin cells. It’s the perfect way to follow on from exfoliation or dry skin brushing and really makes sure your skin is summer fresh and ready for the next part of the process.

Hydrating Body Cream
| 180 ml / 6 fl.oz.

Step 3 - Moisturising

By making sure your skin is well moisturised and hydrated you will have a better chance of applying an even self-tan that lasts. Use an oil free moisturiser to make sure that it doesn’t create a barrier to the fake tan.

Step 4 - Take care of your Hair Line and Eyebrows

If you have fair hair and eyebrows prevent them from being stained by by applying a little Vaseline or any other barrier cream to the hairline and the eyebrows. Remember, ensuring you have the most convincing bronzed skin ever means paying attention to details!

How to apply fake tan

Step 1 – Shoulders and Arms

Starting from your shoulders apply the fake tan to both shoulders and arms using the same circular and then vertical movements as above. Avoid the elbows and stop at the wrists.

Step 2 – Legs and Bum

Working from your bottom down, glide the fake tan over your bottom and legs. Again, take your time with the circular and vertical strokes in order to cover the area evenly. Miss out the knees and stop just above the ankles.

Step 3 – Shoulders and Arms

Starting from your shoulders apply the fake tan to both shoulders and arms using the same circular and then vertical movements as above. Avoid the elbows and stop at the wrists.

 Step 4 – Tricky Bits

Elbows, knees and heels have a tendency to end up looking much darker if care is not taken, as they are so much drier than the rest of the body and absorb the tan more. Wrists, feet and hands can end up looking patchy if fake tan is not applied correctly.


So, let’s get busy with making sure these areas look as authentically tanned as possible! There are a few self-tan techniques here - see what works best for you.

Elbows - Pop a small amount of moisturiser and an even smaller amount of fake tan onto your mitt and spread lightly over your elbow area and work gently into the surrounding area too.
Knees - Apply fake tan and moisturiser in the exact same way as with the elbows.
Feet and Ankles - Apply the lotion/moisturiser mix onto the feet and ankles working it carefully around the Achilles heel as this is a streak hot spot! As with the hands, work the lotion into the gaps between the toes and the sides of the toes.
Hands and Wrists - Take your gloves or mitt off. Place a blob of moisturiser with a little fake tan on the back of one of your hands. Place the backs of your hands against each other to gently rub the mix of lotion and moisturiser into the webs of your fingers and down the sides. Pay attention to working it lightly into where the thumbs meet the palms and where the little fingers meet the palms so you don’t have a harsh line. Rub each wrist onto the back of the opposite hand in order to take up the excess lotion. Then carefully rub them together taking care not to get any lotion on your palms.

Instant Bronzing Gel
| 30 ml / 1 fl.oz.

Maintaining Your Fake Tan

Once you are gloriously tanned and gorgeous all you have to do are a few simple things to keep your self-tan topped up, well maintained and looking totally ‘tantabulous’. Moisturising well and using a bronzer is a good start:

  • Moisturise using a non-oil-based moisturiser every day to keep your skin hydrated and therefore avoiding any cracking or flaking.
  • Carefully pat your skin dry after baths/shower/swimming rather than rubbing
  • Be aware that the more you swim and shower the more your tan is likely to fade
  • Don’t take very hot baths or showers as this encourages removal of the tan
  • Apply fake tan weekly to build it up
  • Use a wash off tinted lotion on your body or a tinted face gel to top up your tan if you don’t have time to apply another layer
  • Use a bronzer on your face to intensify that summer bronzed glow

A Quick Reminder

  • Remember- it’s all in the prep! Make sure you prepare your skin well before you apply any fake tan lotion
  • Don’t use an oil-based moisturiser before, during or after applying fake tan
  • Make sure you pay good attention to the Tricky Bits!
  • For a long-lasting tan remember to maintain it by moisturising and using bronzers
  • Do remember to wear a high factor sunscreen on your face and body to protect your lovely skin from harmful UV rays

Why Apply Fake Tan?

With the dangers of skin cancer and premature ageing from the sun’s harmful UV rays being at the forefront of most people minds, the usage of fake or faux tan has increased dramatically.

Fortunately for us, fake tanning products have come on leaps and bounds. Gone are the days of looking like “you’ve been tangoed”. Instead, recent formulae can create golden glows so deliciously real that it’s easy to convince others that the beautiful tan is your very own. Also, choosing to do it yourself means you save oodles of precious time. Rather than baking yourself in the sun for hours just to get bronzed, you can spend more time strutting your stuff around town to show off your perfect tan. These days, achieving an utterly convincing tanned look is both quick and easy.

Different Types of Fake Tan

The road to self-tanning can get a little confusing at times, as there are so many products to choose from. Some self-tanning products are semi-permanent while others wash off easily; you can also choose between tinted and non-tinted. To save you from information overload, here is a quick guide to get you on the right track and decide which products are best for you.

Tanning Mousse - Light and easy to apply, providing a streak free and even coverage.
Spray - Most tanning sprays are applied in beauty salons but there are some sprays available for you to apply at home. Just like mousses and lotions they can be easy to apply.
Lotion - Many tanning lotions contain extra moisturisers enabling you to tan and moisturise at the same time. The only down side is that they are a little harder to apply evenly.
Tinted Lotion - Tinted tanning lotions aid application as the colour means you can see exactly where you have applied the lotion and therefore highlights what areas you may have missed.
Wash Off - Bronzing powder - Growing in popularity, bronzing powders are often used as makeup on your face or body to give you a temporary sun kissed glow.
Tinted Lotion - These fake tan lotions are a great way to either top up an existing tan or to create a beautiful tan in an instant. Use them on your face or body and wash them off easily at the end of the day.