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Top tips to mas­ter the dark art of self-tan­ning… and how to avoid that blotchy or­ange fin­ish

Awarm, sunny sum­mer lies ahead – fin­gers crossed – and for many of us that means dig­ging out the self-tan. Even if you are a fan of year-round tan­ning, chances are you might turn the shade up a notch and shop for a darker tan when fash­ion dic­tates ex­posed limbs.

So, what’s new in tan­ning? Mois­ture is pop­ping up in some newer for­mu­las, es­pe­cially in mousse tans. This makes sense as a for­mula with­out much mois­turiser will dry faster on the skin be­fore you get a chance to make sure it’s even, and adding mois­ture gives the prod­uct bet­ter mov­abil­ity. Tip: the more mois­tur­is­ing mousse for­mu­las are priced mid-range, it’s un­likely you will find an ef­fec­tive one in the cheaper aisles, so choose wisely.

Colour is al­ways a prime con­cern. By now you will know grad­ual tans of­fer colour that is light and needs build­ing over a few days to look like a proper self-tan. These are great if you want min­i­mal colour but you must still be care­ful with ap­pli­ca­tion, palms will pick up tan un­less you wash them thor­oughly.

Lotions re­main pop­u­lar for value per use and depth of colour, but the sin­gle ma­jor mis­take you can make, and ruin the look, is go­ing too dark in one layer.

Many tans now have a light, medium or dark ver­sion and it goes with­out say­ing that if you are per­fectly pale, don’t jump straight into dark. The colour dif­fer­ence be­tween skin and tan will be ex­treme and ap­pli­ca­tion will prove hard to mas­ter.

Take a look at St Tropez’s new Ex­press Ad­vanced Bronz­ing Mousse, €46. The colour de­vel­op­ment is timed in an in­ter­est­ing way: ap­ply and if you want a light colour, shower af­ter one hour. If you want medium colour, wait for two hours, and for a dark tan, keep it on for three hours be­fore show­er­ing. The brand sug­gest it will be pop­u­lar with sis­ters or co­hab­it­ing fe­males as those with dif­fer­ent colour re­quire­ments can all get it from a sin­gle prod­uct.

Al­ter­na­tively, try out Vita Lib­er­ata’s new ver­sion of their pHenomonal Tan, €46.50. The North­ern Ir­ish brand re­leased the orig­i­nal last year and it prom­ises to last two to three weeks if you fol­low a spe­cific triple ap­pli­ca­tion method over one to three days. It’s dif­fer­ent but it works. This new ver­sion has an added Mois­ture Lock hy­dra­tion sys­tem, if dry skin is an is­sue opt for this ver­sion. Avail­able from Deben­hams and se­lect phar­ma­cies.

For more tan­ning sug­ges­tions, check out the prod­ucts be­low...

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