Moisturise like a maniac

Lynda Moorhead

No matter how hard I try, I can't quite seem to quit fake tan. That's not to say I like to go around the place looking like a lost Oompa Loompa, though: fake tan should never actually look fake, and I tend to favour the kind of natural, golden glow sported year-round by Sienna Miller.

If you're a fellow tan fan, here are a few tips to optimise the performance of your preferred glow-getter.

Hydrated skin is much more receptive to false tan than a dried-out hide, so slather on body moisturiser for a couple of days prior to tanning to ensure an even result.

Use moisturiser judiciously just before applying tan, too: a small amount of a light moisturiser on danger areas such as elbows, armpit creases, knuckles, knees, ankles, and toes will prevent them from absorbing too much tanning agent and looking tangoed.

Moisturiser is also the key to prolonging a tan. I recently got 13 days out of a single false tan application before the first signs of fading appeared simply by applying body moisturiser morning and evening.

>DIY hard-to-reach areas

It never occurs to me to buy a specialist long-handled tan applicator for doing that awkward spot in the middle of my back until I'm mid-tan, which is when I have to start thinking like MacGyver and fashion a makeshift version.

As a result, my €3 foam tan applicator mitt from Penneys has variously found itself atop a wooden spoon, a slotted spatula, a chunky clothes hanger, a sponge-tipped dishwashing implement and a long-handled body brush, all of which have actually performed really well.

>Wave goodbye to piebald hands . . .

Frequent washing means that tan on the back of the hands literally gets washed down the sink, making them the first place from which your golden glow will disappear. The ensuing patchy, piebald effect betrays the bottle origin of even the most natural-looking tan.

To combat this, top up the backs of your hands with another light layer of tan when the fade starts to set in; use a gradual tanner if you're concerned about ending up with Fanta fingers.

> . . . and the rest

When the time finally comes to wash it off, an oil-based body scrub will make easy work of removing all traces of tan.

Throw a simple scrub together at home by mixing some Johnson's Baby Oil, €1.48, with your choice of salt or sugar as an exfoliant, and marvel as any lingering vestiges melt away.