Glow getter: Ruth Griffin's top 10 self-tanning tips
Your top 10 self-tanning questions answered.
How can I avoid breakouts/spots?
Look for non-comedogenic, alcohol- and oil-free facial tans. Try Nuxe Sun Fondant Emulsion for face, €15, or James Read Sleep Mask Tan, €31.65, available at Space NK. Another good one is Avène Autobronzant Hydratant Self Tanner, €14.50 Don't use acid-based toners or cleansers until your tan is completely gone.
How do I avoid orange palms?
To avoid orange palms always use plastic gloves and a blending mitt (try Bellamianta Mitt, €9.95). For perfectly tanned hands, dab the tiniest amount of tan on back of hands and blend. It's really important to then take a wet wipe and rub off any tan on your knuckles and between fingers. Finally, massage moisturiser all over the hands to fully blend the tan.
How do I stop destroying my sheets with fake tan?
Most modern tans develop so quickly you don't need to sleep overnight in them. Apply bBold Smart Mousse Tan, €14.95, for an hour only, then shower off. If you have to sleep in tan, try sleeping in a duvet cover to protect your sheets and cover your pillow with a towel. Alternatively, use an instant wash off tan product like Rimmel Sun Shimmer Instant Tan, €7.99. Apply with a mitt and shower off before bed.
How do I avoid streaks...
...and what is the best way to apply tan to avoid feet, elbows and knees looking tangoed?
Exfoliate, moisturise (try The Body Shop Shea Butter, €20.95) and shave well in advance. Dab Vaseline, €1.99, on dry areas. Apply tan all over body. With a wet wipe dab off tan on problem areas, and then blend moisturiser all over the area. Apply enough product and blend to avoid streaks. Always use a mitt to apply and I use an old fluffy sock from Penneys to buff!
How do I avoid that fake tan "pong"?
The dreaded fake tan smell is absent from a lot of new products, with increasing amounts of modern tans using Odour Remove technology. For a neutral smelling tan try Vita Liberta pHenomenal 2-3 Week Tan, or Trilogy Instant Bronzing Gel, €27.50. Always shower after applying fake tan!
How do I avoid a "tan tash"?
We all have hair on our upper lip. This can make tan appear darker. After applying tan all over face, it is vital to then gently dab the upper lip area, eyebrows, hairline and sideburns with a make-up wipe, then massage moisturiser all over face. Try Simple Micellar Wipes, €4.99. Do not wax or bleach facial hair with fake tan on.
Is there a tan alternative for pale-skinned women looking to embrace their natural skin colour but get rid of the "corn beef" legs?
If you're pale, low level (2-5pc DHA) gradual tanners work best. For Dita von Teese porcelain-skinned perfection with nary a mottled limb in sight, ditch the tan altogether and try MAC Face and Body Liquid Foundation, €31.50, blended with MAC Strobe Cream, €33.50, or Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs Make-Up (Pale), €16.95.
What's the best way to get rid of fake tan?
For getting rid of streaks and very dark patches, apply facial hair bleach or pure lemon juice to the affected area. To get rid of old, flaking fake tan, soak in a warm bath filled with Johnson's Baby Oil, €3.50, for as long as possible, then scrub with He-Shi Exfoliating Gloves, €5.70, soap and Coco Brown Tough Stuff Exfoliator, €4.99.
Can I use tan when I'm pregnant?
Yes - although spray tans are forbidden due to the risk of product inhalation. Try Tan Organic, €19.99, a 100pc organic, paraben-, perfume-, and synthetic-free tan. (Personally, I stopped using tan and went fully natural in all my beauty products before, during and after my pregnancy while breastfeeding.)
How do I choose the right colour for my skin type?
DHA is the chemical that creates the colour in your fake tan. In choosing which tan will best suit your skin, you need to take account of the percentage of DHA in a self-tanning product. Below is a general guideline:
Pale skin = 2-5pc level of DHA
Medium skin= from 5-10pc DHA
Dark girls = can up to 18pc DHA
When Queen Victoria visited these shores in the 1800s, she commented on the beauty of Irish women's complexions. It seems there is a silver lining to all those Irish clouds, they protect our pale Celtic skin - dermatologically described as Fitzpatrick Skin Type 1, one of the world's most rare complexion types.
In Western culture, Coco Chanel made sporting a golden tan the ultimate status symbol and it continues to be viewed as youthful and healthy, with self-tanning sales reaching billions of dollars annually and Irish women the highest per capita users of fake tan in the world!
In the East however, pale skin is seen as the ultimate beauty aesthetic. In that corner of the world, skin-bleaching products are a multi billion-dollar industry. It appears women the world over are forever searching for what we don't possess naturally!
As a self-confessed sun worshipper I'll admit my happy place is lazing in a bikini on a blistering hot beach. Growing up as a child of the '80s, my mother used to baste me in coconut oil whenever the sun made an appearance for more than a minute or two, shooing me out to the garden to (literally) toast myself.
However, in the last decade, I have become much more skin savvy and favour self-tanning to get my glow on. It's my skin-safe little "holiday in a bottle".
Having experienced a litany of self inflicted, mortifying tanning disasters - from a rather fetching "tan tash" to the orange hand of shame - I've been that streaky, Tangoed, fake tan soldier! To help you all avoid my orange-faced shame and have your fake tan look like the real thing, here are my answers to the top ten self-tanning questions.