The dos and don’ts of fake tanning in rainy summer weather

Warm and wet weather doesn’t go hand-in-hand with applying fake tan. So, experts reveal the toolkit you need to achieve bronzed skin without the sun.

If you’re struggling to get a real tan this summer, here’s how to get perfect coverage from a bottle
Fake tan lines on a woman's body If you’re struggling to get a real tan this summer, here’s how to get perfect coverage from a bottle (Alamy Stock Photo)

If you’re not heading to sunny Europe this summer, you may need a boost from a trusty bottle to evoke a glowing tan. But Britain’s quintessentially soggy season means the ordeal of full-body tanning is even tricker than usual in the muggy weather.

Whether you’re a novice or seasoned fake-tanner, you can improve your routine for a rich and radiant look. So, we’ve consulted tanning experts to reveal their tricks of the trade for the perfect home tan.

1. Create the best environment inside 

“The main thing to keep in mind when applying fake tan when the weather is hot is to try to keep the skin as cool as possible,” notes Beauty Pie’s editorial director and in-house beauty expert, Nicola Moulton. “When the skin is hot, it naturally tries to cool the body down, resulting in sweating, which in turn prevents the skin from absorbing anything, especially something as light as a tan solution.”

Another perk of self-tanning is protecting your skin from harmful UV rays
Another perk of self-tanning is protecting your skin from harmful UV rays (Alamy Stock Photo)

So waiting at least a couple of hours after a hot shower is imperative, and opt for a quick-drying formula. Solutions that are light, such as a mousse as opposed to a lotion, will lessen the feeling of suffocation on the skin. “Formulas with hydrating ingredients, like hyaluronic acid and peptides will dry down into the skin, and you will wake up with a lit-from-within glow,” says Moulton.

Just like selecting a foundation or concealer – deciding which shade of tan to go for alongside the formula is imperative to a fabulous finish. If you have pink undertones, go for a tan that has a more golden guide colour, if you have cooler undertones, go for a tan that has a green guide colour to avoid washing you out. The Bare by Vogue Williams line has a whole ‘shop by shade’ approach, which is helpful for newbies.

Bare by Vogue Self Tan Foam – Dark, £22.50

Beauty Pie Awesome Bronze Gradual Self-Tanning Drops, £40

2. Prepping and application

In hot and wet weather your skin will have produced even more oils than usual. Just as we prep our face before make-up, we need to prep our skin before tanning. For best results, exfoliate your whole body so that the tan will blend in and absorb more evenly.

While prepping your skin for tanning is imperative, the process truly begins with getting the application right, and this means taking your time. “Take it section by section, starting from the legs upwards. Use sweeping motions to ensure a seamless finish and leave hands, feet and face until last,” advises Charlene Flanagan, make-up artist and co-founder of tan and skincare brand, Ella & Jo.

Opting for a fake tan that isn’t high in oil will help the skin to breath
Opting for a fake tan that isn’t high in oil will help the skin to breath (Alamy Stock Photo)

Applying an oil-free barrier cream to particularly dry areas, such as knees, ankles and knuckles will prevent streaks and patchiness. As opposed to adding new product to the mitt, using what’s leftover from your body application to sweep across your wrists, hands, ankles and feet means you won’t have darker patches.

If you feel you’ve made a mistake, don’t panic. Even the most seasoned self-tanners miss spots from time to time. “If you notice streaks or uneven patches, don’t worry, you can just reapply a gradual lotion onto these areas and you’ll see a blend within four to six hours” says Flanagan.

Ameliorate Exfoliating Body Mitt, £10, Look Fantastic

Zitsticka Fizz Fountain, £18.35 (was £23), Beauty Bay

3. How to avoid streaks in the wet weather

The most important thing to have in your tanning canon – potentially more so than the tan itself – are tools. “To avoid streaks and orange palms, invest in a top-quality tanning mitt,” says Flanagan. “This ensures a smooth and even application, while also preventing unwanted staining.”

Avoiding any chances to introduce humidity into the mix is essential. While carrying waterproofs is advised, Moulton suggests to avoid showering right before you tan and make the most of the coolest time of day, such as early mornings or evenings.

Ella & Jo Luxury Velvet Glow Tanning Mitt, £9

John Lewis Anyday Handheld & Foldable Desk Fan – 4 inch – Sage, £12

4. Top tip for fake tanning when it’s hot and muggy

One thing that particularly applies to hot-weather tanning is the age-old adage to never wear tight clothes immediately after. “Tight clothing can rub against freshly applied fake tan and cause streaking or smudging,” says Flanagan. “Opt for loose, breathable clothing until your tan has fully dried and developed.”

“Wear loose-fitting clothes that cover your skin to protect the tan from getting wet,” notes Moulton, “and carry an umbrella!”

M&S V-Neck Strappy Midaxi Tiered Beach Dress, £27.50

5. To avoid at all costs…

When we’re in a rush, it can be tempting to load on the product, which results in a sweaty and streaky mess. “Never try to apply your fake tan with a DIY application (e.g. socks, cloths) or your hands,” says Moulton, “and don’t try loading fake tan on your face with the same volume as your body.”

Instead, try a face-friendly tanning mist or liquid. “This formula is ultra-fine to ensure no product gets stuck in fine lines or dry patches,” says Moulton. Opting for one with brightening niacinamide will help care for your skin as well as giving a sun-kissed glow.

Flanagan emphasises the importance of prepping. “Rushing through the preparation process can result in a patchy or uneven tan. Take the time to exfoliate, moisturise and remove any unwanted hair before applying fake tan for best results.”

Rose & Caramel Instant Tanning Mist, £19.99

Beauty Pie Awesome Bronze Flawless Self-Tanning Mist For Face & Body, £60