A Fake Tan Expert Told Us How To Fix These 6 All Too Common Tanning Nightmares

James Read is one of the biggest names in tanning.

James Read has been tanning celebrities for 17 years now, with a client list that includes Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Lady Gaga, and Mariah Carey, to name but a few.

In 2012, he founded his own range of innovative tanning products, whipping up the cult favourite Sleep Mask Tan (which gives you a glow as you sleep) and Coconut Melting Tanning Balm.

STELLAR got to sit down with James and pick his brain about all things tan –  and apart from beseeching us to adopt a ‘less is more’ approach and use straws to drink after application (we’ve all accidentally dribbled on ourselves while developing, haven’t we?) he’s got a few hacks up his sleeve to prevent some tanning nightmares.

White hands, brown arms

There’s no bigger giveaway that your tan wasn’t god-given, is there?

James advises using a tanning mitt to work leftover product from your arms down on to your hands, and from your legs to your ankles and feet – don’t apply product directly to these tricky areas, and remember to blend, blend, blend.

Tell-tale tide marks

Wrists, ankles and hairlines are like magnets for fake tan, which likes to gather in those areas conspicuously and let all and sundry know you painted your healthy glow on last night. But you can beat it at its own game.

“Get a bit of moisturiser and buff it around the wrist line after tanning – you won’t get that line, and it’ll look like a proper tan,” says James. “Rub it into your hairline as well.”

As for ankles, a swipe of a makeup or baby wipe prior to application will stop the tan clinging to areas you don’t want it to.

Those weird red dots on your legs

These are caused by the tan getting into your open pores, and the solution is peas. Yes, peas. “Get a packet of frozen peas and rub it over your legs before applying your tan,” says James. “This closes all your pores so you don’t get those red dots.”

James reckons tanning products with a colour guide (a light colour on application) are more likely to cause the dreaded dots, but clear products don’t tend to gather in your pores. Just a heads up.

You can also use a similar trick for the face – either splash yourself with cold water or rub an ice cube over your mug to close the pores before tanning and prevent breakouts.

Trying to tan your own back

You can’t always trust your significant other/housemates/family to do it right, so what can you do? Don’t spend money on a special back applicator – do this instead.

Get a wooden spoon, an elastic band, and a tanning mitt. Wrap the mitt around the spoon and you’ve got a back applicator.

“A mini paint roller is a good one too,” laughs James.

Going overboard

We’ve all woken up the morning after Tanning Thursday to find that you were a little more heavy-handed than you’d thought. If a shower doesn’t sort you out, try James’ juice hack.

“Get lemon juice or lime juice and a little bit of crushed salt, put it on a warm flannel and rub it over your skin. The fruit acids help to remove the tan, and the salt gives a slight coarse exfoliation.”

And the manky fading process

While you might get your tan absolutely perfect on the night, a couple of days after you’re sure to be looking a bit mottled and/or vaguely green as it all starts to fade away.

“Always exfoliate after three to four days to help it fade evenly,” he says. “Nivea wipes are also the greatest thing to get rid of tan.”

His tip for getting it all off super quickly is to visit a steam room, something he found out entirely by accident: “Go to the gym, use the steam room for 20 minutes. When you come out, rub your skin with a towel and the tan will come straight off.”

We’ll never have to fear a streaky tan again. Thanks, James!

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