Unless you’re one of those optimistic souls holding out for an Indian summer – you know, the one the Met Office has been promising us for the past decade – you’ll probably have realised that your UK tanning days are fading fast.
Look on the bright side, you’ve got more wear out of your Orlebar Browns over the past few months than you have over the past three years, your mood’s never been so good and – most excitingly of all – fortnight on the Med has given you a colour to make David Dickinson look albino. Only thing is – and we hate to be the bearer of bad news – your tan’s on the brink of disappearing too.
There is a solution, and no, it’s not burning yourself alive at your local electric beach. The best way to subtly prolong your tan is with a clever, considered grooming regime maintained over the next few weeks and months. And now, while you’ve still got a bit of colour, is the time to get started.
STEP 1 | Prepare
Though you might be worried that a scrub will remove the best of your tan, it’s really important to get your skin to its freshest and healthiest before going at it with any kind of tanning product. A good scrub with a gentle exfoliator will remove dead skin cells and allow any product to be absorbed properly into your skin. "Use a body scrub in the shower to create an even surface" says tanning expert Jules Heptonstall. "Pay special attention to the driest areas [of skin]."
The face scrub | Invigorating Face Scrub by Lab Series, £23
The body scrub | Geranium leaf body scrub by Aesop, £25
2 | Apply
It’s imperative that you invest in a high quality tanner that will last on your skin, look completely natural and adapt to the tone of your skin. A tiny, pea sized amount of Sisley’s facial tanner mixed in with your regular moisturiser (opt for something light and not too creamy) will give you an even, super-subtle colour. Apply once weekly. No more.
The Tanner | Self tanning hydrating lotion by Sisley, £83.50
The Moisturiser | Dior Homme dermo system moisturising emulsion, £37
3 | Prevent
The telltale signs of a badly applied fake tan are manifold. The main thing to avoid, however, is applying it anywhere near your facial hair. If you have any kind of beard or stubble, fake tan will discolour it and make you look a) like you’re greying or b) you’ve got a shed load of fake tan in your beard. Preferably shave fully first, or if you insist on keeping the stubble use a tanner with an instant tint so you can immediately assess if there's going to be a clash from the privacy of your bathroom mirror. As the Autumn rolls in (sorry!), Clinique's Face Bronzer is a very handy way of adding a flattering dash of instant colour to a tan that's on its way out. Keep it subtle and you'll never be rumbled.
The bronzer | Face Bronzer by Clinique, £19