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How to Get a Natural Look with Fake Tan

Achieving a sun-kissed glow without the harmful effects of UV radiation is a desire shared by many. With advancements in beauty products, fake tans have become a popular solution. However, the fear of ending up with an unnatural orange hue often deters people from trying it.


The good news is, that with the right techniques and products, you can achieve a flawless, natural-looking tan that rivals the real thing. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the art of mastering fake tan application, ensuring you achieve that coveted sun-kissed glow without looking like you’ve stepped out of a tanning booth.

Understanding Fake Tan

Before diving into the application process, it’s crucial to understand the different types of fake tan products available. The most common options include self-tanning lotions, mousses, sprays, and gradual tanners. Each formulation offers unique benefits and application methods, so it’s essential to choose one that suits your preferences and skin type.

Preparation is Key

The key to achieving a natural-looking fake tan lies in thorough preparation. Start by exfoliating your skin to remove any dead cells and create a smooth canvas for the tan to adhere to. Focus on rough areas such as elbows, knees, and ankles to prevent patchiness. Additionally, moisturize dry areas to ensure an even application and prevent the tan from clinging to dry patches.

Choosing the Right Shade

Selecting the appropriate shade of fake tan is crucial for achieving a natural look. Opt for a shade that closely matches your skin tone to avoid an unnatural contrast. If you’re new to fake tan or have fair skin, start with a lighter shade and gradually build up to your desired level of tan. Remember, it’s always easier to add more tan than to remove excess product.

Application Techniques

When it comes to applying a fake tan, the technique is everything. Begin by wearing gloves to avoid staining your hands and nails. For lotions and mousses, apply the product in circular motions using a tanning mitt to ensure even coverage. Start from the bottom and work your way up to prevent streaks and blotches. Take extra care around joints and creases to avoid buildup and uneven color.


For spray tans, hold the canister approximately six inches away from your skin and spray in sweeping motions, moving the canister continuously to prevent oversaturation in any one area. Consider using a barrier cream on areas prone to excess absorption, such as elbows, knees, and ankles, to achieve a more natural fade.

Blending is Essential

One of the telltale signs of a fake tan is harsh lines and uneven blending. To avoid this, pay special attention to blending the tan along the edges of your limbs, hairline, and neckline. Use a damp cloth or makeup sponge to blend any harsh lines and ensure a seamless transition between tanned and untanned areas. Take your time during this step to achieve a natural, sun-kissed finish.

Allow Sufficient Drying Time

After applying fake tan, it’s crucial to allow sufficient drying time before getting dressed or coming into contact with water. Most products require at least 6-8 hours to develop fully, so plan your tan application accordingly. Avoid tight-fitting clothing and excessive sweating during this time to prevent streaking and uneven color development.

Maintaining Your Tan

To prolong the life of your fake tan and maintain a natural-looking glow, it’s essential to moisturize regularly. Hydrated skin helps the tan fade evenly and prevents patchiness. Opt for a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer to avoid stripping away the tan prematurely. Additionally, avoid prolonged exposure to water and exfoliating products, as they can accelerate tan fading.

Touching Up

Even with careful application and maintenance, fake tan can fade unevenly over time. To touch up any areas that have become patchy or faded, use a gradual tanner or tinted moisturizer to blend the color seamlessly. Focus on areas such as the face, hands, and feet, which tend to fade faster due to frequent washing and exposure.


Achieving a natural-looking fake tan is not only possible but also relatively simple with the right techniques and products. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can enjoy a sun-kissed glow year-round without the harmful effects of UV radiation. Remember to prioritize preparation, choose the right shade, master your application technique, and maintain your tan for long-lasting results. With practice and patience, you’ll soon be flaunting a flawless, natural-looking tan that rivals the real thing.



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