Ex-foliate and moisturise
Ex-foliation is key. It removes any dead skin sells that may still be lingering on your skin and make your tan appear flaky. It also leaves your skin feeling smooth. Moisturising on the other hand will allow the dry patches of your skin, such as your elbows or knees to absorb less of the product; that way you won't get the typical fake tan knees and elbow look. Preparing your skin is key before a tan or it won't have a good base to grip to!
Shave before you apply tan
This is something I realised later on in learning how to tan. Shaving also acts as ex-foliation and removes layers of skin with the razor as well as the hair. If you leave shaving till after a fake tan you may remove the tan itself or the tan may stick to the hairs or the pores where the hair is coming out. So do any hair upkeep before hand!
Star off with less then work your way up
If you're not used to tanning, start off with a light colour. You can always build up but you have to wait for it to wear off if you want it to fade in colour. If you want to go a layer darker you can do it when one layer has developed - don't spray half the bottle on your skin in one sitting!
Invest in a good fake tan
Above: Fake Bake Flawless
There are some products you just can't skimp on and fake tan is one of them since it is going all over your body! Like I said before this is the fake tan I use; seen above. I apply this once a week after I have shaved, ex-foliated and moisturised right before bed so it has plenty of hours to sink in.
Invest in a tanning mitt
Most fake tans come with one nowadays but the worst look is having fake tanned palms. Avoid this by using fake tan mitts to rub in the solution. Then to tan your hands spray some solution on to the mitt and graze over the tops of your hands! Simple!
Choose a good time to fake tan
The best time I have found is either of an evening so you can just sleep in the tan and wash off the guide tan in the morning when you are having a lazy day and don't mind the smell or of an evening. Most fake tans say the tan only needs four hours on but I allow for at least 10 so I know it has fully absorbed. Don't choose a time you will be sweating as it will just sweat off, choose a time you are relaxed and chilled.
Choose the right clothes
The best thing to wear is some slouchy old clothes that you don't mind getting fake tan on or the smell of fake tan on and that aren't clingy so it allows your skin to absorb the product and doesn't leave line marks. Its best to do fake tan completely unclothed, wait for it to dry then chuck on your old clothes!
Invest in a gradual tanner to keep your tan up
I fake tan once a week, but to keep a good base tan I use gradual tanner. I use either Johnson's Holiday Skin body lotion or St Tropez gradual tan to keep up my tan. This just creates a god base tan for the net application and as your normal tan is fading it wont be as noticeable!
Above: Gradual tanners Johnson's Holiday skin and St Tropez Gradual tan
I apply these as a daily moisturiser so my skin is soft but also has a glow. I use the St Tropez gradual tanner mostly on my face to give it a tanned glow.
Maintain your tan throughout the week
Make sure when you get out of the shower or bath you tap or pat your skin dry. Don't rub just treat the skin delicately. If you are a swimmer stay away from chlorine - this will immediately strip your tan.
DON'T WORRY ABOUT FAKE TAN DISASTERS!
We all have them so if you have blotches or patches or dodgy hands or feet laugh it off and wait for it to fade. Everyone does it especially at the beginning so just get used to tanning and eventually the mishaps will get less and less. Everyone has a fake tan story to tell so don't worry if you do something wrong!