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A Spray Tan Expert Reveals Her Secrets

Look like you’ve spent a week on the beach

Beach season may be months away, but tropical vacation season is in full swing. Before you jet to Miami, St. Barths, or Palm Beach, consider adding a glow to your sun-starved pallor. We asked our top questions to  St. Tropez Skin Finishing Expert Sophie Evans, and she shared her expert tips to getting the ultimate faux tan.

How far in advance should one get a spray tan before an event or vacation?

Anytime is a great time to get a spray tan! If you have the time we would always recommend to do it two days before the big event. So if your event is on a Saturday we would normally self-tan on the Thursday, this will give the tan time to settle and look its natural best. You can sleep with the spray tan on for full development and then have the next day for the tan to settle or to retouch any areas if needed. This time frame sometimes never happens and I can end up tanning clients on the actual day…. St Tropez Express Mousse is great for this situation as you can tan in the morning and shower two to three hours later, and you will be bronzed by the afternoon.

Are there different tanning products that make sense for specific occasions or needs?

It all depends on your skin type and lifestyle. If you have very dry skin you will love an oil self-tanner. Gels are great if you have a lot of body hair. Lotions are good for dry skin and a long-lasting tan. Express development solutions (where you can shower in one to three hours) are great if you are a gym junkie. Mousses are great for most skin types and are very easy to apply but will not last quite as long as a lotion or oil. Choose based off your lifestyle and skin type. I personally use a lotion because I only have to apply every 10 days, but people who want to tan and go straight to work or on a date are happy with a mousse. They will just need to apply more frequently. Sprays are great for hard-to-reach areas and for the person who does not like rubbing at their skin. There is a product out there to suit everyone!

If you are in a pinch and need to apply the day of with no time to shower in between, use instant tanner or cosmetic bronzer, like the St. Tropez One Night Only is the product for the job. A non-commitment cosmetic bronzer which is sweat, touch and rub proof from the start. Apply with the Applicator Mitt and simply smooth and blend. If you find the color is too dark, simply dilute with moisturizer or you can dilute with an oil for a dewy finish.

Any tips for extending the life of a spray tan?

The better the condition your skin, the better a tan will look and last. Exfoliate well and if you have the time, start exfoliating a few days before. Make sure all waxing is completed 24 hours before self-tan application, this will ensure the hair follicles have settled and ensures a perfect finish. Prior to self tan application remove all products like deodorant, body makeup etc. and apply an oil-free body moisturizer to dry areas which can go extra dark when self-tanned like elbows, knees, hands, and feet.

Do you have recommendations for tanning with sensitive skin?

Choose your products right! Always patch test a new self-tanner to see how it reacts to your skin. When you patch test a self-tan it’s normally better to do an area of about three centimeters by three centimeters or more, doing a very tiny patch can appear darker than it would normally appear.

Are there new products or tanning technology you’re excited about?

I love the St.Tropez Gradual Tan In Shower Lotion.  It is the first ever product that uses water to promote a gradual tan.  It is truly one of the most convenient ways to tan- simply apply in the shower, leave on for 3 minutes and rinse.

Image Credit: Jonathan Storey / Getty Images