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The ultimate fake tan guide

The ultimate fake tan guide

Written by James Harknett

Bye-bye streaks and au revoir orange palms - A-list tanning expert James Harknett reveals how you can get the perfect faux glow...


With wedding season in full swing, many brides will be considering cheating their way to a flawless glow in time for their big day. 


With our changeable climate and days of sunshine being far and few between,the english complexion can feel a little uneven and sallow at times. In contrast, a healthy tan will compliment your wedding dress and make your teeth gleam in those all-important wedding photographs.


This year is all about the barley-there tan: a warm but subtle glow that brings an HD-ready finish to the skin. Here are my top tips for getting the look yourself - and best of all, no one will know you're faking it, promise!


The golden rules of the perfect tan...


Have a trial run


If you are new to fake-tanning or fancy getting your tan applied professionally, book yourself in for a trial run. Gage the finished tan daily to see how it fades, which will give you an indication of how many days before the wedding you should have the treatment. The beauty of Sienna X compared to some other brands is there are a choice of solutions, so you can take the colour darker if need be. 


Ditch oily moisturisers


Before having a treatment or applying at home, it's essential to bare a few things in mind. In the days leading up to the tanning, don't use any oily-based body lotions - this can leave a film on the skin that can then cause streaking.


Plan ahead


Any waxing or shaving should be done at least two days before and on the day you plan to apply the tan, exfoliate gently beforehand. Don't use a harsh salt scrub unless you want to remove the remnants of any older self tan. I love the Ren Morrocan Rose sugar scrub - it leaves a soft even base for tan to cling to evenly.


Take it slow...


For a confident DIY tan, I strongly recommend using a gradual tanning product a few days before your wedding day. Sienna-X Gradual Glowing Self Tan is luxury tanning in a bottle. It's silky smooth finsh smells divine and works naturally on all skin types leaving a gentle hue. Another must-have at-home tanner is the Sisley Soleil sans Soleil Autobronzant - a gorgeous, natural tan that I find compliments brunettes. 


Mousses = miracle workers


For the summer bride who is perhaps not showing as much skin, a mousse or spray product can work wonders. If you are someones who tans well in the sun and want a rich colour on your arms, then the new Sienna - X Mousse with added Q10 is a breeze to use. It's one of the first tanning mousse products that does not liquifiy on application. You have total control spreading this soft foam over the skin and a warm matte finish is visible in mere minutes.


Don't forget your make-up...


I always recommend showing your make-up artist your tanned skin whilst trialing the products. They can do a make-up test on top of the self-tanner and see which products work best; most make-up artists find self tan can make a great base for make-up.


Short, sharp showers


To keep that gorgeous tan looking good on your honeymoon, use a good-quality moisturiser must be used after each shower. Keep showers quick and warm, and pat and press the skin dry (rather than rubbing) before applying the moisturiser. I recommend avoiding the rose petal bath, no matter how romantic! 


James Harknett is Brand Ambassador for tanning range Sienna X. For more information, visit

bridal beautyfake tantanningtanning tipsbeauty advicejames harknettsienna x

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