Faking it naturally


Neutrogena - Credit: Archant

We speak to celebrity beauty therapist, Abbie McCann, to find out the dos and don’ts of fake tanning

Skinny Tan Exfoliating Mitt

Skinny Tan Exfoliating Mitt - Credit: Archant

If anyone knows how to create the prefect fake tan, it’s Abbie McCann, whose Redbridge-based mobile beauty business takes her all over the world spraying the likes of Kim Kardashian, Paloma Faith and Lindsay Lohan, to name but a few.

With pop up tent and spray gun in hand, Abbie’s claim to fame is creating the most natural of looks. No tangoed effect and tide lines on her clients, just a smooth, even, sun-kissed glow that turns heads and elicits ‘wows’. Of course, to get the ultimate fake tan, it pays to have it done professionally.

Modelco Wipes

Modelco Wipes - Credit: Archant

That said, however, Abbie reckons you can get as near as darn it if you follow the following advice.


The day before you apply the fake tan, give yourself a full body exfoliation, removing dead skins cells on the surface of your body. Buy a scrub and make sure you do everywhere, paying attention to heels, knees and elbows. Follows this with a deep body moisturiser..

Main shot

Main shot - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto


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When purchasing your fake tan, whether a cream, lotion or mousse, don’t automatically go for the darkest shade. Stick to the lightest colour at least for the first full application. You can always go darker later, when you’re more confident.


Wax all areas you usually wax 24 hours prior to application. This will help ensure that the tan goes on more smoothly and evenly, and it will last much longer than if you wax afterwards, too.


Some advise to limiting exfoliation to the day beforehand, but I think it really helps to exfoliate again on the day of the tan. But don’t follow up with a moisturiser and definitely no deodorant or perfume, as these impair the tanner.


Purchase a hand mitt. Pump your product on to the mitt and spend a couple of minutes blending in using sweeping motions. Be especially vigilant around the hairline – go into it with the mitt so you don’t get that dreaded halo effect.


It’s common for first time users to have unrealistic expectations of fake tans. Even if you do all the preparation, you’re looking at seven to ten days max. But by putting in the effort your tan will fade evenly and won’t go scaly, in other words, you’ll continue to glow.

Fake it

Modelco Exfoliate Double Sided Wipes, £7, beautyexpert.com

Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Deep Moisture Body Lotion, £3.53, boots.com

Skinny Tan Exfoliating Mitt, £3.95, superdrug.com

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