How to Make Your Tan Last Longer

with 5 simple steps

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Words by Lydia Devlin
September 7th, 2016

As summer fades to autumn, our tan too fades away to reveal our true colour/complexion. That is of course if you allow it. Whether it’s from a bottle or you’ve been fortunate enough to have a break away in the sun, maintaining that summer glow isn’t impossible. All you need is a few tips and tricks and you’ll be looking like a bronzed goddess all the way through September.


While it may seem counterintuitive to scrub away at your bronzed skin, exfoliating is a key part of maintaining a tan, particularly if it’s fake. Your body produces new skin cells all the time meaning the top layer of your skin can begin to look dull and lacklustre if dead skin cells aren’t buffed away. Try using a body brush in the morning to lightly exfoliate the top layer of your skin (this will also help with circulation) or apply a body scrub while in the shower. Honeymania Body Scrub from The Body Shop is my go-to as it leaves skin silky smooth.

It’s also wise to exfoliate before applying fake tan as it smoothes any dry areas of skin that would otherwise make your tan look patchy and uneven.


While we may start off with good intentions, I know it’s all too easy to take the lazy route in the morning and forego exfoliating but if you do only one thing to extend your tan make sure it’s this step. Moisturising is vital when it comes to keeping your tan in check. While lounging under the sun may feel like bliss it doesn’t have the greatest effect on your skin. To avoid dehydration which will rapidly lead to peeling, apply moisturiser in abundance. If you’re wearing fake tan then opt for oil-free moisturisers such Fake Bake Oil Free Mistifier Moisturiser as oils break down DHA, the active ingredient which is in the majority of self-tanning formulas, causing the tan to fade faster than normal.

If you’re still feeling a bit pasty, enhance the tan you already have with a moisturiser that includes gradual tan. Dove Derma Spa Summer Revived Body Lotion leaves skin with a healthy glow and you can apply it daily to build up a colour that looks natural.


Pat, don’t rub

It’s all too easy to hop out of the shower in the morning and rub a towel down your body in order to dry off as quickly as possible but this act does nothing for maintaining that holiday glow. While exfoliating is an important step, overdoing it will merely quicken the pace at which your tan fades. To avoid this, gently pat your body with a towel until dry as opposed to vigorous rubbing.

Avoid shaving

This may seem like an impossible feat but if you can manage it your tan will thank you. Each time you shave you are removing the top layer of your skin i.e. the lovely bronzed layer that you’re trying to keep. Even cutting down on how often you shave will help.

Wear bright colours

While this won’t prolong your tan, wearing a bright nail polish or vibrant clothing does help to enhance the colour you’ve already got, sometimes making you appear more tanned than you actually are! Citrus shades of lemon and orange create a nice contrast against bronzed skin as does white while turquoise and coral are the perfect colours for nail polish to make your tan pop. Haute Vacation from Olivia Palermo‘s collection is a bright coral which really works well against a tan.

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For tips on how to care for sun damaged skin click here.