11 May 2012

How To: Self Tanning Tips and Advice from James Harknett, Garnier's Body & Tanning Expert



I'm a total self tan newbie. Search the site and the only piece on tanning you'll find is a recent 'Made in Ireland' post on the Rockstar brand  - and even then, I was only brave enough to try the wash off version. But I know lots of you reading this love your fake tan, so I've resolved to step outside my comfort zone, experiment and report back on my findings.

So it was a fortunate coincidence that I was invited to catch up with James Harknett, Garnier's Body & Tanning Expert, on a recent trip to Ireland. James has been immersed in the self-tanning world for more than 10 years, working with the biggest brands and names in the industry as well as bronzing up the stars on TV shows like X Factor and The Brit Awards. What better man to answer my questions?

Some of the Garnier self tanning range

1.  Hello James and thank you for sharing your advice! We're seeing a lot of organic ingredients popping up in tanning products. Why?
We are seeing tanning products evolve constantly. The main tanning agent DHA is a natural derived product that can be drying on the skin. Organic ingredients like aloe vera and calendula counteract this as they have a nourishing and soothing effect on the skin, therefore complimenting the tan.

2.   Talk me through the most popular products?
Tanning mousse, gel and spray are very popular. A mousse is a quick drying foam that when tinted is very easy to apply, leaving a matte finish to the skin. It's popular with the male market as it glides through facial and body hair with ease.

Gels give a deep colour and smooth across the skin in seconds. The new Ambre Solaire tinted gel with shimmer can be used as an instant tan that leaves a summer sheen, and once washed away lasts for days on the skin. It's very quick drying with little transference onto clothes.

Sprays are perfect for a quick top up or for tanners on the go. Some people are concerned about overspray making a mess in the bathroom. But by spraying fluid strokes on the skin, you can achieve a natural glow in super fast time.




3. What is your advice for avoiding the oompa loompa look and selecting the best shade for your colouring?
When it comes to choosing a product I advise clients to think of how they tan in the sun, and to consider the look they want to achieve. The deep orange look is normally evident if a product is over applied more than once over a few days. Look for a brand that offers different shades: the Garnier tanning range caters for all skin types, from fair, medium to dark complexions.

For the most natural sun kissed glow I recommend a gradual tanner, a moisturiser with a hint of tanning agent. You can apply a few times a week for a subtle golden glow. (Watch the video above for more tips on how to achieve a natural tan!)

4.   What are the classic mistakes people make when using tanning products and do you have any advice on how to avoid them?
The classic mistake is too much product collecting on the hands and wrists, and the ankles and feet being too dark. This is easily avoided with preparation. It's crucial to prepare the skin before application and sparingly moisturise the problematic areas. Spread less product on the hands and feet and think of your moisturiser as a product to custom blend with. A tanning mitt ensures even coverage across the body, reducing the chance of streaks. (And the video below has a few tips on avoiding 'fake tan hands'!)



5.    What’s the best way to achieve a faux glow before you jet off on holiday?
A tan before a holiday is always a must! It helps you feel beach ready and confident in your bathing suit. My advice is to prepare the skin first by exfoliating and removing the remnants of any other products. The tan will be flawless if it has a clear canvas to cling to.

Take your time with the application and use a full length mirror to help guide you. Work in sections on the body, starting at the top of the shoulders and working down the body. Remember to blend with moisturiser on the hands and feet. If you're a complete novice I strongly recommend you use a product with a tinted guide colour. A practise run through before your holiday will get rid of any doubts.

6. What about tips on matching your make-up to your newly tanned self?
The beauty of tanned skin is that make up can be minimal. A bright lipstick on a golden face looks incredible! I always advise clients to avoid an oily foundation once tanned and don't make it to dark. The combination can be unnatural.

7. What’s your top tanning tip of all time?
My top tanning tip is never tan on top of already self tanned skin that is breaking down. This leaves a definite patchy finish. Always clean your teeth before application to avoid marks around the mouth, and vaseline the eyebrows to avoid any staining.

And there you have it, straight from the expert's mouth! Where do you stand on fake tan, love it, loathe it or take-it-or-leave-it?
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