Beauty columnist Kerry Harvey has the top five tips on perfecting your picture-perfect Christmas glow.

Christmas is nearing and thoughts of that sparkly little number in your wardrobe being dawned for the festive season is almost a reality. For some of us, embracing our porcelain skin comes naturally but for others like myself, the confidence to get my pins out is helped along with the aid of a false tan!

I’m more the ‘DAZ doorstep challenge’ type of translucent blue/white so I fully embrace the bottle when it comes to being a more human colour with a natural shade of tan to add to my Christmas glow!

With such a wide choice of tanning products available to us, choose what suits your skin type and tone best – from sprays, foaming moose to oil, there’s something for everyone!  Let’s pair it back to the basics and get festive ready with my Top 5 Tips on perfecting your picture perfect Christmas glow!

♥ Tip 1 – Exfoliate

Cocoa Brown exfoliator gloves – €2.99

It’s all in the prep – Putting the ground work in will mean you’ll not only have a tan that applies and develops beautifully, but it will wear longer and fade without patchiness. Prep is key! Exfoliate using a body exfoliating cream or for a more thorough scrub, use the exfoliation gloves. Hands down, these are a fantastic and fast way to remove old tan, dead skin cells and even minimises ingrown hairs from shaving/waxing!

I personally recommend the Cocoa Brown exfoliator gloves – €2.99. I use these every time I’m in the shower. Mixed with a little body gel, this helps me stay on top of my exfoliation and ensures I’ve an even tan every application!

♥ Tip 2 – Showering/Waxing/Shaving

Popping tan on right after you shave your legs or have been waxed is a ‘no-no’. Your skin will be sensitive and may even have small nicks from shaving. The pores are wide open after waxing, so leaving your skin to settle for 24/48hrs, ensures an even tan. Using an aloe vera product will promote healing and minimise swelling.

If you’re in a rush and have to pop tan on after you shower, my best tip would be to bath yourself in cold water to close your pores which open up in the heat of the water. Applying tan directly to open pores from a hot shower leaves that pitted black dot effect. The product will fill the open pores and you’ll get that ‘chicken skin/black-headed’ look! So holding off on application post-waxing/shaving and indeed after a hot shower to ensure you’re more ‘Greek Goddess and less ‘plucked chicken’!

♥ Tip 3 – Moisturising – Do’s and Don’ts

Do: The week pre-tanning, do all your exfoliation and moisturise your now fabulously velvety tan ready soft skin.

Don’t: The day of tanning after you shower, do not apply any moisturiser.  A little facial moisturiser is fine – I’d simply crack if I didn’t moisturise my face!

Do: Pop a little moisturiser on those tougher skinned areas such as your knees, elbows, your toes and feet and palms of your hands and fingers. Tan will still take over these areas but the moisturiser ensures it develops less intensively and more evenly.

A great moisturiser is the Aveeno Skin Relief Moisturising Lotion with Shea Butter – €4.50

Aveeno Skin Relief Moisturising Lotion with Shea Butter - €4.50

Aveeno Skin Relief Moisturising Lotion with Shea Butter – €4.50

♥ Tip 4 – Vaseline

Using a little Vaseline on your hairline, brows, (take note you fair-haired gals and guys), over your nails and on any area where you do not want tan to develop, is a quick and easy solution to avoiding any tanning mishaps!

♥ Tip 5 – Application

Bellamianta Tanning Mitt €9.95

Bellamianta Tanning Mitt €9.95

I’ve tried and tested many tans over the years but the best tip when it comes to the application of any tan, is to use a mitt and apply in circular sweeping motions!  There are hundreds of mitts to choose from but recently I found the god of all mitts from an Irish brand called Bellamianta – Luxury Tanning Mitt – €9.99 in Pharmacies nationwide.

It has a velvety soft texture ensuring my tan glides on and distributes evenly.

I do recommend using a coloured tanning product. You can at least see exactly where you have covered and if you’ve missed any patches of skin! Whether it’s a lotion or foaming product, pop a little on your mitt and in circular sweeping motions apply your tan. You can always build upon that tan thereafter – one coat for a natural daytime glow and two for an event or special occasion!

Less is more right now and the tangoed look is a thing of the past – simply tweak to your personal preference!

Start at your ankles and work your way up. Leave the tops of your feet, hands and face until last and only use the residue left on your mitt to lightly cover these areas at the end. Don’t forget to lightly go over your ears and behind your ears into your hair line.

When it comes to your back, you can now purchase the folding arm tan applicators. Brilliant for singletons or those of you who’s sole use for a boyfriend is to tan your back!  A must-have for tan lovers wanting the perfect all-over body tan!

You can purchase these in chemists, Cocoa Brown have their version – €7.99

Cocoa Brown Self Tan Back Applicator €7.95

Cocoa Brown Self Tan Back Applicator €7.99

♥ Tip 5 – Maintenance

Going back to some of our basic tips – exfoliation and moisturising! The first few days post tan, moisturise to ensure your skin is well hydrated, lengthening the lifespan of your tan. Then light exfoliation to ensure an even and gradual fade as the tan starts to wear away.

For the first few days after tanning, I tend to pat my skin dry with a soft towel then moisturise as normal. I also keep a hardened older towel, you know, one that hasn’t been through the drier or washed with softener. This tip costs nothing – hooray! A harder towel will softly aid exfoliation in those annoying patchy-prone areas such as the knees, the inside of your arms etc, and gently remove dead skin cells that your exfoliator gloves will have loosened up whilst in the heat of your shower!

Happy tanning K x