With summer on the horizon, most of us will be feeling a little pale and washed out. Before we start peeling off the winter layers and showing off our bodies, the idea of getting some colour will be very appealing. There is no simpler way to achieve this than with a spray tan.

Simple steps to a great tan
Whether you decide to have a go at getting a sunless tan at home, or prefer to leave it to the professionals, there are some easy steps to achieving a perfect tan that apply either way.

1. Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate!
The first and most important step is to exfoliate your skin. Even the best quality tanning product will look patchy and uneven if your skin is not prepared for it. Exfoliating, or scrubbing, the skin sloughs off the dead skin cells that lie on the surface. These can cause dry and scaly patches that absorb too much tan and consequently turn out darker than the rest of your body. An oil free exfoliating body scrub is the best choice for this job, as an oily product may prevent the tan from penetrating the skin. Concentrate on the elbows, knees, hands and feet, as these tend to be much drier.

2. Moisturise the dry bits
Apply moisturiser to these drier skin areas, too. This will act as a barrier to the spray tanning kits solution, preventing too much of it being soaked up and causing those dark patches mentioned earlier. However, resist the temptation to moisturise your whole body as this can stop the tan from being absorbed all together on other areas. Again, concentrate on the hands, feet, elbows and knees.

3. Take special care with hands and feet
Avoid getting the orange hands and feet that are a fake tan giveaway by wearing disposable gloves and foot covers. Then apply a thin layer of fake tan to the backs of the hands and the tops of the feet afterwards. Make sure that no tan is left on the palms of your hands.

4. Get gradual colour
Don’t be tempted to go for a really dark tan straight off. A more natural tan can be achieved by gradually increasing the depth of the colour over a series of sessions. This also applies to the fair skinned who don’t normally tan in the sun. Applying too strong a colour to a pale skin tone increases the risk of an orange tan. Go darker in increments.

5. Seek professional help
A professional spray tan is always the best bet for first time tanners. Attempting to apply a spray tan at home with no previous experience could end in a fake tan disaster. Make sure that the salon you use offers a patch test in case of allergies and that the products they use are suitable for your skin type. The advantage to using professional spray tanning kits is that they can get to all the places that are tricky to reach on your own. This will give your tan an even finish, with fewer tan lines and no streaks.