Instant and wash-off tans are an absolute beauty Godsend, no doubt about it, but I have to admit that I do still occasionally like to go all out and fake it with a false tan that will hang around beyond my next shower. What puts me off using a tan that develops isn't the soggy biscuit smell or the orange hue: my St. Tropez with Aromaguard has got both of those issues well and truly licked.
Nope, what wrecks my head about these tans is mostly the tell-tale awful, patchy, dirty looking way they fade. You'd nearly expect people to point and roar "unclean!" at you in the streets if you venture out with skin bared at the tail end of a tan.
The tan on your hands is inevitable the first place to go, since they're being washed so much more frequently than anywhere else. Patchy, piebald-y hands belie the fakeness of even the best and most carefully applied false tan, but they're easily sorted by applying a bit of gradual tanning lotion when you notice the fade setting in.
I usually just squirt a bit of gradual tan directly onto the back of one hand and then rub the backs of my hands together. Simples.
That's the hands sorted, then; what about the rest of the body? Well, a couple of weeks ago I accidentally discovered what I think is the secret to getting a good week and a bit of patch-free wear out of a tan. Now, it's not rocket science. It's not even beauty science.
Or, a secret, actually.
It's obvious and simple and one of the top tan commandments handed down by The Experts.
You need to moisturise your skin to prolong a tan and prevent it from going patchy.
Talk about stating the bleedin' obvious, you might think, but here's the thing: I'm not talking about briefly showing your skin that there's a little bit of body lotion on the palm of your hand when you happen to think of it.
I'm talking about consistently moisturising the hell out of your newly tanned skin and slathering on a good body lotion twice a day. Morning and evening. I used one that was rapidly absorbed (E45 Endless Moisture Radiance) in the mornings and then something richer (Palmers Cocoa Butter) at night and got a full fortnight out of my last tan without any hint of patchy pigmentation.