We all know how damaging even a little sun exposure can be to our skin. Thankfully, those who still desire a golden brown tan can get one thanks to the array of realistic fake tanning products on the market.

Gone are the days when faking it nearly always meant embarrassing patchy streaks and an orange face. Today many of the self-tanning products available in chemists and department stores are excellent, such as Clinique Quick Body Bronze Tinted Self-Tanner Mousse, $33, and Clarins Sheer Bronze Self Tanning Hydrating Gel for Face, $40, to name just two.

Or get someone else to do all the hard work for you and have the faux tan applied professionally. Many beauty therapists in Sydney offer fake tanning treatments, with spray-on tans becoming increasingly popular. Mankind in Surry Hills, which caters specifically for men, uses MagicTan which is electronically sprayed onto the entire body inside a booth, lasts up to about a week and costs $50.

Paul Anderson, Mankind’s director, explains that before application you should exfoliate your entire body to remove dead skin and try not to wear any moisturiser. Before hopping into the booth you’re given barrier cream to apply to the places on your body you don’t want to go brown or where the fake tan may appear obvious -“ areas like your nails, knees, elbows, heels and knuckles. Stand naked in the booth, press the button, and while the jets spray you from head to toe strike four simple poses to ensure the tan covers your front, back and sides. MagicTan promises the ingredients in the product are completely safe and have been used in cosmetics and food products for decades.

Once it’s over all you have to do is make sure you don’t sweat or get wet for around six hours, Anderson said. To maintain the tan for as long as possible you must moisturise your body at least once a day and not exfoliate.

At some places a therapist manually sprays the tan onto you. City Gym in East Sydney offers Naturasun which is sprayed on by a trained specialist. Until the end of January, City Gym is charging $22.50 for the service, which is half the usual cost.

Meanwhile The Beauty Room in Darlinghurst offers a full-body cream tan application using Dermalogica for $60.

However you decide to fake it, remember that unless stated otherwise most fake tans offer no protection from the sun’s UV rays so you should still wear sun cream when showing off your new brown body to your friends.

Mankind, 425 Crown Street, Surry Hills. Phone 9081 0222 or go to www.mankind.com.au
City Gym, 107-113 Crown Street, East Sydney. Phone 9360 6247.
The Beauty Room, 220 Goulburn Street, Darlinghurst. Phone 9212 4844 or go to www.thebeautyroom.com.au

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