It’s a truth universally acknowledged that everyone looks better with a tan. Or at least I do. But is a spray tan – that tricky, minefield of a beauty treatment – something I really want to risk before my big day? Especially when I’m wearing white? That’s something I’ve been debating in my head recently. So I decided to seek out St Tropez tanner and expert Jules Heptonstall for some advice.
His short answer? ‘Of course you can! Just make sure you go to a tanner you trust, who knows you and approach it like you would your hair and make-up: with tests, trials and calculated precision,’ says Jules convincingly. Take note of his steps to spray tan success before your big day. (Given this is the only man I trust to see me in paper knickers before a holiday and he’s never failed me yet, I’ll be following it to the letter before my fast-approaching big day…)
Find a professional spray tanner you trust six months before the wedding
‘I can’t tell you the number of people who have walked in to see me the day before their wedding and asked for a tan. That’s a disaster!’ says Jules. Start the process six months before your wedding finding a good professional tanner who you can experiment with to find your perfect shade.’
Think about the look you want to achieve carefully
‘If you’re wearing a white dress, your tan will look darker,’ warns Jules, ‘ so it’s important to discuss with your tanner what shade you’re looking for. Also think about your skin type. The standard spray tan I’d recommend is two coats of St Tropez classic on the body and one on the face but it’ll depend on your skin – fair, Celtic skin tones for example would need to go one shade darker to achieve the optimum tan because their skin doesn’t take colour as easily.’ Extra note of caution: remember you’ll be having pictures with your groom so make sure you’re not chesnut dark and he’s vampire pale. You’re supposed to coordinate, you know…
St Tropez classic was used at the Issa catwalk show (Catwalking)
Don’t book your tan in the night before the wedding!
In your six months of practice runs watch your spray tan develop and decide how many days after the treatment it looks best, advises Jules. ‘Most people’s tans look best three days after the tan,’ he says. ‘That’s when the colour has settled but the skin hasn’t cracked.’
Have a spray tan before your make-up trial…
Your make-up artist will need to try out eye colours and foundations on the skin colour you’re going to have on the big day. ‘So make sure you book in for your pre hair and make-up trial spray tan exactly the same number of days before you’re planning to on your big day,’ says Jules. ‘The key with bridal tanning is expert organization, planning and diarizing appointments.’
Avoid self tan in the immediate run up
‘Don’t apply any self tan at all for at least two weeks before your spray tan is booked,’ warns Jules.
Exfoliate like crazy for two days before your spray tan
Enough said, really…
Hair removal needs to happen 24 hours before your spray tan
So book in that bikini wax in time….
Erdem proves St Tropez tans can be super sheer too (Catwalking)
Use aloe vera moisturizer after
‘Leave your spray tan on overnight to develop and when you wash it off in the morning use an aloe vera based moisturizer to maintain the tan twice daily until the wedding,’ says Jules.
Avoid anything that’ll strip the tan before the big day
‘Don’t have an oily massage or go swimming as that might effect the tan’s colour,’ warns Jules. ‘And if you’re having a manicure warn the therapist you’ve had a spray tan so she can avoid using oils on your hands, too.’ If you’re doing lash extensions Jules also advises you get these applied after your spray tan.
Jennifer Aniston uses St Tropez Gold Illuminator (St Tropez)
Work around the style of your dress to enhance your tan
Do one final layer of moisturizing before your put your dress on – and then work on the bits of skin still showing. ‘If you’re wearing a strapless dress, use St Tropez’s Gold Illuminator (£12.26) on your declotage area, working little bits into your skin with your hands gradually,’ says Jules. ‘If your dress is backless pat down your spine and shoulder blades. Equally if you’re wearing a short dress start 1 finger-width above the knee and rub the illuminator up the front of the thigh and start two fingers-width below the knee down the shin. That will give you the illusion of slimmer limbs.’
Take the illuminator with you
Or get a bridesmaid to instead! ‘The illuminator will stay on for four hours but just before the reception or pictures check it in the bathroom and reapply if necessary,’ says Jules.
Gwyneth Paltrow turns to St Tropez for a glow before big events like the Oscars (Goop)
Top up your tan before honeymoon!
‘Use a gradual tanner like St Tropez’s Everyday Gradual Tan Body Moisturizer (£14.39) the morning before your flight to top up and buy an after-sun with a hint of self-tan to use on holiday,’ says Jules. St Tropez’s Aftersun with a hint of self tan starts at £15
And finally… congratulate yourself for making it through your big day (and onto the sun-lounger in my case) streak-free.