LEIGH CAMPBELL: The common product you're using that's killing the life of your fake tan.

I got a spray tan on Thursday night. My first in four years.

Why had it been so long? Oh, because last time the spray tan technician commented “oh, you’ve just had lunch” as I stood in nothing but a paper g-string and shower cap under down lights in the spray booth.

I had not just eaten lunch. (Plus this is probably a conversation for my therapist and not this article, so I’ll get back on track.)

With and without spray tan. All fake tan fans will understand.

Video by MMC

When I go for any sort of professional treatment I always quiz the person on what they are doing at every step of the way. Basically like a two year old I ask “why?” pretty much constantly so I can learn.

So last night as the helpful lady was finishing off my spray tan she ran me through the aftercare steps. When we got to the hydration bit I said “yes yes, I know, no body oils because oil can lift off the tan. Regular oil-free body lotion only.”

“Actually no, not any regular body lotion,” she said.

Oh. But why?


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She went on to explain that many body lotions contain alcohol, and that ingredient can also strip away the tan. (Look for words like cetyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, behenyl alcohol, arachidyl alcohol and myristyl alcohol.)

It’s in the formula to help make the consistency lighter and to help the other ingredients penetrate the skin. Alcohol gets a bad rap, and while ethanol can be drying and irritating, most other forms are fine and are in there to perform an important function. It’s also in almost all creams and lotions.

She suggested that when it comes to prolonging a tan, to go for a body butter instead because they contain no, or less, alcohol.

I have been loving the new Weleda Skin Food Body Butter lately, tan or no tan.

Note: Weleda, Skin Food Body Butter doesn’t hit Australian shelves until March 1, but in the meantime you can enjoy Weleda’s cult Skin Food ($14.95 for 30mL).

how long does fake tan last
I have been loving the new Weleda Skin Food Body Butter lately, tan or no tan. Image: Weleda.

I’d never heard that tip before!

I went home and looked at the body butters I had but found they still contained alcohol. Comparative to my body lotions though it was much further down the list, meaning the amount was far less.

So there you go - pick a hydration product with the least amount of alcohol and watch your tan last way longer.

She also said I had to apply it twice a day but once is enough for me... ain't nobody got time for that.

What are your top tips when it comes to fake tan? Tell us in a comment below.

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