How to fake tan for a flawless faux glow.

by Afterpay
Nov 17, 2023      6 min read

Imagine this: you, summer and a streak-free faux glow. 

Self-tanning products have come a long way in recent years. Nowadays, it’s simple to achieve a consistent, even tan – and one that doesn’t sun damage your skin (talk about a win-win). 

With the right products and a pinch of know-how, achieving a flawless, sunless tan is easier than you think, making those notoriously streaky orange disasters a thing of the past. From the best fake tans in Australia to the top tips of the trade, we’ve got the low-down on how to fake tan like an absolute pro.

Safe and sun-free: why fake tan is the GOAT.

Why are we such fake tan fangirls? It’s simple. Sun-free, customisable and convenient, self-tanning is the safer way to get a gorgeous glow. Tanning is a sign that your skin’s taken a beating from UV radiation. And while some skin tones have more natural protection against UV, it’s a myth that it’s safe to tan if you don’t get burned. 

So how can you achieve that bronzed goddess aesthetic without damaging your skin? With fake tan, of course! 

When the reviews say ‘best tan ever’, you know it’s one of the best fake tans around. In addition to delivering a flawless tan every time, Coco & Eve’s Sunny Honey Bali Bronzing Foam is infused with their Cellushape tech, which hydrates and firms the skin, as well as providing anti-ageing and anti-cellulite benefits. Sounds a whole lot better than sun damage, right? 

Tanning doesn’t have to be a laborious process, either. Speedy express tans like Bondi Sands Aero 1 Hour Express Tan do the job in just (you guessed it) an hour. Just spray, sit for 60 and enjoy a sun-kissed glow. 

Just remember that self-tan doesn’t protect you from the sun (meaning you can still burn with fake tan on), so be sure to apply SPF no matter your plans. 

How to fake tan like a pro: the tools you need to know about. 

No one likes a streaky tan. To ensure a flawless glow, you need to know how to apply fake tan properly. Unfortunately, you can’t just rub it into your skin and hope for the best – there’s a touch of finesse and prep that goes into it. 

Here are our top tips for how to fake tan like a pro:


Exfoliating is one of the most important steps when self-tanning, so make sure you exfoliate 24 hours before to remove any dead skin cells. An exfoliating mitt like the Bondi Sands Dual Action Exfoliating Mitt will do the trick nicely. 


Fake tan loves to cling to dry skin, so moisturising in the lead-up to and just before you apply fake tan ensures a smooth, streak-free tan. Be sure to let your moisturiser dry for 2 to 3 hours before applying your tan.

Use the right tools.

You don’t want orange hands, so using an applicator tool is a must. Not only does it keep you clean, but it also ensures a stunningly even application. We love the luscious velvet Coco & Eve Applicator Mitt (so smooth, so luxe). 

Let your tan dry.

The last thing you want is fake tan on your clothes or sheets, so it’s important to give your tan the time it needs to dry. Alternatively, if you’re in a hurry, a drying powder like ModelCo Self-Tan Drying Powder has your back, instantly mattifying and setting your tan (without drying out your skin, DW).

Keep it maintained!

You’ve done all this work, so you need that tan to last! The secret to maintaining your tan is moisturiser and a gradual tan. A gradual tanning product like Minetan EOD Tan Milk will keep your skin soft and hydrated – and help your tan stay bronzer for longer. 

Get your mitts on it: the best fake tan products for buildable bronze.

Face tanning drops are having their moment in the sun. Featured in more GRWM vids than we can count, these bronzed drops give you a tanned face base that ensures a cohesive full-body glow. And the best part? Most (like Bali Body’s Face Tan Serum) are mixed in with skincare ingredients that hydrate and care for your skin

Pale face + tan body = not it. Designed to mix in with your face creams, Coco & Eve’s Sunny Honey Bali Bronzing Face Drops provide a buildable, even and glowy facial tan that never misses. 

Another shout-out for our girlie gradual tan! Gradual tans top the game in tan maintenance and natural-looking tans. ESPA’s Pro-Glow Gradual Tan Body Cream is one of our favourites with its lightweight formula that glides over the skin for a streak-free, sticky-free, buildable sun-kissed glow.

You’re so golden. 

Sun-kissed with no sunburn, self-tanning is a great and safer way to get a summer glow this season. From express tans to slow and steady gradual ones, Afterpay has you covered so you can safely slay your summer tan.  

Bonus tanning tip: if you don’t want to self-tan and need a little help, Afterpay is available at a heap of spray tanning salons around the country.  

Go forth and glow.

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