Between The Sheets

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Self Tanning 101: Get the best glow & keep fake tan off your sheets

We all know the sun’s UV rays and tanning beds can be bad for us but who doesn’t love a little summer glow? Forget baking under artificial lights or lying in the sun, today’s savvy beauties are using fake tan to protect their skin and get that fresh from the beach year-round summer glow.


Perfecting your summer glow


Fake tanning is a skill that can take time to perfect. For best results, start with a pre-tan prep. This will help you achieve the most natural fake tan. Celebrity tanner James Read suggests you exfoliate and wax 24 hours beforehand and avoid facials and massages 48 hours before you tan. Use wipes to remove old tan not always visible to the naked eye.

Good prepping also avoids self-tanning fails such as blotchy legs, streaky arms and tell-tale orange palms. Moisturise dry areas such as hands, knees, elbows and feet to stop fake tan clinging to dry body areas. Lightly moisturising a dry face and spots will also help you achieve an even finish.

Self-tanning done badly can be less forgiving on those with light skin tones. As such, it can be a good idea to go for a gradual self-tan lotion so you can monitor the level of colour and build your tan up over time. Other fake tan tips for pale skin include buying a self-tan shade to suit your skin tone – it’s less likely to scream ‘it’s fake’!

As always, the best way to apply fake tan is to follow the advice of tanning experts. See James Read’s foolproof self-tanning tips below.


The best 10 self tanning products for a natural looking tan


The Tielle Love Luxury team love a year-round summer glow, so we’ve rounded up the best fake tan and self-tanning products for 2019.  Remember to use a good pre-tan exfoliator and follow our James Read prepping advice below first.


1. James Read H20 Tan Mist


A lightweight, skin-friendly formula that builds a natural radiance and glow day by day. The transparent formulation means no transfer onto clothes or sheets

2. Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Natural Bronze

A creamy tanning moisturiser for a natural-looking subtle tan

3. L’Oreal Sublime Bronze Overnight Elixir

An overnight tanner to help you wake up and glow for up to two weeks

4. Rimmel SunShimmer Self Tan Mousse

A lightweight velvety mousse for streak-free results

5. Bondi Sands Liquid Gold Self Tanning Dry Oil

A long lasting, gradual tanning formula for a golden glow

6. Tanologist Self-Tan Water Gradual

A vitamin-infused water for a gradual, flawless tan that won’t transfer onto clothes or sheets

7. James Read Sleep Mask Tan Face

One of the best self-tanners for a sun-kissed face and neck. The colourless formula protects your clothing and bed linen.

8. Cocoa Brown 1 Hour Tan Dark Mousse

A quick drying tan for those who love a really intense colour

9. Garnier Summer Body Gradual Tan Moisturiser

An intensely moisturising lotion that gradually builds a natural looking tan

10. Dove DermaSpa Summer Revived

A soft, creamy body lotion that deepens in colour the more you use it

Preparing your skin for fake tan


Every great looking fake tan starts with a pre-tan prep. Creating the perfect base for you tan will help you avoid the tell-tale signs of tanning such as blotchy legs and streaky arms. Follow these Dos and Don’ts from celebrity tanner, James Read, to achieve the best fake tan results.


  • Exfoliate and wax 24 hours before you tan
  • Use wipes to remove old tan not visible to the naked eye
  • Moisturise dry areas such as hands, knees, elbows and feet
  • Lightly moisturise a dry face and spots
  • Rub an ice cube over your face to seal your pores, then pat dry with a tissue


  • Have a massage or facial 48 hours before you tan


Making your tan last for longer


The best tanning products make it easy to get a convincing faux glow. To glow for longer, follow these after tan care tips:

  • Moisturise daily to prolong your tan and extend its life
  • Exfoliate after 3/4 days to help your tan fade more evenly
  • Use an electric shaver when shaving your legs after tanning. This will remove the top layer of your hair and not your self tan.

Once you’ve achieved a sun-sational shade you’ll want it to last. How quickly your tan fades will largely depend on the type and quality of your tanning product and how well you care for your skin. Tanning expert James Read shares this advice on how to prolong fake tan.

Your lifestyle can also contribute to how quickly your tan fades. Swimming, lounging in a sauna or steam room and long, frequent baths or showers can make the glow go quicker. Avoid these or moisturise well afterwards to help lock-in your sun-kissed hue.


What if you get fake tan on your bed sheets or furniture?


Fake tan looks great on the skin, but less attractive on white bed linen, towels and clothes. When tanning in the bathroom avoid porous surfaces such as wooden floors and tiles with grout, and move the bath matt away. Wipe off any tan that sneaks onto surfaces and tackle tan stains on grout with a mix of one part bleach to four parts water.


How to remove fake tan stains


If you fake tan before bed and shower in the morning, you probably wake to orange-tinged sheets, unless you sleep on a large, dark coloured towel. Applying the tan earlier in the day will give the tan time to absorb and prevent it discolouring your linen. Some colourless self-tanners also prevent staining on clothing and bedding.


How to get fake tan out of clothes


Have a dressing gown at the ready and a towel for fake tanning days, such as the Tielle Chocolate Brown and Mocha towels used in 5* hotels and spas. 

But if the tan does stain, we recommend:

  • Wash your clothes in as hot a wash as the care label allows and use a pre-stain removal powder
  • For silk and wool, rub the stain with a warm solution of washing-up liquid, then wash your clothes as per the washing instructions.

How to get fake tan out of sheets


Fake tan can usually be removed from bedding. Try washing your cotton sheets in a 60 deg wash, or as hot a wash as the care label allows if the stain persists. Soak harder-to-shift stains on white cotton bedding in a pre-wash stain removal solution before washing as normal.

  • Wash cotton sheets in a 60 deg wash
  • Wash stubborn stains in as hot a wash as the care label allows and use a pre-stain removal powder

Luxury bedlinen such as Tielle’s Hotel range is better suited to stain removal. Its high standards of durability, colour-fastness, shape and size retention ensure the linen stays looking and feeling good despite repeated washing at high temperatures.


Read our guide on how to wash bed linen  for advice on how to keep bedding white.