The golden rules for achieving perfect colour with self-tan are pretty basic…
* Exfoliate thoroughly beforehand to remove dirt and dead skin cells to which self-tan sticks, causing darker, dry-looking patchiness.
* Use only normal soap before application – bath and shower oils, gels or creams may contain ingredients that sit on the skin and impede absorption of the self-tan.
* Don't apply self-tan in a steamy bathroom – damp skin, even from perspiration, will mix with the tan and the result will be irregular and weak.
* Moisturise beforehand, but leave a few hours before application or the cream will form a barrier to the self-tan, again resulting in patchiness.
* Work in small sections, half a limb at a time; the front of the torso and then the back. And make sure all of the self-tan is thoroughly blended into the skin to avoid streaking of colour and obvious-looking 'joins'.
* Add a little moisturiser to extra-dry areas such as elbows and knees where the result could be darker.
* If you're not wearing gloves, wash your hands with soap after applying self-tan to individual sections of the body to prevent tell-tale tawny palms. And dry hands thoroughly before starting on the next section – damp hands will weaken the result.
* Apply again a few hours later for a darker result.
* Use a light moisturiser between applications – but not directly after, while the self-tan is developing – to prevent dry skin and patchiness. Thick body butters may contain oil that weakens the self-tan.
* Exfoliate thoroughly before starting all over again. Skin cells are constantly being renewed so leaving a couple of days between layers means you'll be applying on top of skin that's starting to shed from the original layer – resulting in patchiness.