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Competition Tanning: Top Tips from the experts

Updated: Aug 9, 2021

Having the tanned look is essential to showing off your hard earned work on stage. It adds definition to your muscle tone and stops you looking anaemic under the lights. But do not rely on turning up on show day and expect to get the best looking tan. Like everything you have worked so hard for the tan deserves preparation, thought and time. You will need to pre-book your tan at least three months from show day, as it gets very busy and sometimes you will need a pre-tan before your show tan so please talk to a professional to ascertain your exact needs to prep correctly. I have asked expert tanner Caroline O'Leary to help me with this blog (find her contact details at the bottom of this blog). She has tanned more bods than I have had hot dinners, so naturally she was the lady to ask for advice. ****Please note***** This advice is specifically tailored towards the special competition spray tan, rather than any general advice on tanning or tan beds or tanning products outside the spray tan process*** Skin Regime - 1 Week out The better the condition of your skin the more flawless the final tan will look, it will also enable the tan to fade evenly after your show. Start your special skin regime a week out from your competition spray appointment by exfoliating and moisturising. On Monday and Wednesday make a thick paste of baking soda and a thick gel soap (such as Simple refreshing body wash) and gently wash your entire body. Then, using a good quality salt or sugar scrub exfoliate from head to toe using nylon exfoliation gloves or a nylon mesh cloth. Caroline recommends staying away from loofah's, loofah gloves pads and sponges and use a sugar scrub to shave rather than bar soaps. When exfoliating pay special attention to knees, elbows, hands, feet and heels where the skin is thickest and roughest. After exfoliation use a thick body butter to moisturise. On the day of your tan appointment do not use the baking soda mixture.....just moisturise and then paint your finger and toe nails with clear nail polish to prevent them staining in the tan process. Hair Removal You will need to get rid of unwanted hair.....if you shave make sure you shave the night before or a minimum of eight hours before you have your tan applied. Shaving and waxing opens up pores and pools of tan can accumulate if the skin does not have a decent resting time before tan application. If you are a regular waxer make sure you wax a minimum of 72 hours before tan application. If you are waxing for the first time do it 7-10 days before tan day so your skin can settle down. Tan Day Do not use perfume, make up, cologne or deodorant when you go have your tan, these products can raise the ph of your skin and cause the tan to go green. Make sure you have done any hair removal at least the night before your tan appointment. You will need to take with you loose clothing to ensure the tan dries as evenly as possible. Try to avoid anything that pulls over the head, has zippers or is elasticated. Use drawstring trousers over elasticated waists if you can and wear flip flops for even feet colour. At your appointment be sure to take any necessary coverings for your modesty (if you have any). Girls can be sprayed nude to allow for wearing different bikini's, men will not be sprayed nude so you will need to take something smaller than your posing trunks so you don't have any visible tan lines. Caroline says a black sock will do...yes! You read that right! A hair cap and sticky feet will be provided to avoid staining in these area's, barrier cream applied and then the spray tan will be applied. Expect two coats of tan, which can take about 40 minutes to apply and dry may feel a little sticky until the tan is completely dry. You will need to wear loose, over size clothing to sleep in, this will prevent any tan getting on your sheets and any hand marks during sleep. Please take a duvet cover to sleep in at the hotel so you do not incur any extra room charges for destroying their linens. Between your tan application and show day you will not be able to shower or shave, or wear deodorant, perfume or cologne. Show Day Do not shower or shave before your competition, it will ruin your tan. Do not use perfume, cologne or deodorant these products can raise the ph of your skin and cause the tan to go green. Drink through a straw. I have also heard that women pee through a cup to avoid splashback (that was a new one on me)......I have also been advised that you can use a pint milk carton to a similar end. Just cut off the bottom and pee through that end so it flows through the small end and to minimise drips and accidental splash. Pre-book your make up artist well in advance, they are always super busy on show day. If you do your own make up use colours that will compliment your tan (remember you will be a totally different skin shade to normal) and are strong enough to stand out on stage. Wear waterproof mascara! Bikini aftercare Although a dry tan has minimal rub off some colour will come off on your bikini. To minimize this make sure your tan is completely dry before you put the bikini on. For any area's where tan has rubbed off Caroline recommends that you wash normally (that is gentle handwash on the affected area's) and add lemon juice or a dash of washing up liquid. Baby wipes can also be useful for this, but remember to only use them on the inside...the outside sheen of the fabric and the crystal glue can be affected by washing the surface of the bikini. I will be writing a whole blog on bikini care...look out for it! Contact Caroline O'Leary: 07907207378

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