Bridal Style Tips, Featured

The Wedding Tan 2022

A few weeks ago we sat down with the spray tanning sensation James Harknett known as the Tom Ford of self tanning, he shared with us his key tips to achieve the perfect glowy, natural bridal tan that we are all looking for… ladies take notes!

If there’s ever a time that the palest complexion contemplated trying a self tanner – it’s for her wedding. Normally the first thought is “ I should try this out so there’s a contrast between my skin and dress!”

Skin tone

Many of us Brits have what’s known as a Fitzpatrick type 1 & 2 . A pallet that’s pale and interesting, and that can burn rapidly when exposed to the sun. This is why I recommend tanning trials for brides. It gives you the opportunity not only to test the colour, but see what day it looks its best on your skin.

I advise all brides to take a picture of their skin in daylight, with perhaps their shoulders, arms and back exposed for 3 days simultaneously. This allows you to gage the colour and decide what day you feel the tan looks its absolute best. 

The professional spray tan range from Fake Bake helps me as a tanning therapist come up with a tailor made tan for all skin tone. The original formula is perfect for fair skin tones that can burn easy in the sun or tend to go a little red.

The idea of the spray tan is to mimic a natural glow that your skin would get from a warm holiday or the summer. Sienna X have a new Olive based range. This is a must have for more olive to yellow undertones. Just one very gentle spray does the trick for the most authentic of finishes. 


Most brides decide that the second day after the spray tan is when it’s looks it’s best . In this time you have had around three cool showers on the tan, which ensures all guide colour has been washed away.

This gives peace of mind that nothing will rub onto the inside of the wedding dress. Also having a day or two of gentle cleansing settles the colour on the face.

As a tanner I gently dust the face for brides. This gives the bride an opportunity to wear minimal make up. It’s a great idea to have a make up trial a day or so after the tan and this really helps you gain confidence with the look you will have for the wedding.

Once the tan is on the skin it’s your job then to cherish it. This will allow longevity and a natural fade off, as if it were real.

So first avoid the bath and keep showering quick and cooler temperature than normal. Remember fake tan dyes our dead skin cells, so we need to keep them intact for the longest time possible. Hot water beating down on our skin will encourage it to wear away faster. 

Always gently dry the skin with a quick pat, then use your hair dryer on the cool setting. Once the skin is dry moisturise it generously twice a day. I adore Keihls Crème De Cor oil free moisturiser. It works wonders and leaves a sheen to the tan that looks beautiful in daylight reflecting the light onto the skin. 

With regards to prepping before the big day, it’s said time and time again to ensure your hair removal is done well in advance. Not only does this allow the pores to close but it gives time for the skin to renew. Tanning straight after waxing is a disaster, so wax a good 2/3 days before the tan. You can shave 24 hours before. 

Another tip is start to exfoliate the parts of the body where bra straps and sports bras dig in, and are tight on the body. Do this a good few weeks leading up to the wedding tan.

The reason is the skin gets compacted by the tightness of the fabrics against the body and can lead to the tan grabbing darker on bra strap lines and around the boobs leading up to the arm pit area. 

So on the day of your wedding tan have a gentle exfoliation, nothing too harsh – try Boots Extracts Mango body scrub. Rinse well and avoid any lotions, cream and make up. Wash deodorant off before application and stay cool and dry after the tan. 

If you follow these tips it’s super rare that anything can go wrong. However if you did have a darker patch or perhaps some tan got onto the palms or appeared heavy around the wrists – then fear not. Bali Body have tanning corrector and eraser gently lifts the colour and fades away in minutes.

The vegan friendly foam can be used on any part of the body to gently fade out tan mistakes, but it’s rare you will need to do this if you have trialed out the tan with your therapist.   

If you are keen self tanner and have your regime down to a fine art, then my advice is go for a colour that compliments your skin tone rather than something too dark. Ensure you  have removed any older self tan from the body first before the final wedding tan.

If you are new to self tanning and want to give it glow, then start with a tanner that contains a guide colour. A whipped mousse is always spot on and one to trust as you can see where it’s tanning which always instils confidence.

Another reason the wedding tan comes in handy is having that base colour on the start of your honeymoon. There’s not that desire to sit out and potentially damage the skin in the first few days, but there are a few obstacles along the way to be mindful of.

First of all chlorine is a killer on the tan, especially in the states where the content can be high. Chlorine strips the skin which will peel away the tan. The ocean seems much better but wear flip flops or sandals on the sand as this quickly rubs out colour on the feet. Keep up the moisturising daily and pack an insect replant.

If you get bitten and need to apply a cream, these creams eat away at the tan causing white patches around the bites. 

James has over 500 brides through his door each year, all of whom leave glowing. After a detailed consultation James tailors the exact colour to suit your skin tone.

To book in with the tanning sensation himself visit: