James Harknett's Safe Self-Tanning Tips For Mums + Mums-To-Be

Photo by Shifaaz Shamoon

Photo by Shifaaz Shamoon

Whether you’re jetting off for some autumn sun or simply missing your golden glow, celebrity tanning expert James Harknett  (aka the Tom Ford of spray tanning) is here to help with his exclusive top tips on achieving a safe, flawless tan in pregnancy and beyond.

‘It’s hard to believe I’ve been in the tanning industry for nearly 20 years. In that time I’ve learnt so much about skin, make up, health and fitness and most importantly safe tanning.

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Self tanning is now the only safe way to achieve a natural glow. With more and more cancer scares and education about the dangers of UV rays, more and more of us are choosing the faux glow. 

A question that comes up time and time to me from all my clients is ‘can I still fake it whilst pregnant?’

Yes you can but like all treatments it’s best to wait until after the first trimester. During this times hormones are changing and this can effect the PH balance of the skin. In some cases the tan has been known not to cling as evenly, so wait 3 months and start your tanning again.

So could it cause harm to me or my child?

Absolutely not. Remember your self tan is like a moisturiser that’s dying your dead skin. DHA based tanning product last naturally react with the amino acids in the surface of the epidermis, meaning no product is seeping into the skin or bloodstream. The tanning agent derived from a sugar fructose plant and has never been associated or proven to cause any problems. Any reports are completely unfounded

Can I get a spray tan in the first trimester?

Yes you still could but a tanning therapist will advise against it. Why because your body is going through a lot of changes. Hormones are changing and in my experience some mums to be have found the tan did not settle evenly and it was a little patchy on hands. So wait 3 months and then start to feel the glow once more.

Will a tan make me look thinner?

Absolutely yes and will give body confidence. Shaded, glowing skin creates a thiner silhouette. Anyone remember that Famous Demi Moore cover from Vanity Fair ?

Will a tan hide pigmentation on the face?

Not always! your tan is not a make up. It’s working with the skins natural colouring and texture so be aware that your self tanner could grab to darker areas rather than disguise it. A thin layer of your daily moisturiser or night cream first is the best option mixed with a small amount of your desired shade

Can I contour while pregnant and will tan dry me out?

Many mummies to be can feel conscious of their changing shape during pregnancy. In this case, I recommend subtle contouring. “The idea is not to hide the bump, but to accentuate the limbs and frame your assets with a natural golden tan. Fake Bake’s Flawless Coconut Tanning Serum is the perfect at home tanner for pregnant women, as sometimes an expecting mum’s skin can be dry, sensitive and itchy. The soothing coconut oil within the serum is calming and easy to apply.”

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What prep do I need?

As with all tanning, planning ahead is must. Use a gentle scrub the morning or night before your tanning application. This will smooth out the skin and remove the remnants of oils, body lotion, fragrance and deodorant. The clearer the skin the more even and natural tour tan will look.

I recommend tanning in front of the bathroom mirror or a cool well lit bedroom.

Before applying your tanning product ensure the tan doesn’t grab to harder skin patches like elbows and ankles by gently smearing a little moisturiser. Also a small dab around the middle of the knees. Opt for a lightweight moisturiser. Aveno Daily moisturiser is ideal.

For the tanning application use a foam tanning mitt, fake bakes coconut serum glides fast and smoothly across the limbs with this. From the top of the shoulder blades and down the arms, the idea is to disperse less product towards the wrist area. Use this motion on the inner arm then mix a little moisturiser with the serum across the hands.

Work in sections around the body applying across the chest and gently over and around the baby bump. If getting down to the legs is a bit of a struggle, a spray formula maybe an easier option. Fake Bake Airbrush has a 360 degree upside down spraying nozzle that mists effortlessly down and around the limbs. My top tip is place a dark towel down in the bathroom and barrier the feet with a generous amount of moisturiser to avoid over doing the feet.

Tanning the back is where most of us get flustered! This is where hubby can come in useful by applying for you.

For the ultimate tan then I recommend a professional spray tan. Do your research and google a reputable salon or spa. A good tanning therapist is used to tanning mums to be and will be able to define and leave you feeling Body confident.’

James Harknett at W Hotel, from £45