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Fashion and Beauty, Beauty

Effortless Sunless Tanning: Exclusive Advice from Amanda Harrington

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Amanda Harrington originally trained in fine art before moving into body painting (“back in the 90s [it] was where you wanted to be”). She worked on films like Troy and Tomb Raider as well as various music videos for stars including Robbie Williams. Her father’s diagnosis of skin cancer prompted a change in direction, creating her eponymous range of sunless tanning products and earning her the reputation as ‘the Michelangelo of tanning’. “I know how to paint the body, I know how to contour it: I know how to make it look amazing”.

Amanda has worked her magic on a dazzling range of high-profile women, including Jennifer Aniston, Gigi Hadid, Dua Lipa, Kate Moss, Sienna Miller and Cara Delevingne. Her ‘second skin look’ is achieved through sheer artistry and an instinct for how and where to use colour to lift and define.

She is also founder of InParlour; industry-leading beauty provided by some of the best beauticians in the business, who visit clients by arrangement across London and Oxfordshire. Treatments include vitamin injections, hair styling, cut and colouring, event make-up, facials, massage, Botox and nail care, as well as Amanda’s Bespoke Body Contouring either with Amanda or one of her highly trained therapists.

If your efforts at self-tanning always end up a little patchy or you struggle to achieve a natural-looking glow, read on for Amanda’s expert advice.

What tips can you suggest for home-tanning?

For a beginner at home, I would say start with double dipping. I know it sounds a bit dodgy, but it means do two layers back-to-back of a really good gradual tan [allow to dry between applications]. Gradual tan is not fool-proof; it will catch on elbows – especially if you're doing double layers – so the one thing you have to do is scrub. I don't mean harsh, scratchy scrubs, opt for something fine to rid of your dead skin and then add hydrant so that no DHA – no tan – will cling to your dry bits. Use a plain moisturiser, which will act as a really lovely hydrant to the body.

“You cannot ever do a tan last minute; treat it as you do your face. Exfoliate, and then prime with a serum and then you add your cream. Think of the hydrant as the primer.”

What about tanning drops?

So, tanning drops are interesting, they because they're normally colourless and they're usually stronger than you think they're going to be. What I would say is make sure that they're not too red on the skin. I can see if someone's really overloaded on drops because it comes up quite warm.

“Look at the instructions and if it says put three drops in put two – always go less, because everyone's skin takes it differently.”

I'm always so overly cautious with tan, I'd rather build gradually. Use it in a cream format and you can even use a drop in a body lotion and put it all over the body for a stronger gradual tan.

How do you use sunless tanning products to add contour?

It’s really simple to do at home. Put one layer of gradual tan on and then use a mitt to add a mousse over the top. They melt together to give a deeper colour. Then, take a body brush, add two pumps of the same mousse to the brush, and just shade your silhouette.

“Follow the outline of the body with the brush, so glide inside the arm, outside the arm, inside the leg and outside the leg, all the way down to the calf and then on the torso.”

Shade on the sides, and then definitely underneath the tummy area where we all want to be extra brown. It cinches in the waist, and it jolly well works.

The other really attractive tip is to give a sharp top line. If your shoulders are a little rounded you can sharpen them up by circling with the mousse over the shoulders, and they’ll automatically look more angular and lifted. It's amazing and it's mimicking a natural tan.

For the face, I would advise a mist which you can spritz it on to a face brush and use everywhere you would a bronzer. 

What’s the best way to make your tan last and avoid the crocodile effect?

Often people don't maintain their tan. To maintain and prolong colour, top up that gradual tan all over on day three, day five, day seven and day nine. Don't go past day nine because by then you need to start again.

“If you're topping up, again use a hydrant, the colour should fade out rather than goes patchy.”

Use a really good exfoliator for the face because the other thing to mention is your colour will fade from the face. If your face always goes white it's because it's an extremity, and you're putting retinols or acids on it. It’s really good to have a face mist that you can literally just quickly top up day after day.

Finally, where can readers come if they want the Amanda Harrington tan?

They can come to Bamford Wellness Spa at Daylesford or book in with me or one of my team at or @inparlour on Instagram.

Products to Try at Home

New in store, Aldi Gradual Tan Body Butter.

£3.99 Aldi stores

Tanning drops with added hydrators.


Turbo tanning mousse in a sweet-smelling, oil-free formula.


The perennially popular Summer Body by Garnier.


Customisable drops with Vitamin C.


Promising streak-free application and gradual fade for a range of skin tones.


Don’t Forget!

A brilliant budget option for exfoliation.


Superlative Regenerating Cleanser by Tata Harper for daily use to buff and polish.


Brushes to blend body and face.

£9.99 each


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