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Which fake tan is right for your skin type?

Which fake tan is right for your skin type?

Which one are you?


OK before we take a deep dive into everything fake tan fabulous, we thought it worth mentioning – in our minds fake tan means spray tanning too….


When we choose a foundation we know it’s really not a level playing field. There’s a lot to take into consideration. The world of fake tan presents similar issues, not all things are the same. So when you soldier into fake/spray tanning territory it is crucial that you start with a good understanding of your skin. In the same way that foundations can really vary, selecting the right fake tan is dependent on your skin tone – are you warm or a cool? Pink or yellow? It’s worth finding out, because just like finding a foundation to match, there is a little bit of science behind good old fake tan.


The sun IS NOT your friend.


One way of figuring out if you have a cool tone is to think about how your skin used to behave in the sun. Those of us with a red-pink complexion tend to turn burn rather than bronze and fall into the “cool” AKA red or pink-based tone. Some of us at After Tan Co have a cool tone so we understand the pain involved with this reality. Other pale skin beauties that share our cool (or not so cool) skin tone include Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried and Nichole Kidman.



The sun IS your friend but you sensibly no longer sunbake…


Now, if you are lucky enough have an olive complexion and tend to turn a beautiful bronze/brown in the sun (rather than burn to a crisp like some of us…) then you are a “warm” tone, AKA yellow-based tone. If you can see your skin being similar to that of Jessica Biel, Megan Gale and Nadia Bartel, then this is you.



So where does fake tan come into this?


Your natural skin tone will affect the way a sunless tan develops on your skin. Here comes the most important piece of information you may learn today. Are you ready? Spray tans come in two different base colours. We know. Exciting stuff but totally necessary.


A spray tan will either be GREEN or VIOLET based and your best match will depend on whether you have a cool or a warm skin tone.


Do we hear you ask why?


Well, a long time ago some very clever artists worked out this magical thing called “complimentary colours”. Basically, they determined that when you view a colour wheel the complimentary colours are those that are directly opposite on the wheel. The fake tanning gods stepped in, took one look at this wheel, and sorted out all of our fake tanning dilemmas.


Get the perfect tan for your skin type.


Red, is directly opposite green and yellow is directly opposite purple. So, what this means is that if you’re a cool or red/pink-based skin tone you should be going for a green based fake tan, as green is the complimentary colour.


Warm or yellow-based skin tone you should be going for a violet based fake tan as this is the complimentary colour to yellow.


How does this even work?


Well a green-base works to counteract any pink hue your skin will throw and will leave you with a natural looking tan. Green-based solutions are seen to be the traditional ‘Aussie’ tan, and tend to give you a deep bronze chocolate colour. A violet-base, however, will counteract any yellow hue you may have and will give you a depth of colour that replicates the exotic European sun.


By following this simple skin tone rule you will get the best possible tan at your next salon visit or from your at home fake tan application!


But we all know the tan plan doesn’t stop here. Make sure you bring your After Tan Co Bamboo Maxi Dress to slip into post fake tan application. Save yourself the hassle of having to change your bedding after one night of tanning and grab After Tan Co Bamboo Sheet & Pillow Protectors.


Oh, and a little parting hint for those of you who can’t decide whether you have cool or warm toned skin: this probably means you are a neutral tone, in which case congratulations, you can pull off pretty much anything.


Happy tanning!

  1. Luc April 9, 2020 at 7:16 pm - Reply

    How do I know if a ten is a green or violet undertone?

    • After Tan Co May 31, 2021 at 1:38 pm - Reply

      Most good (professional grade) tanning products do specify the colour base on the tin, our favourite brands like Le Tan offer self tanners in a variety of colour bases including green, violet and ash.

  2. Cedar May 30, 2021 at 10:01 am - Reply

    I’m a cool under-toned olive. I have air olive skin with blue undertones. (My ethnicity is a weird mix of mediterranean, celtic, and indigenous northeastern American). Lol. Finding foundation is freaking hell. They used to make some cream foundation called smart shade or something. First time in my life I could wear foundation that didn’t turn me pink or orange. Ten years ago. I think it was discontinued. But for tans, where does that leave me? I’m never sure. I need to neutralize pink tones because I look like a clown. Every tanning cream looks like I rubbed orange dirt on my skin…. :/

    • After Tan Co May 31, 2021 at 1:34 pm - Reply

      Ahh finding the right shade of tan can definitely be tricky if you have a unique skin tone. Have you tried using a gradual tanner? Instead turning your skin a harsh shade of orange in one go, gradual tan products add a subtle layer of colour and can be built up over time with consistent use to create a more natural looking tan. Big bonus is – if it doesn’t deliver your desired result, the negative effects will be significantly less noticeable!

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