Self-tanning as self-care: our guide to using fake tan in winter

Got a beauty question? MECCA has the answer. From the very basics of makeup to advanced skincare and all your specific concerns, we’re here to share expert knowledge, dispel the myths and help you look – and feel! – your absolute best.

There’s something about having a gorgeous glow all over your skin (and the self-care ritual of applying self-tan) that inspires an inner warmth and sense of contentment — which is exactly what we need right now. As Isle of Paradise founder (and Instagram dance sensation) Jules Von Hep calls it, it’s a “cloak of confidence”: “I love the confidence that tanning gives me — it makes me feel like me when I look in the mirror,” he says.

But in winter the change in environmental conditions (both outside and inside with artificial heating) has a noticeable impact on your skin, which in turn impacts the result of your usual self-tanning methods. We’ve enlisted the help of some incredible MECCA team members (as well as getting inside knowledge from brand founders) to teach us the best ways to self-tan through winter.


Dry patches on both the face and body are a deterrent when it comes to fake tan, as the product can react with them, resulting in an uneven finish. Luckily, the MECCA community has some tips to keep your skin hydrated for an even tan.

For face, store host and tanning expert Ben from MECCA MAXIMA recommends Isle of Paradise’s hyaluronic acid, glycerine and squalane-infused Self-Tanning Oil Mist, which can be added in to your winter skincare routine for a gradual colour that boosts your skin’s moisture levels.

“You could also try adding tanning drops into a hydrating serum for extra hydration,” says Ben. “When followed by a moisturiser, your skin will be completely nourished – no dry patches here!”

He also recommends trying the Luna Bronze Glow Gradual Tanning Moisturiser: “It’s is a super-hydrating t wo-in-one that slowly adds colour every day whilst still feeling like a nourishing body moisturiser – plus, it never streaks.”


Von Hep recommends exfoliating 24 hours before applying your tan with the Over It Magic Self-Tan Eraser, which uses glycolic acid to “create a beautiful skin surface before the tan is applied.”

For those that prefer a physical exfoliant, the Exfoliating Mitt from Spray Aus works with any hydrating body wash to remove flaky dry patches quickly.

Keep it light

During the dead of winter, some skin tones are lighter than they would be normally. In that case, it's important to have a light touch with the self-tan, building up gradually and avoiding dramatic jumps in colour.

Either the Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Drops and Mecca Cosmetica Self-Tan Drops, which are ideal for moderating your faux tan, as you can directly control the depth of colour with how many drops you mix into your face or body products.

Another great buildable option is The Tan by Elle Effect, a local favourite (developed by everyone’s faux-tan inspiration, Elle Ferguson) that can go from lightly sun-kissed to bronzed beach goddess.

Jemma from MECCA HQ recommends this one for all year round, saying, “It’s super customisable so you can go lighter than you normally would without having to change products.”

A sensory experience

For so many of us, we want a fake tan product that makes us feel good in every way and a huge part of this is the way that it smells. If your self-care ritual generally involves a scented candle (and a bottle of wine), a funky fake tan smell ruins the vibe! Fortunately, that’s no longer price you must pay to bronze. Fortunately, that’s no longer price you must pay to bronze. our range of self-tanning products are formulated with this exact thought in mind.

Isle of Paradise’s Self-Tanning Water formulas smell “like eucalyptus, and cucumber and peppermint” says Von Hep, adding, “If you’re [tanning] naked, you want to feel refreshed.”

For a delicate scent as part of a self-care moment, MECCA MAXIMA’s Ben loves Elle Effect The Tan, saying, “It’s the most perfect tan for winter because it smells like roses, so when you’re cuddling up it smells like you’re wearing a bougie fragrance!”

Have pressing winter self-tanning (or any other beauty-related) questions? MECCA has the answers! Book your (complimentary) 15-minute session with an in-store expert.


viewing of products