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tan commandments


With over 16 years in the tanning-business James Read has had some extremely high profile clients. We're talking from stunning supermodels like Naomi Campbell and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, to household names like Lady Gaga and Mariah Carey, to fabulous singers like Ellie Goulding and Rita Ora. 

So yeah, the man definitely knows what he's doing. While his clientele sounds like a girls night we can only dream about, their tanning routine is very much achievable for us mere mortals. 

Behold the new James Read Tanning Collection. If you're tired of the streaks, the sweating and the waiting around to dry than this new water based collection is for you. Because it's more tan just tan, it's skin care. 

AND it's translucent, so kiss the days of orange, biscuit-y smelling bed sheets goodbye. 


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“It’s all about striped back tanning. We were the first brand incorporate skin care and tanning," Read says chatting to SHEmazing. “It’s a lifestyle tan it’s much more about products that fit with your lifestyle. You can just spray it on and go out instead of waiting around for it to dry. People want quick and easy." 

But just don't take our word for it, the gorgeous Rosie Huntington-Whiteley swears by Read's H2O Tan Mist. 

“Rosie Huntington-Whitely keeps it in her fridge in LA and takes it out every time she wants a pick-me-up. 

“It hydrates, it moisturises and tans you. The great thing is you can pop it in a bag, you can do it on a flight, anywhere, like Rosie does." 

Jetting to LA to be central to Oscar red carpet prep is just all in a day's work for Read. To say he's causal about holding some of the world's most seen tans in his hands is an understatement. 


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“It’s always nice to get a message saying ‘oh so-and-so uses it’ the products.

“I worked with a lot of celebrities in the beginning and it’s so nice to see them grow up. You kind of grow up with people you work with, it’s like anything really. 

“It’s so nice to meet them again and have a catch up.”

Working with all these big names he must have some funny stories? 

"I've had quite a few, dear," he laughs. "But none I can say on tape." 

Thanks to Read's innovative influence, we can most definitely be expecting a boom in water-based tans in the coming year. 

“I’ll read something and  I’ll research things. I’ll look at what’s happening in Korea and China in the world of skin and what’s big in the world of beauty and turn that into tanning.  I try to step outside the box."

It's all about the natural glow. 

“It’s more about someone complimenting your skin than having an overly dark tan," he explains. "It's all about au natural" 

It's not just the world of tanning that Read is noticing a change in, but in the beauty industry as a whole. 


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“The way women want to be seen is changing as well. Tanning is for everyone, beauty is for everyone, it doesn't matter who you are or what shape for size or colour you are with the proper beauty products everyone can look good.

"I think it’s that confidence I think people are much more about confidence and how they look and feel something now. That inner confidence. If you look good on the outside you feel good on the inside."

Keep going to read Read's step-by-step guide to going from tan virgin to golden goddess. 

Starting out: 

“Go for a gradual tan such as the H20 Tan Mist for the face because you just want it to control it so you just have a little bit of coverage.

"The Sleep Mask is perfect for tan virgins. It's super eay to use, just put it on before you go to bed and it works overnight. If you want it darker than just do it again the next night. 

“Wash off tan is also good for beginners. You can get a perception of how the tan works. You put it on have a little look, see if it looks good and wash it off once you’re happy.

"Take the Coconut Water Tan Mist; you just mist it onto the skin. It doesn't transfer onto your clothes or on your bedding. It dries instantly and you get the most beautiful colour, it just fits naturally with your skin tone.

“The great thing about this coconut spray is that anyone can use it. It fades like a normal and it lasts for ages, like seven to eight days."

Colour control: 

"Overtanning is the worst mistake you can make. Putting too much tan on.

"Also hands and feet. People always put product direct on those areas and it goes too dark. With a tanning mitt put the leftover product from the arms onto the hands and the leftover product from the legs onto the feet and ankles. Keep it quiet natural.

"Avoid washing your hands afterwards as well and with the top lip a good trick is always drink with a straw after you’ve tanned so you don’t get that white topped lip.

"If the tan gets too dark go into a steam room in a gym and it reduces how dark the tan is."

Hard to reach bits: 

"Good tip if you’re doing the back it is to get a wooden spoon and elastic band and tie the tanning glove with the elastic band. Or a mini-paint roller."


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For the photo-finish: 

“If you’ve just got your tan done say for a wedding and you’re not quite sure how dark you want to go take a tan selfie with the flash on and that will then let you see how dark your tan is for real so it gives you more of a perception of how your tan is."

Prepping for the pros: 

“Always exfoliate 24 hours before a spray-tan. And always make sure you’ve left your skin for like three to four days before you tan. You want your skin to be fresh like a canvas. You don’t want to keep building up your tan. Don't go for another tan three or four days later when you still hae the other tan on.

"Always exfoliate three to four days after you tan and moisturise daily to make the tan last longer let it fade evenly. Finally, always make sure you have no oil on the skin before you get a spray tan." 

Check out the James Read Tan Collection at Brown Thomas or online. 



Tan is a best friend of many Irish ladies; according to a survey conducted by Hotels.com, almost a quarter of us lovely girls wear it.

However, not everyone gets it right. In fact, some people can get it seriously – SERIOUSLY – wrong. So, to avoid any tan mistakes, make sure you follow our Tan Commandments.

Take off old tan
Please, whatever you do, don’t apply fresh tan to old tan that has been there for a week. Get if off first.

If you have to shave your legs, make sure you do it the night before otherwise the tan will end up looking like you have a million freckles on your legs.

This is the key to a natural look. Exfoliate your elbows, knees and any other areas where you are prone to dry patches, like the tops of your arms.

If you have particularly dry skin you need to moisturise before you apply the lotion. But, and this is a big but, don’t put on the tan until all the moisturiser has been absorbed.

Use a mitt
Make sure you use a mitt. Not only are brown hands never a good look, but it makes your tan go on a lot smoother.

Use small amounts
Only put a small amount of the product on the mitt. The last thing you want is to go overboard on the lotion and end up having to spend ages spreading it all over you.

Work up
Start at your legs and work your way up to your arms and neck.

Don’t rub
Don’t rub the tan into your body. Instead use big circular movements.

Places to avoid
Don’t apply the tan directly to your knees or elbows. Simply sweep over lightly with the mitt otherwise it will come out too dark there.

Make sure you blend, especially at your ankles, wrists and toes.

Moisturise after
After it has developed, apply moisturiser daily to keep your darker colour looking natural.

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