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celebrity skin-finishing expert Nichola Joss helps us fix our mistakes for strapless-dress season
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How to fix tan lines, like Carolyn Murphy had to after this Tom Ford eyewear campaign with actor Nicholas Hoult

How to fix tan lines, like Carolyn Murphy had to after this Tom Ford eyewear campaign with actor Nicholas Hoult

It's strapless wedding-gown/bridesmaid-dress season. What are you going to about those tan lines on your shoulders and chest? According to St. Tropez celebrity skin-finishing expert Nichola Joss, it's a little tricky to correct yourself, but you can fix tan lines with self-tanner, absolutely.

how to fix tan lines with self-tanner

1) If you can, give yourself at least two weeks to fix tan lines. You'll need a minimum of a week; an extra week allows you a cushion in case something goes wobbly and you need to get help from an expert. You might even want to practice first with a wash-off body bronzer to build your confidence.

2) Prep skin as you normally would before a self-tanning session. Exfoliate using a body mitt or oil-free exfoliant. (Makeup pro Carmindy's favourite exfoliant is white sugar -- it's inexpensive, it melts in the shower before you can over-scrub, and won't make your tub oily.)

3) Use a small paint or foundation brush and gradual self-tanner such as St. Tropez Everyday Gradual Tan for Body ($38 at and $30 at to colour inside the lines -- don't overlap the edges, says Joss, who has bronzed a host of Hollywood types, including Gwyneth Paltrow and Hugh Jackman (get the details and tips here). You'll need help to fix tan lines on your back; enlist the aid of a steady-handed friend who can come over every day for a week (see next point).

4) Over the course of a week, build up the colour daily, bit by bit. You need as close as colour match as possible to fix tan lines. Joss says that taking your time with a gradual formula is essential so you don't go too dark too fast, and thus create another problem.

5) Once you've got a colour match, use a full-strength self-tanner everywhere to ensure an all-over even colour.

Would a video tutorial on fixing tan lines help? Click here for a how fix tan lines demo with skin-finishing expert Sophie Evans!

For suggestions on which self-tanners to try, click here for our body-bronzing picks this season.

Is there a strapless dress in your summer future? Have you ever fixed tan lines with self-tanner? Or would you prefer Nicholas Hoult as camouflage, too?

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Images: Tom Ford eyewear campaign, 2010. St. Tropez face and body self-tanners and accessories are available at