One of my pet peeves is poor tanning. Stained tanning, the colour being off with the tanning of the rest of the line up, the colour being too orange or even green.... I've seen it all. Sometimes there is nothing you can do about it, but most of the time the problems can easily be prevented as long as you prep and prime your skin.
Prep your skin.
It all starts with good preparation. Make sure to exfoliate your skin with an oil free exfoliator. I recommend Get Buffed, this is the pre tan body scrub from Pro Tan and it does not effect the colour in a negative way. It removes dead skin cells and balances the PH level of the skin. An unbalanced PH level is a common cause for colour deviation.
Use an exfoliating wash glove daily when you shower and start using Get Buffed 3x a week from 3 weeks out. Use Get buffed every time you shower from 1 week out. Only use soap-, parfum- and oil free body wash from 3 weeks out.
Waxing or shaving.
When it comes to hair removal, you can either shave, use a hair removal cream or wax. Take in consideration that shaving can cause little cuts or a rash. That's why my advice is to wax, at least for the 'bikini part'. Start with a Brazilian wax 13 weeks prior to the competition and repeat every 4 weeks. Your last wax session is 1 week prior to your competition. I prefer to use a hair removal cream for any fuzz on the lower back and on the buttocks. Pro Tan has a cream, it's called Hair Away and it does not impact the result of the colour. Do not shave in the last 3 days before your competition, the damaged skin after shaving will result in darker spots and lines in the tanning or may cause a rash in your bikini area.
Prime your skin.
What really makes a difference in the result is a good base coat. At the end of a prep your skin will be very dry and your body will even show signs of dehydration. This causes the skin to absorb the tanning, leaving an uneven colour. Pro Tan competition tanning basically consists of two steps. The base coat being step one. Pro Tan Overnight Competition Base Coat is the primer of the colour. It'll result in a more even and deeper colour. Apply Overnight 1 or 2 times* the evening before the competition and let it stay on for at least 8 hours. In the morning you take a shower and rinse it off with lukewarm water (no use of body wash). Gently dry your skin using a towel to pat dry your skin. (Do not rub!). Your skin is now ready for the competition colour or spray tan.
*(If you a really pale or have a very light skin tone you can appy it 3 times)
Spray Tan or DIY.
I prefer applying the tanning with the self tanning Pro Tan Instant Competition Colour top coat (formerly known by the name "Bikini Bronze". It's a mousse that you apply with a glove. I think the colour turns out better almost every time comparing to a spray tan (even if it's a Pro Tan spray tan). The other benefit is that you don't have to depend on a time slot. Especially when you've also booked your hair and make up, you often have to challenge very narrow time slots or even overlapping time slots. Applying the tanning yourself keeps you in control of your time schedule. If you use DIY tanning, ask someone to apply it for you, for example your coach, a friend, a teammate or your boyfriend. You can fix any stain in your tanning by applying a little bit of mousse on the glove and gently massage the colour onto the skin.
!! Never use a deodorant or perfume on your tanning. If you need an antiperspirant, apply some baby powder in your armpits.
A shiny finishing touch.
To create more definition and to give your tanning a glowy finish, apply Show Shine. Gently tap the oil onto the skin (use a latex glove!). Apply Show Shine 15 minutes before you go on stage. Warning! As a woman do not use Show Shine on your chest/breast, it will make you look like an oil wrestler and that's not what you're aiming for ;)
!! Are you traveling with carry on luggage only, then you can not travel with the full size bottles. Purchase the single show kit to prevent airport security confiscate your tanning items!!