Summer has come at last, which means skimpy skirts, bare arms and bikinis! Whether you’re sporting a flowing maxi in Ibiza, showing off lithe limbs in a Saturday night LBD, or donning a demure number at your best friend’s wedding, the ultimate finishing touch to your fabulous look is… fabulous skin. So we caught up with none other than tanner to the stars - yes we're talking Kate Moss and the likes - Jules Heptonstall, St Tropez's very own tanning guru, to find out his secret industry tips on absolutely everything you need to know about having the perfect summer tan. Read on for an instantly gorgeous glow…

What are this year’s tan trends? Are there any new shades to look out for?

Dark tanning is big this year; it’s all about a deep California glow, which is absolutely perfect as we've been seeing lots of neon and pastels this summer and tans sit against these perfectly. St Tropez has a new express tan that develops over 1-3 hours, depending on how dark you want to go. Once you’ve applied it the particles sink into your skin and you can wash them off and it keeps developing; just apply it with a mitt for an almost instant glow.

What is your favourite tan trend?

How many shades darker should you go than your natural skintone for your tan to look natural? The Luxe tan! It’s this new oil that also has a shimmer so you can apply it like a dry oil in the morning for an all over glisten and then after 12 hours it develops. It smells amazing too, it’s made with lemongrass for a really fresh scent so you won’t smell like Fake tan all day long, and it’s an intelligent tan so it tailors itself to fit your skin tone by using amino acids that blend with your skin tone, unlike other tanning products which just turn one shade. So you can use the same products for whatever skin tone and you won’t go orange. It’s great for paler skin tones too as you can just leave it on for 1 hour for a really subtle glow. If you want it darker just leave it on for the full 3 hours. What’s important to remember with tanning, is that you want it to look natural, like you’ve been on holiday. You don’t want people asking what tan you used.  Tans will be darker in Manchester and Liverpool though!

What about if you’re super pale and freckly?

Choose a gradual tan in light or medium. Gradual tans are great because you can choose the depth of colour by only applying it as much as you like, for example if on the first day you feel you look naturally tanned then don’t apply anymore, but if you want a darker shade apply it again; that way you can build it up and control it as you like. You can also mix your gradual tanner with a normal moisturiser for a softer finish, which will take the edge off.

How many times a week should you apply fake tan? Should you let it fade before you reapply?

This depends what type of tan you’re using, if you want a tanning regime for self-tans, do your spray tan on Thursday so your glowing for Friday and Saturday night. You’ll have colour for seven days and then just exfoliate to take all the tan off and start again; I wouldn’t recommend using it more than once a week. If you do it too often you can get a ‘claggy’ appearance around the boobs and under the armpits. If you want to keep the colour topped up in-between, use an instant tan and then you will still have the same appearance. St. Tropez was perfect when we did the weekly tans for The Voice and The X Factor as it fades really evenly.

Do you have any tips for a longer lasting tan?

1) Use an Aloe Vera based moisturiser afterwards as this acts as a conditioner to a tan; just like when you wash your hair, it helps it adhere evenly to your skin. 2) Don’t swim in chlorinated water 3) Don’t take really hot showers, and don’t bathe in oils. However it’s important to remember that you do want your tan to fade, both to allow your skin to breathe and so that when you come to reapply you have an even and clean canvas to work from.

If you want a really quick dark tan can you just apply instant tan twice?

Using instant tan you can build layers to create a better depth of colour – when I was working on London Fashion Week we were applying up to five layers of instant tan to the models. Just start from the legs and work your way up, by the time you’ve finished the first layer you’re ready to start on another! Otherwise you can use a dark instant tan, if you don't have time for all the layers.

The steps to take for an A-list worthy tan:

Pre-tan: You should always ensure you have removed any tan left over from your last application. You can do this by ensuring an even fade and removing tan with a gentle body polish on the fourth or fifth day of the tan. Beauty prep: If you're waxing or shaving, ensure this is carried out 24 hours before so that the skin has calmed and any wax has been removed. Exfoliate the night before a tan to remove any dead skin cells and ensure the skins surface is even. Pay special attention to your hands, elbows, knees and feet as these dry areas tend to absorb tan the most. Application: Always apply using an applicator mitt. This ensures an even, streak free finish without leaving the palms of your hands deeply golden. When tanning your hands and feet, don’t add any additional product to the tanning mitt - just use the residue from the body application, this will be enough. After application: Wipe the palms of your hands and nails to avoid any leftover colouration. Rub a small bit of moisturiser into the bottom of your palm where it meets your wrists to blend the tan. If you've used a spray you may wish to wipe a small amount away in between each finger.

Do you have any tips on how to avoid streaks?

  • Exfoliating will create an even skin surface avoiding the chance of a patch or streak in the first place.
  • Don’t moisturise before your tan as this will act as a barrier to the spray tan and your colour won’t be as rich.
  • Remove any make up or deodorant before you apply tan.
  • Always apply with a mitt, it’s one big foam area, which makes it adhere evenly.
  • Use the guide colour to check where you have tan; the actual tan that goes in your skin is translucent but it appears darker at first due to the guide colour, which comes away when you shower leaving you with your tan.

How should we remove it if it does go wrong?

That's what I like to call a Tanover! First of all don’t panic and start scrubbing because then it will just come off unevenly. Use a gentle body polish and if you’ve got a streak on one leg scrub the other leg too. Soaking in the bath or using scrub gloves in circular motions will also help it to fade. And to avoid it, watch the tan develop by applying it at least 5 hours before you go to bed so you can see if there are any patches. Prep is key.

Should you use a different product for your face?

If you’re doing self-tan (a tan that takes time to develop), splash your face with cold water to close your pores and mix the fake tan with Aloe Vera moisturiser for an even finish. If you’re using instant tan, use bronzer to achieve your glow and not the tan product itself.

Does a tan actually make you look slimmer?

The reason it can make you look slimmer is because the darker shade makes your silhouette look more prominent, just like wearing an LBD enhances your shape and makes you appear slimmer.

Does fake tanning before you go on holiday stop you from tanning?

When you go on holiday it’s always nice to get a spray tan the day before you go so you don’t look deadly. Fake tan won’t stop you from tanning naturally but as the fake tan begins to fade it will make it appear as though you’re not tanning naturally as you will appear to be getting lighter. It’s best to keep it topped up with an after sun that also contains a little fake tan in it.

How can you prolong your tan?

Top it up with instant tan, and if you want to make your holiday last longer use a gradual tan every other day.

What type of tanning lotion is best?

This really depends on your personal preference. If you have dry skin I would suggest using an oil or lotion as they will hydrate your skin simultaneously. If you’re in a rush use an instant or express tan, which is effectively the tanning world’s answer to makeup.

Why does tanned skin look better than pale skin?

A tan always looks great because it evens out imperfections and generally smooths out the skin tone. The thing about a tan is not only does it make you and your clothes look better but it also gives you so much confidence, which also makes you feel better in yourself.

Can you recommend a product for a quick fix before you go out?

Instant tan lotion is my go-to for a quick top up before a night out - use the light medium product with a mitt for an even finish. It’s also formulated with Rainmac™ technology and its silicone base means it stays put and won’t come off unless you use warm soapy water. It has a minimal transfer technology as well so if you sweat you might see some transfer but it would never be as bad as the old ones. Lastly if you’re wearing a play suit, don’t forget to tan your feet!

White dresses are huge this year, what is the best tan product to use?

For white dresses don’t use an instant self-tan because it will make marks. Use a self tan the day before, and when it’s washed off they’ll be absolutely no transfer. So ladies, now that you know everything there is to know about tanning, get your skin polished, spray on some St.Tropez, and find the perfect dress to show your tan off in.