No need to spend a day on the beach
As the warmer weather slowly creeps in we’re plucking up the courage to show a little skin, whether that’s shorter sleeves or the odd flash of ankle, and so our minds have turned to the best fake tan.
But the world of self-tanning can seem like a bit of a minefield from the outside if you don’t know what you’re doing and while the best bronzer helps your case, sometimes it just doesn’t cut the mustard. Don’t panic – if you follow our foolproof fake tan tips, you’ll have a golden glow that supermodels would envy in no time.
Thankfully, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to your fake tanning formula.
Types of fake tan
Instant tans come with the benefit of immediate results, as you can see where you have and haven’t already bronzed up, while mousse tans are quick-drying formulas.
Then there are gradual moisturisers, which build up your tan over a period of a few days and at home spray-on tans that’ll fix you up in a matter of seconds. Or, if you’re pushed for time and want to easily integrate fake tanning into your daily routine, look to an in-shower tan à-la San Tropez.
The world of fake tan is ever-evolving, and exciting brands like James Read’s eponymous label are constantly changing the way we tan. His Sleep Mask Tan, a genius product that (as you might have guessed) tans your skin while you sleep and is a firm favourite of Team Marie Claire’s.
New-gen tanning products come with some pretty revolutionary benefits, like customising your own shade. Brands like Xen-Tan and Tan Luxe are making it easier than ever to develop a formula that compliments your own natural colouring, so you don’t end up going an orange, biscuit shade.
Once you’ve got all of that down-pat, make sure you learn how to remove fake tan properly; there’s nothing worse than going patchy after a dreamy fake tan job three days earlier. And whatever you do, don’t throw your used tanning mitt in the washing machine when you’re done. Even if you wash your mitt on its own, the next load of washing you do will come out the wrong colour…
The best fake tan for face
But wait! Fake tanning your face isn’t the same process as your body. The skin on your face requires a completely different formula as it’s far more delicate and sensitive, so you want a specialised tan with no harsh ingredients. Enter fake tan for your face. There’s a whole host of specially developed fake tans for the face, but arguably the easiest to apply is Ambre Solaire’s. Alternatively, go for a good bronzer to fake a glow instead.
What’s the best fake tan for pale skin?
The darkest fake tans will contain around 18 per cent DHA (dihydroxyacetone), which is the ingredient that gives you that tan. So, if you’re fairer skinned it’s better to aim for levels that are between two and five per cent, so that you don’t look like you’ve overdone it.
If you want a deeper shade, layer up these formulas. Trust us, you’ll get more of a golden glow by doing this than you will by simply reaching for a darker fake tan. St Tropez Everyday Gradual Tan Mousse works with your natural skin tone for the best results, and the mousse formula is easy to apply evenly.
Can’t get away for some winter sun?
Consider this your one-way ticket to having a summer glow, all year round.
Lightly scented with essential oils, this 89% organic fake tan is derived from sugar so you can bet your guilt-free glow is going to look natural. And, its quick-drying and non-greasy formula means it’s easy to use, too – and is suitable for all types of skin, including those who are prone to eczema or psoriasis.
There are plenty of hardy fake tanners out there, but for the rest of us – who are more than a little scared of turning a dark shade of mahogany – there is gradual tan. This daily lotion not only conditions and re-hydrates parched skin, it also leaves a subtle, healthy glow in its wake. Use it every day to build up to the colour that you want and then every other day to maintain the shade.
We love this product so much it even awarded it a coveted Marie Claire Prix d’Excellence de la Beauté prize. Take your shower as usual, step out of the water and apply your tan. Allow it 3-minutes to do its thing and then rinse off. That’s it! Genius!
In addition to DHA there’s a decent dose of argan oil so it really feels like you’re treating your skin when you’re applying this oil. There’s a slight whiff of coconut which is very welcome and definitely favourable to the burnt biscuit smell of some DHA products.
This miracle tan is a make-up bag must-have. Perfect for on-the go beauty, Clarins Instant Smooth Self Tanning just smooths onto the face with a whipped mousse for an instant glow, while the clever tanner develops develops into a gorgeous long-lasting tan.
We love this tinted liquid. It’s easy to see where you’ve already applied your tan so you won’t fall into the trap of over-tanning any part of your body. It’s light, liquid formula makes it so easy to blend into the skin. We suggest applying it with a mitt so it doesn’t run all over your hands.
The revolutionary James Read Sleep Mask tanner caused a real stir when it launched, and for a good reason. The luxurious formula is full of skincare essentials so you don’t have to feel bad about using fake tan for your face every night and can get used to a fresh, natural-looking glow every morning.
Add a few drops of this formula to your normal moisturiser – either in the morning or at night – and it will impart a very subtle, buildable glow. You can be as light as you like with your application so it’s great for very pale skins.