I'm fed up of biscuity fake tans—after testing them all, I can confirm these 7 actually smell good

Some even smell *great*

Woman's shoulder in the sun
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Before I get into the best smelling fake tan buys on the market, let’s get something out of the way first. As a beauty editor who has tested quite a few in her time, I can’t think of a single faux glow product I’ve tried that has no “fake tan smell” (you know the one) whatsoever. DHA, the tan-creating ingredient whose full name is dihydroxyacetone, is responsible for this when it develops, which is why said smell such a common phenomenon.

That said, there are levels. While some of even the very best fake tan formulas (from tanning waters and gradual tans to fake tans for the face and instant tans) can hit you with a cloud of that biscuity scent when you throw back the duvet the morning after applying them, other products carry far less of it. Not only that, but many products are actually scented to counter that infamous aroma, meaning there are formulas that smell great while they develop.

Me? I’m willing to tolerate a bit of a fake tan smell, personally, though I’d rather not reek of it for days on end. So, after much testing and some supplementary insights from Team MC, I've shared my thoughts on seven great formulas that are either gorgeously fragranced or won’t signal to everybody that you’ve just had a self tan sesh. 

7 of the best smelling fake tans, according to a beauty editor

1. Isle of Paradise Gradual Self Tan

2. Tan-Luxe x Paris Hilton Self-Tan Mist

3. 3. Self Glow by James Read Overnight Glow Facial 

4. Iconic London Tan Mousse

5. St Tropez Luxe Whipped Crème Mousse

6. Isle of Paradise Face Drops

7. Vita Liberata Body Blur

Lucy Abbersteen
Beauty Contributor

Lucy is a freelance beauty editor and contributor at Marie Claire, and has written for titles including Glamour, Refinery29, Popsugar, woman&home and more. She was previously Marie Claire’s junior beauty editor. During her career, she’s covered everything from backstage beauty at fashion week to interviews with famous faces like Drag Race royalty and Little Mix. As for her beauty ethos, she’s a big advocate for not having to spend a fortune on beauty products to get good results, and when she’s not got beauty on the brain you’ll find her reading or hanging out with dogs.