Want to give lockdown skin some colour and glow? Try these safe ways to get the perfect tan at home, no matter your skin type.

We may not be able to jet-off on holiday to top up our tans this summer, but with the MET Office forecasting a three-month long heatwave for the UK, we may not have to. If you are emerging from twelve weeks of lockdown with a serious Vitamin D deficit and want to get a head start on your summer tan safely, we’ve put together a round-up of the most realistic, high-tech sunless tanners on the market for a range of skin tones and types.

If you haven’t faked it for a while, you may have been put off by orange streaks and a rather giveaway ‘biscuity’ aroma. But times have changed and so have the formulas; now there is skin-adaptive technology that mimics your own natural tanning shade for a more realistic finish, as well as skin-nourishing ingredients that not only imbue a glow, but smooth, hydrate and blur imperfections too – without the pong.

We’ve also included all the kit you need to get a professional finish whilst the actual professionals are closed, plus we’ve included some video tutorials from the experts to ensure you avoid those tell-tale tan marks.

Fake Tan Kit

Coco & Eve

Application Mitt, £12

Always end up with orange palms and stained cuticles when you fake tan? This soft, velvety mitt from Coco & Eve has a secure elasticated cuff so it stays snug whilst you buff in your product. Plus, the deep pile will ensure that your tanner doesn’t gather on dry areas, such as elbows and knees for an even finish.

St. Tropez

Fake Tan Remover, £14.50

A good bit of kit to have in the back of the bathroom cabinet in case of tanning disasters is St.Tropez’ Fake Tan Remover. With detoxifying cotton extract to purify and probiotics to help rebalance and prime the skin, simply apply the mousse, leave for five minutes and rinse to erase any signs of your tanning mishaps. It’s great to use in between self-tanning applications too to give you a blank canvas and avoid build-up.

Bondi Sands

Back Applicator, £6.99

One of the advantages of going to a pro is the 360-degree application, which is hard to achieve solo. If you are attempting your own full body tan, the back applicator from Bondi Sands will help you get to that tricky middle of the back patch, without dislocating a shoulder.

Fake Tan Products

Madame LA LA

Self-Tan Mousse Light, £27

This self-tanning mousse from Madame LA LA ticks a lot off the fake tan wish-list. It is super easy to apply, as the coloured foam immediately shows you where you’ve applied, so there’s no risk of ‘missed bits’. It has colour custom technology to ensure the colour develops to match your skin tone, so there’s no one shade fits all orange tinge. The skincare ingredients include coconut water, green tea and Vitamin E, with added skin finishing perfectors, which leave skin smooth and glowy, as well as with a deep, golden tan. Finally, while there will never be a zero smell self-tanner thanks to the crucial ingredient, DHA which does the tanning, this formula has minimal odour and a pleasant coconut aroma. Top marks all round.

Tan Luxe

The Body, £42

If you’d like to add a little glow to your lacklustre limbs, but the mess – or margin for error – of a self-tan mousse is putting you off, ‘The Body’ from Tan Luxe is a gradual tanner that you add to your regular body lotion in drops. Simply dial up the number of drops you add to darken your tan. With skin-nourishing raspberry seed oil and Vitamin E, it will brighten, tone and tighten skin as it tans. Fool-proof to apply, it leaves skin sun-kissed and healthy looking. Clever stuff.

Amanda Harrington

Summer Face Edit, £70

The disruptor of the sunless tanning market, Amanda Harrington spent over a decade buffing and bronzing her A-List clients, before launching her own range of at-home tanning products with one big difference: they are applied by brush. Skin is prepped with specially designed primers to ensure an even glow, plus Amanda’s Face Mist comes in a range of shades to suit different skin tones (not simply light to dark) and is spritzed onto her specially designed, oversized Kabuki brush before being buffed into the skin in circular motions to ensure an airbrushed, streak-free glowing finish. The cleverly angled brush can then be used to layer up and contour the face, collarbones and jawline with the tanning mist. Clever, innovative and if it’s good enough for the A-listers…

Fake Tan Tutorials

James Read

James Read has tanned everyone from Mariah Carey to Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. And as you might imagine, the ‘King of Tanning’ has his own range of at-home tanners in every texture you can dream up, including balms, mists, mousses and oils. Plus, you’ll find plenty of how-to videos on his YouTube channel to help you master the art yourself.

Nadine Baggott

Beauty Editor Nadine Baggott interviews Jules Von Hep, one of the UK's most respected self-tanners who has worked with the likes of St Tropez and Tan Luxe, to glean his top tips for mess-free, flawless self-tan application. Now he has even his own brilliant brand, Isle of Paradise. Learn from the pro and then apply his know-how for a summer of streak-free bronzing.

By Lydia Mansi
June 2020


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Lydia Mansi

Lifestyle Editor

Lydia is an all-round lifestyle guru, tireless champion of women in business and our resident expert on beauty.