We're not going on a summer holiday. Or, if we are, it's a staycation situation where the weather's a bit of a gamble. Yes, Blighty blessed us with a recent heatwave, but it's been howling storms or "mehh" weather ever since.
Of course, we've not let that stop us from getting our glow on at home, whether it's from dangling out the window when the sun makes a surprise appearance like one committed Glaswegian did recently (not recommended), or layering up on some self-tan action.
Sales have taken off with brand's like Bali Body reporting a 450% surge in demand for its Ultra Dark Self Tanning Mousse during lockdown. Meanwhile, Coco & Eve's Sunny Honey Bali Bronzing Foam is quickly building up a cult following. After selling out three times and accumulating a 30,000 person waiting list, it's back in stock and selling a bottle every 20 seconds.
It seems even self tan refuseniks are dipping their toe (or entire bodies) into fake tanning for the first time. It might have a reputation for being tricky, going streaky and smelling a bit whiffy the next day, but it also has the power to overhaul pasty limbs, boost confidence and bring the sunshine – even when there is none and cheer ourselves up in the process.
Tanning is an area that continues to innovate, with brands tackling Fanta undertones, dubious scents and patchy stripes to make formulas far more user-friendly. The selection is *huge* – there are silky lotions, fluffy mousses, and handy 360 sprays to suit all preferences and skin types. You can even pick up speedy solutions that develop in just one hour, or long-lasting heroes that stick around for up to three weeks.
Whether you like a deep golden tan or a subtle whisper of warmth, there are options for all. Scroll down to see the best fake tans, that have been tried, tested and given the seal of approval by the GLAMOUR team with our in-house reviews on what exactly they’re best for.
Love a golden glow but looking for something different? We also have reviews on the best gradual tans, best tan for pale skin, bronzers, fake tans for your face and in-salon spray tans. Plus (we’re spoiling you), our top tanning tips to make sure your fake tan looks the best it can be.
Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Water, £18.95, Beauty Bay
Results? A thoroughly natural looking finish.
Bonus features: Isle Of Paradise three shades of Self Tanning Water contain colour correcting pigments so not only do they avoid oompa limbs, they tailor options to suit your skin tone. Light has brightening peach tones in, Medium has green to counteract redness and Dark has a purple tinge to curb yellow or sallow tones in skin.
Bali Body Ultra Dark Self Tanning Mousse, £26.95, Beauty Bay
Results? This Self Tanning Mousse is an updated take on the original mousse tan from Bali Body, but it's especially formulated to create a darker tan.
Bonus Features: There are various soothing ingredients including chamomile extract, antioxidant coffee seed extract and pomegranate extract, leaving your skin nourished, yet glowing.
St Tropez Self Tan Purity Vitamins Mist, £31, Beauty Bay
Results: An instant light gleam that develops into a golden tan with a noticeable glow.
Bonus features: This contains a groundbreaking Sunshine Complex technology. Vitamin D boosters mimic the positive effects of sunshine, brightening and protective skin but without exposing it to harmful UV rays. Plus the fragrance was specifically created to improve our mood.
Coco & Eve Sunny Honey Bali Bronzing Foam, £29.90, Beauty Bay
Results: Available in three shades – medium, dark and ultra dark – you can tailor the colour to you. The green-grey base colour may sound scary, but in practice it counteracts orange tones to keep things positively golden.
Bonus features: It's vegan and packed with natural ingredients like banana, cocoa, papaya, mango, orange and lotus flower. Plus, it has over 2,000 5 star ratings on Trustpilot.
James Read Coconut Dry Oil Tan, £25, Look Fantastic
Results? A heavenly-scented, natural-looking and skin-loving self-tan that lasts for five days.
Bonus Features: James Read Coconut Dry Oil Tan is bursting with anti-oxidants to fight off free-radical damage caused by pollution and UV rays.
Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pad Gradual Glow, £34, Look Fantastic
Results? Fancy a natural-looking, buildable tan without the fuss? Thanks to their easy-to-use design, Alpha Beta Glow Pad Gradual Glow single-use wipes cut out the need for extras. Great for getting that glow on the go.
Bonus Features: Gentle exfoliating acids in the formula work to smooth the surface of skin, and help ensure an even, streak-free finish.
Prefer to build up your tan? Check out our list of the best gradual tanners of 2019
Isle of Paradise Over It Magic Self-Tan Eraser, £17.95, Look Fantastic
Results? Not technically a fake tan, Over It Magic Self Tan Eraser is a very important side kick. This nifty product is essential for any mishaps or removals because, let's be honest, all good tans must come to an end.
Bonus Features: This magic remover gently exfoliates with glycolic acid but is also infused with coconut, chia seed and avocado oils to nourish.
Tan-Luxe The Body Illuminating Tan Drops, £42, Cult Beauty
Results? That fresh, dewy, I-just-returned-from-the-beach-but-kept-my-SPF30-topped-up kind of tan.
Bonus Features: These handy Body Illuminating Tan Drops can be added to any body lotion, oil or moisturiser to transform it into a bespoke self-tan. Add one drop for a weekend by the beach, or four for full-on bronze brilliance.
St Tropez Self Tan Express Bronzing Mist, £26, Cult Beauty
Results: This bestows a light even tan in one hour, a sun kissed medium glow if you leave it on for two hours and a deep golden bronze if you leave it on for three hours.
Bonus features: This gives you three shade options in one formula and because of the speedy developing time, it's perfect if you're in a pinch and need to turn your tan around quickly.
Vichy Idéal Soleil Hydra-Bronzing Self-Tanning Milk, £10.50, Feel Unique
Results? A buildable, natural-looking tan that benefits from the glowy boost of hydrating thermal water. Not many products can work as well on the face as the body, but the gentle Idéal Soleil Hydra-Bronzing Self-Tanning Milk ticks both boxes.
Bonus features: Paraben-free and suitable for sensitive skin. It doesn’t cause breakouts either.
Cocoa Brown 1 Hour Tan Dark Mousse, £7.99, Feel Unique
Results? With 1 Hour Tan Dark Mousse you can achieve an even and subtle hint of colour after one hour, a chocolatey tan after two and an intense Barbados-bronze if you stick it out for three.
Bonus features: Super-quick drying and an olive undertone to ensure zero traces of tangerine.
Bondi Sands Self Tan Foam Dark, £14.99, Feel Unique
Results: A really dark tan with golden undertones, for the ultimate Australian beach babe look.
Bonus Features: Bondi Sands Self Tan Foam Dark dries in seconds and you can even shower after one hour (or try the one hour express for an even quicker, deeper colour). Ideal for those with olive skin as the results are really rich in colour - although it has gorgeous golden undertones that work brilliantly on fair skin types as well.
Vita Liberta Body Blur, £28.95, Amazon
Results: Not just a tanner, Body Blur airbrushes a multitude of imperfections and is especially effective on the legs.
Bonus Features: What's more, it washes off, so don't panic if something goes wrong!
Garnier Ambre Solaire No Streaks Bronzer Dry Body Mist, £10.99, Boots
Results: A no-nonsense multi-angle spray tan, No Streaks Bronzer Dry Body Mist leaves a light tan, ideal for a subtle glow. A perfect product if you’re new to the world of self-tan sprays.
Bonus Features: Multi-angle dry mist spray, apricot extracts to moisturise skin, quick-dry, no need to rub.
St Moriz Advanced Pro Formula 5-in-1 Tanning Mousse, £7.99, Superdrug
Results? Colour so rich and realistic, others will ask where you holidayed. St Moriz Advanced Pro Formula 5-in-1 Tanning Mousse lasts for ages, and responds well to top-ups.
Bonus features: Easy-to-spread foam formula, with a pump that only needs one hand.
Venetian Self Tanning Mist, £35.99, Norvell
Results: A dark glow but with no orangeyness.
Bonus Features: This is the brand used by the tanners on Strictly Come Dancing to give the dancers and the contestants a healthy dose of bronze. It contains violet tones to keep things looking natural.
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