How to fake it: the tan

If you live in the UK, you know that while the rest of Europe basks in 30-degree heat, August here means Autumn. It’s unreliable, you throw a jacket on when you go out, and you question whether boots are acceptable footwear yet.

However, there are also those days when the sun comes out and it’s WARM. So you can still get away with bare limbs, meaning that if that holiday glow has faded (like mine), you still want to add a bit of colour.

The only two countries in my opinion that excel at fake tanning are the UK and Australia. I’m talking about available products not necessarily the application and we’ve all had the orange wrist/elbow/ankle situation with eau de biscuit thrown in. But now you can pretty much get a tailor-made-tan regardless of your application preference.

Here’s a few that I’ve tried recently:

Gradual Tanners:

Perfect for the fake tan novice, gradual tanners offer the perfect compromise of getting a colour, without any risk of streaks. You apply them in place of a body lotion but make sure to wash your hands afterwards. St Tropez (the Godfathers of fake tan) have a version but if you’re looking for something more on the budget-end, then I’ve just finished using the Garnier Summer Body. I always choose the darker option as I prefer more colour but there are usually light-medium-dark shades and in this product I bought ‘deep sun-kissed look’. It smells fruity and has a hint of ‘Hawaiian tropic‘. It also sinks in to skin quickly so easy to get dressed straight away. I actually took this away on holiday and used it as an after-sun. Would definitely re-purchase. Available at Boots and Superdrug.

Shop Garnier Summer Body at Boots

Tan drops:

New to the scene are tan drops. High concentration of product to be added to body lotion and face moisturisers and the more drops you add the more colour you’ll have. My two favourites are the Clarins glow drops which come for face and body and Tanologist. The Clarins are a little bit more pricey but they’re the only ones which work on my face without breakouts or reactions (I’ll be reviewing the Tan-Luxe ones soon). Would I repurchase? Absolutely. I have just re-purchased the Tanologist but in dark and I work on a 2:1 ratio (2 drops to 1 pump of body lotion). They work really well and you can get them in Superdrug. I’m still working through the Clarins but will be buying again.

Shop Tanologist at Superdrug

Classic tan

If you want to keep it classic and old-school regular full-on tan still exists. Although it’s now a case of do you want a mousse, a water, a mist, a cream….The one I have used most recently is the Vita-Liberata Invisi Foaming Tan Water (you see there’s also a foam-tan mix in there too). In contrast to gradual tanners and drops, I usually choose light-medium and make sure to exfoliate and use a light body lotion beforehand (don’t use an oil). Whereas with the other methods above, I don’t apply this with my hands rather a mitt. I pump this into the mitt and apply it in my birthday suit because I don’t want it to stain clothes or towels. This definitely has more of a biscuit smell and probably most people apply this at night BUT I recently tried putting this on in the day and the result is actually better rather than lying on one particular side against sheets while you sleep. Would I repurchase? Vita Liberata is a pricier brand and to be honest I prefer drops/gradual, so probably not.

The wash-off

Finally, sometimes it’s just easier to apply some colour for a night out and wash it off (especially with the unpredictability of British summertime). Another product from Vita Liberata which is a good wash-off is the Body Blur. I bought this for a wedding in early Summer in the shade Latte Dark. I used a mitt for it, but have seen others do this with a large powder brush and buff it into the skin so can see this might work better. The quality is really good (so it’s worth the expense) and goes on well without a scent. It does transfer a little so be careful especially if you’re wearing white but it will wash off in the laundry. Would I repurchase? Yes, it’s reliable, effective and makes limbs look amazing.

Shop Vita Liberata at Cult Beauty


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