Here Are The Best Fake Tans To Ease Your Sad Skin Into Autumn

Because summer may be over but you aren't ready for your tan to fade just yet Photographs by Luke & Nik


by Nellie Eden |
Published on

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a girl feels better about her body when it's got a hint of brown about it. Whether it be real, or fake, a tan is an instant confidence-booster. But now the summer is almost over, your tan is fading with increasing rapidity and YOU AREN'T READY FOR IT TO HAPPEN QUITE YET. Right? Fake tan is absolutely your answer in this scenario.

READ MORE: Here's How To Rescue Your Fake Tan Disaster

Use it as a band-aid to ease you into a harsh new season (which is, at least, full of delicious new knitwear) and to keep your bad self feeling glowy for as long as possible. Because come Christmas, you will be but dreaming of these trans-seasonal times.

That said, fake tan is dangerous - often an orange obstacle course of orange-peel skin, rusty eyebrows and Eau De McVitie’s (how do they all smell like biscuits? Seriously, HOW?) However, armed with the right arsenal of Vaseline, Cocoa Butter, exfoliator and The Holy Grail - a perfect mitt - the fakest of skin bakes can be your ultimate wing-man: it’s toning, slimming and sexifying… when used correctly.

But we’re not suggesting you go out there alone. In fact we’ve done all the (now very bronzed) legwork for you and tried and tested some of the UK’s most popular tans. Here are our hot picks - for all budgets - to segue your skin into autumn and maybe even talk you into next seasons over-the-knee boot, to be worn without tights.

The bargain biscuit

Sunshimmer Instant Tan Water Resistant, £3.49 Rimmel


Plus: You’ve left the house in your woolens. It’s now 25 degrees and you’re flesh is Tim Burton levels of pale. The solution? Instant tan. This gel dries in a minute or two and it didn’t stain my clothes. It also lasts up to 24 hours and washes off with a bit of soap and water. You should never be mitt-free no matter the instructions (always use protection) and this number is definitely worth mitting and buffing for an über natural finish.

Minus: Ok, don’t go splashing around in puddles romcom style - it ain’t entirely waterproof. Splashes were a wee bit visible after a day out in drizzly London weather.

The lunchtime treat

Ambre Solaire No Streaks Bronzer Dry Body Mist, £10.20 Garnier


Plus: This is the closest you’ll get to an at home spray tan and ideal for those looking for a more gentle build up (redheads we’re talking to you). Bonuses include the biscuit- free scent and the rapid development. It’s quick; it begins to show after three hours but comes into it’s own after a good night’s kip. You can also do your own back (how novel).

Minus: It did ‘pool’ a little so have a mitten on hand to spread the love, unless you want to look like you’ve knelt in a muddy field. It’s also a little tricky to spot where you’ve been so stand in front of a mirror and… focus!

The steady Eddy

Everyday Gradual Tan Body moisturizer medium/dark, £14.50 St Tropez


Plus: You can’t do a tan round-up without a nod to the St Tropez gods. Meet the king of the gradual tans. You’d have to be pretty cack-handed to come out streaky with this super subtle body lotion. I am cack-handed but you'd still have to be Poirot to call bullshit on your ‘natural glow’ unless he’s a ‘user’ (this is a judgment-free zone).

Minus: I plumped for the medium to dark shade as the lighter ones are so subtle they require a few days build up. Also be sure to apply Vaseline (a seasoned fake tanner's ultimate trick) liberally on the less hydrated areas.

The beauty insider's favourite

Express Liquid Tan 150ml, £20 He-Shi


Plus: Weird name, loved by beauty editors everywhere as it's moisturising and genuinely lasts for 4-7 days. So hydrating in fact I used it on my face. I loved the 'see where it goes' formula, that, uh, means you can see where you’ve been. Don’t be deterred by its liquid nature; simply tip the bottle upside down, straight onto the tanning mitt and then blend. This is both paraben and alcohol free and pH balanced (thumbs up). It lasted a good ten days and faded like a natural tan, so no sandpaper required. My face didn’t suffer any break-outs too (ring out the bells).

Minus: The name made us snigger a little bit (it’s unisex). Ok, there are no minuses and we need to grow up. This one steals the ginger biscuit.

The 'it' boy of tan-dom

Tan Mousse, £24.50 James Read


Plus: He's like the Alexa of the tanning world, is the 'international fake-tanning guru' James Read. Lucky he also bottles his winning formula too. Yes, it does resemble chocolate mousse, but the result is far from sickly. Mousses glide very easily onto the skin but have a bad rep for patching; for the record this is patch-free. The darker finish means it’s ideal if you’ve been back from your holiday for a few weeks and are looking for a top-up. It also contains an anti-ageing formula (which should ease post vacay skin-damage angst) and comes with it’s own glove - high five (with mitts on)!

Minus: Not ideal for the face (mousses never are) unless you’re dressing up as Jim’s dad from* American Pie*.

For the beauty luxist

Hyaluronic Summer Bronzing Hydra-Veil, £44 By Terry


Plus: Yes, it's expensive. But ex-YSL make-up artist Terry de Gunzburg knows her stuff and those who can afford it, swear by it. This tanner is strictly for the face. For me, the USP of this little baby is its ‘velvety matte’ finish. It’s a hyaluronic, lightweight, acid foam that blends straight into your skin. Just like a BB cream it blurs imperfections and is pore-filling. After I used it, people complemented me on my complexion (this never happens).

Minus: The price

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Follow Nellie on Twitter @nelliefaitheden

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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