If you're after a tan of any kind, the safest way to achieve one is by faking it. This is all well and good if you're a dab hand with fake tan, but it can be challenging to find products that will give a natural-looking glow and be streak-free with paler skin.
Finding the best fake tan for pale skin is no easy task. If you go in all guns blazing, you may end up with a colour that's too dark for you or one that leaves streaks and patches. The easiest route to go down is to forgo layers of fake tan and instead opt for a gradual tan, that not only hydrates your skin as you go (shop our edit of the best gradual tanning products right here) but will gradually match to your skin tone for a subtle golden glow.
What Are Fake Tan Drops?
There are numerous fake tan for pale skin options out there thanks to an expanding market wth brands taking the time to cater for different skin tones. These now include fake tan drops, (we love the Tan Luxe Drops as well as the James Read Tan Drops).
Fake tan drops, a serum-like formula rather than a mousse or cream, normally come with a pipette top, that you can use to drop the formula into your everyday moisturiser or serum.
Start with one or two drops to make sure they suit your skin, and you can build up as and when you like. A few drops will turn it into a subtle gradual tan experience, a few more and you can expect a greater colour boost. It means you can create your own bespoke fake tan experience from your own home.
The world of fake tan has come a long way since the first tan mousse, tanning milk and instant bronzing incarnations that hit the shelves way back when, and we're pleased to say that there are a whole host of endlessly perfected formulas ready and waiting to give your skin a summer glow-up.
Whether you're trying to bespoke that all-over holiday glow or simply want to even up your skin tone, there's a product that will suit your skin tone and skin type.
Just remember to wash your hands straight afterwards, it's easy to get complacent when merging your fake tan favourites with your skincare!
SHOP: The Best Fake Tans For Pale Skin
SHOP: Best Fake Tan For Pale Skin
Merging skincare with tanning, this revolutionary hyaluronic serum contains tanning actives to gradually boost your glow. Apply 6-12 drops (depending on how deep you want your tan to glow) and expect radiant-looking, ultra hydrated skin in just one use. NB: it also smells like summer in a bottle. Dreamy!
If Dove's gradual tan lotion was your first foray into fake tan then turn your attention to their Body Mousse, pronto. It smells exactly the same but it's a weightless, whipped up, white mousse (no sheet stains) that can be built up to create a warm, even glow. Clever.
This luxurious self tan cream is expensive but lends limbs a gorgeous golden glow while deeply moisturising skin. Plus, it comes with a velvet mitt that makes application completely seamless.
We're obsessed with this tanning mist from Bare by Vogue. Simply mist the spray in circular motions on your face and upper body for the most even, natural tan that looks as good as a pro spray tan.
Dry, lacklustre skin? Massage this luxurious serum into skin for your most dewy, hydrated glow yet. Packed with hyaluronic acid and antioxidants it locks in moisture and softens skin.
If you're after a really believable subtle tan and have fair skin, try this brilliant mousse in shade 'Natural Rose'. Blended with moisturising ingredients, you can forgo body lotion and apply this instead.
If you're after a natural-looking, believable body tan then this is the self tan foam for you. Choose the medium option and buff in with the soft mitt in circular motions all over the body.
Packed with Hyaluronic Acid, this gradual self-tan lotion hydrates like a hero as well building a soft, believable glow. Keep applying daily until you reach your desired bronze.
These luxe drops of golden joy are SO good - expect lots of 'where have you been?' comments after application. They contain raspberry seed oil and Vitamin E to keep skin soft and hydrated whilst delivering that natural, sun-kissed tint.
Never have I ever had a more even tan than with this dreamy, soft-scented dry oil mist. Granted, I spritzed on A LOT, all over, from top-to-toe but once you massage it in and leave it for a couple of hours the golden-olive tan is just flawless.
This stuff is amazing, if you're not wearing white. It's more make-up for your skin than an actual fake tan – but if you want a quick touch up on your legs, this is the stuff for you. It's super easy to apply, makes your legs look amazing and lasts all night.
Hello golden glow. This tan glides on like a dream and, as there's no intimidating orange colour, you just feel like you're applying normal moisturiser. I felt really 'sun-kissed' with this one, and got a lot of compliments. Plus, the colour is buildable, which makes it more manageable, too. At the cheapest price, this is a firm favourite.
A special shout out to this face serum - it gives you a natural bronzed flush that doesn't look fake. Apply it morning and night before moisturiser, so you can add as little or as much as you want - depending on how dark you want to go. It is the holy grail of face tanning products, and even though it's quite pricey, it's definitely worth it.
If you've never used fake tan before, you could still just about manage to put this on with your eyes closed and emerge with a lovely, even tan. It's that easy to use. Plus, it's a colour corrector, so makes skin look a lot more even.
Suitable for those with a light-medium complexion and first time tanners, this self-Ttanning foam enriched with aloe vera and coconut will leave your skin looking like you've spent the day at Bondi Beach.
This innovative tan has been developed with a green-grey base that transforms into the most believable golden bronze. For pale skin with pink undertones, opt for the shade Medium.
While we're obviously serving up our edit of the best fake tans for pale skin in the business for your viewing (and shopping) pleasure, we couldn't let a fake tan feature pass by without throwing in a few pieces of much-valued application wisdom here and there. Needless to say an even and long-lasting faux tan requires a little more know-how and prep than a quick and cursory application - no matter how good the product.
Behold our foolproof fake tanning tips. Ready, set, glow!
How To Apply Fake Tan On Pale Skin
Don’t wax before tanning as this will open pores and leave you looking more plucked chicken than chic.
Always remove make-up, deodorant and perfume.
Exfoliate 24 hours before - concentrating on feet, knees and elbows.
Use a cotton bud to apply Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant, £28, around nails, brows, lips and hairline to stop the tan taking.
Treat Your Face Separately
The skin on your face is a lot more sensitive than the skin on your body. A lot of fake tans for your body will irritate your complexion, whether it's because of the level of DHA in there or even a heavy fragrance. There's also the fact that you tend to wash your face more frequently and more thoroughly than your body, so the fake tan will fade much more quickly, and you'll often end up topping up separately anyway.
It's easy to get complacent when merging your fake tan favourites with your skincare
There are of course so many options out there when it comes to fake tanning your face, from our beloved drops to wipes and mists - and even formulas you apply with a kabuki buffing brush - it's all about finding what works best for you.
How To Keep Your Fake Tan From Fading
What's the use in cracking the art of fake tan application if you can't keep your new, even glow for more than a day or two. Maintaining that stellar work is key, and it also keeps your skin prepped for your next application. Here's what to keep in mind.
1. Tans become uneven due to dehydration, so moisturise daily to reduce patchiness and ensure an even fade. Drinking your recommended daily amount of water helps, too.
2. When wearing fake tan, steer clear of oils. That means no essential oil packed shower gels, no body oils, no face oils etc. Oils break down fake tan quickly and can strip you of your glow in no time.
3. Avoid chlorinated pools or hot tubs. The chlorine found in swimming pools can also rapidly dissolve your tan so head to the ocean for a dip instead.