Fake It Until You Make It – The Best In Fake Tans

Following the announcement that many of our favourite holiday destinations are on the don’t travel list, we’re forced to put away our beach outfits and wave goodbye to our golden glows and freckled faces.

Following the announcement that many of our favourite holiday destinations are on the don’t travel list, we’re forced to put away our beach outfits and wave goodbye to our golden glows and freckled faces.  Whilst we can try to get a tan at home, the sun isn’t that fond of coming out in the UK, and on the occasion it does, many of us are a lovely shade of pale and need a quick fix to fake the bronzed goddess look.

Google search trend shows a 36% increase in online searches for the term ‘fake tan’ from May 2020 to May 2021. Also, we found there’s been a significant increase in searches made in Scotland and Northern Ireland, compared to more southern parts of the UK.

Why tanning instantly makes you feel better

Whether it be on holiday or in your back garden, sitting in the sunshine boosts our mood. When exposed to UV rays, your body produces endorphins, commonly known as the happy hormone, and Vitamin D. Both help to boost your mood, so it’s no wonder why we are always chasing the sunshine. However, scientists found tanning in the sun significantly increased the chance of developing skin cancer and encourage you to stay out of the sun and wear SPF every day, even when it’s gloomy outside. To get the glow without sitting in the sun, try fake tanning. Depending on which one you choose, the results can be instant, can develop over 8 hours or gradually over a couple of days. 

Despite not being exposed to UV rays, we can still reap the mood boosting benefits of being tanned, even if it is fake. The reason, however, is slightly different. People perceive being tanned as being more attractive, gives you a much healthier appearance and we are more likely to attract and keep a potential partner, than if we are pale.

42% of women in the UK said they feel healthier and more confident in their appearance when they’ve applied fake tan, compared to when they don’t. 48% of women in the North West wear fake tan which is 30% more than the women in the South East. One reason for this could be that those living further North typically have less sunshine and warm weather than the South.

Top 5 best fake tans

To help you choose which fake tan to choose, we’ve picked our top 5 and rated them based on their smell – 0 being horrible and 10 being great, longevity and developing time.

1. Amanda Harrington Illuminating Bronzing Mousse – £36.00

The award-winning Illuminating Bronzing Body Mousse is a non-drip, super-blendable soufflé formula. Infused with Hyaluronic Acid and Aloe Vera to deeply hydrate, CQ10 to firm and lift plus a boost of Green Tea extract to awaken and revive tired looking skin. The Bronzing Mousse gives an instant glow that develops into a lasting colour.

Overall smell: 9.5/10
Drying: allow 10 minutes to dry completely
Developing time: leave on for a minimum of 6 hours before showering
Staining: as it’s a guide colour tan, it can stain some materials, but it washes out with ease
Longevity: just over a week with regular moisturising
Suitable for vegans: yes
Bonus: each purchase of this tan comes with a set of application gloves to blend in your tan with

2. St. Tropez Self-Tan Express Advanced Bronzing Mousse 200ml – £33.00

‘Control the depth of your tan with our most advanced and multi award-winning 3-in-1 Express tanning mousse. For a natural-looking, streak-free, and long-lasting tan that’s tried and tested. Apply with a Mitt and wait just 1 hour before showering for a light tan, 2 hours for a medium golden bronze, or leave on for up to 3 hours for a deep, dark tan to suit your skin tone. Best for natural results, fast and quick fixes.’

Overall smell: 7/10
Drying: once applied, you will have some play time to rub it in, but it does dry down quick
Developing time: 1-3 hours
Staining: as it’s a guide colour tan, it can stain some materials, but it washes out with ease
Longevity: with regular moisturising, this tan will last you for about a week and fades well
Suitable for vegans: yes

3. Bondi Sands Pure Gradual Tanning Milk 200ml – £12.99

‘Pure Gradual Tanning Lotion by Bondi Sands combines our iconic golden glow with skin-loving Hyaluronic Acid for hydration, Vitamin C for radiance and Vitamin E for repair. The colourless, fragrance free formula is quick drying and gentle enough for all skin types.’

Overall smell: 8/10
Drying: dries very fast
Developing time: several hours
Staining: a little, but only when clothes are applied before it dries
Longevity: as it’s a gradual tan, it builds over a couple of uses and fades nicely
Suitable for vegans: yes
Bonus: cruelty free and ethically sourced using 100% recyclable plastic to limit the impact on our environment

4. Vita Liberata Body Blur Instant HD Skin Finish – £27.95

Body Blur is the ultimate skin finish that instantly blurs imperfections and leaves skin looking flawless and glowing. Body Blur can be washed off at any time, making it the ideal accessory for any evening look.

Overall smell: 7/10
Drying: moisturising formula gives you time to rub it in, and once it’s dried, it’s not going anywhere and will leave your skin feeling soft
Developing time: Instant tan
Staining: allow to dry completely before dressing. As it’s an instant tan, it will stain some materials, but washes out with ease
Longevity: with regular moisturising, this tan will last you for about a week and fades well
Suitable for vegans: yes

5. St. Tropez Self-Tan Purity Water Gel – £33.00

This clear and lightweight gel-to-water self-tan starts to develop into a natural medium tan in just 3 hours. With no need to rinse off, this refreshing, non-sticky and fast-absorbing self-tanner provides up to 72hrs hydration, for a longer-lasting and more even streak-free tan

Overall smell: 9/10
Drying: once applied, you will have some play time to rub it in (thanks to the added hydration in the formula), but once dry, it’s locked in
Developing time: 3-8 hours
Staining: Little to no
Longevity: with regular moisturising, this tan will last you for about a week and fades well
Suitable for vegans: yes
Bonus: Streak free, moisturising formula

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