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Forget one-shade- suits-all, self-sunning in 2018 is all about creating a tailor-made glow. We tried the latest products to match your fake tan priorities this summer
You want: A tan that’s dark but natural
This summer’s deeper, richer formulas promise a Caribbean-worthy tan without turning you orange – which ones deliver?
St Tropez Extra Dark Mousse, £34
The guide colour is scary on the mitt but don’t panic, it’s fine once it’s been rubbed into your skin. The final result is pleasingly deep but not in a double-take ‘what HAVE you put on?’ way. It just looks like a good fortnight away in the sunshine, and isn’t orangey in the slightest. It’s our favourite find of the summer.
Freshly Baked London Dark Mango Self Tan, £14
This new brand comes in several fragrance options, including watermelon and baby powder. It gives a really nice, natural colour but it’s not as dark as the others we tested. We’d use it again although we’d need to double dip if we wanted a mega-deep Barbados-like glow.
Cocoa Brown 1 Hour Tan Extra Dark, £7.99
Don’t be fooled by the name. You have to leave it on for three hours to get the full depth of tan, but that’s still pretty quick for such a rich colour. Gives a very good, dark result at a bargain price. Just be careful when you apply it – the foam is so light and fluffy, it can splatter a bit.
You want: A no-mess tan
Mucky sheets and muddy guide colours are a thing of the past with the trend for ‘clean’ formulas that go on clear (no transfer to clothes) and are infused with natural ingredients.
Tan-Luxe Wonder Oil Roll On, £45
This omega-packed oil feels lovely and non-greasy and gives an incredibly long-lasting tan. Just one big caveat: the ‘unique’ rollerball applicator is clunky and doesn’t work at all angles. The results are fab, but you really need to roll the oil onto a mitt then rub it on.
Palmer’s Coconut Oil Natural Bronze Body Lotion, £5.99
This new addition to their lush-smelling range goes on like a body moisturiser and builds a subtle bronze over three or four days. A safe option for anyone nervous of bodging a one-shot tan.
James Read Coconut Water Tanning Mist, £25
This gradual tan mist goes on really finely, so it’s easy to apply evenly all over. (To be 100% sure we finished by buffing with a mitt, and were pleased with our smooth, streak-free finish.) The coconut-water formula is light and hydrating, so our legs felt good while the colour was deepening.
You want: A glowy, younger-looking face
Tanning and anti-ageing skin care are going hand in hand this summer, with these specialist facial fake tans that nourish and smooth your skin…
St Tropez Purity Face Mist, £22
This tan couldn’t be easier to apply – just mist the cooling antioxidant ‘water’ over your face, neck and chest and you’re done. You can even apply your faux glow over makeup.
St Moriz Advanced Pro Tan Boosting Facial Serum, £9.99
A dupe for some very expensive tanning drops, this 10-quid version does the job nicely. You simply mix 3-6 drops into your fave face cream or serum, and turn it into a tan. We love that you can control how deep you go.
Coola Sunless Tan Anti-Aging Face Serum, £49
Shockingly expensive but, dammit, so good. It smells divine (piña colada!), is as hydrating as a regular face serum, is full of anti-agers and the light, buildable colour is so convincing that nobody would ever guess it wasn’t from the sun.
The fake tan golden rules
Always use a mitt, even if you’re applying a colour-free tan or gradual glow. Velvotan, £2.99, is our fave, because the all-round lining stops tan leaking through and staining hands, and there are cute new designs for summer.
Use body lotion to dilute tan in tricky, tell-tale areas like hands, wrists, elbows, feet and knees. We always dab knuckles, toes, heels, elbows and centre of kneecap with a baby wipe straight after applying tan, too, especially a dark one.
Use a facial exfoliator first to ensure your tan goes on smoothly and fades evenly.
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