The 7 best fake tans for your summer glow up – from Bondi Sands to St. Moriz

EVERYONE has an opinion when it comes to the best fake tans – but with holidays on hold, there’s no better way to achieve a healthy-looking glow than reaching for the bottle.

With social calendars filling up for staycation season, and sunnier weather on the horizon – we’ve reviewed some of the best options out there, including cult-favourites loved by celebs.

How to apply fake tan (top tips)

For best results, fake tan should be applied to clean, exfoliated skin with a tanning mitt.

In one hand, pump your product onto your mitt-wearing hand. Then, using circular motions with the mitt on your skin, apply the self-tan product downwards.

Leave to dry, and wash with warm soapy water if product recommends.

How to remove fake tan stains

Fake tan can stain sheets if not left to dry – as soon as you see a fake tan mark, apply cold water to the stain to separate the tanner from the fabric.

Mix a solution of warm water and washing-up liquid and blot out the stain. Add sheets to washing machine and wash at 40 degrees.

1. St. Moriz 60 Minute Fast Tanning Mousse

  • St. Moriz 60 Minute Fast Tanning Mousse, £5.99 – buy here

This is the only fake tan we’ve tried that really allows you to control your shade, and we really rated it.

The St. Moriz 60 Minute Fast Tanning Mousse boasts different gradients of tan one, two or three hours after application.

We’re pale and went for a medium tan, leaving it to develop into our acquired colour for two hours.

At first, we immediately liked the fresh, aloe vera fragrance – it was super easy to apply with a mitt, and we didn’t need more than a couple of medium-sized pumps per leg.

The results were instantly noticeable, and we were a bit shocked at how fast the colour was deepening – but patience paid off, and after two hours we washed the tan away with warm soapy water.

The results were a healthy-looking express tan, that looked really natural – and it was streak-free, leaving our clothes free from stains before and after washing.

With this express tanning mousse, you can tan two hours before your pub date, and carry on with your day in the meantime, confident your tan is doing its stuff.

2. ESPA Gradual Tan Body Moisturiser

  • ESPA Gradual Tan Body Moisturiser, £37 – buy here

One of the pricier tans on this list, the ESPA Gradual Tan Body Moisturiser is really nourishing and a perfect addition to your beauty regime for a subtle, natural glow-up.

We slapped it on in a hurry straight after our shower as if it were our usual moisturiser, and noticed a well-covered, sunkissed glow immediately.

The jasmine and rosewood scent really shone through, too, and it felt luxurious – almost as if we were moisturising post-spa treatment. 

After using it for three days in a row, our naturally pale skin looked bronzed and radiant, and felt really soft and smooth.

At £37 for 200ml, it is a luxury tanning splurge, but one that is worth it for the subtle, sunkissed results.

3. utan Gentle Glow (DHA-free mylk)

  • utan Gentle Glow (DHA-free mylk), £17.99 – buy here

Since we have sensitive skin, we were really interested in this self-tanning facial mist – which even Love Island star and psoriasis-sufferer, Olivia Bowen, is a fan of.

Colour additive DHA is found in most fake tans on the market, and can be pesky for sensitive skin, but utan have got you covered. The tanning results from the mist is thanks to a raspberry-based keto-sugar.

utan’s Gentle Glow DHA-free mylk is fragrance and oil free, and develops a healthy facial glow within two days.

On first spray, we were shocked at the strength of the mist and ran to the mirror expecting an orange face – but thankfully, after spraying twice a day over the course of two days, our skin looked bronzed and glowing.

We were happy with the colour after two days of spraying our face, neck and chest – especially since it developed into a healthy-looking colour over the rest of the week. 

It even kept our eye make-up intact after spraying our face, so it’s perfect for an air-dry facial glow on the move.

4. Palmer’s Natural Bronze Body Lotion Gradual Tanning Moisturiser

  • Palmer’s Natural Bronze Body Lotion Gradual Tanning Moisturiser, £4.00 – buy here

This Natural Bronze Gradual Tanning Moisturiser from Palmer’s is definitely the best-smelling on this list, and is very affordable.

Coupled with their iconic scent, thanks to natural cocoa butter, this tanning moisturiser is creamy and keeps skin feeling soft.

Tan-wise, we were unsure how much to use due to the small pump – which made it similar-looking to a hand-cream – and it made application tricky, with patchy results the first time around.

But after using a mitt, the tan gradually appeared three days of daily use – making our legs appear very convincingly tanned and sunkissed.

With ethically-sourced materials and vegetable-based tanning ingredients (think sugar beets) we’re really impressed with how sustainably-forward this brand is.  

5. Coco & Eve, Sunny Honey Bali Bronze Foam

  • Coco & Eve, Sunny Honey Bali Bronze Foam, £25.90 from Cult Beauty – buy here

Since our skin is pale with pink undertones, we were looking forward to trying new cult-favourite Coco & Eve in Medium shade.

Said to even out skin pigmentation with its grey-green base, we were sceptical – but Coco & Eve, chock full with Vitamin C and natural ingredients, really hit the nail on the head with this beauty. 

Firstly, the scent is divine – it’s layered with tropical mango and guava notes, and it made us smile since it smelled just like a summer cocktail.

It was very easy to apply, didn’t need too much on the mitt and when we washed the base colour away the next day with warm, soapy water we were positively glowing.

It’s long-lasting, smells great and apparently is meant to ‘blur’ cellulite with orange and lotus  flowers – we didn’t see that first-hand, but this product is great for achieving that great-looking (and smelling) summer glow-up.

6. Bali Body Gradual Tan Moisturiser

  • Bali Body Gradual Tan Moisturiser, £21.95 from Bali Body – buy here

Anything with Bali in the name has got us hooked this summer as we’ll be fake tanning direct from our staycation.

Bali Body Gradual Tan Moisturiser was the underdog on this list – at first, we were taken aback at how thick the product was. It was like slapping on SPF50, and it took a little longer than other products to really absorb into our skin.

Enriched with coconut oil, firming coffee seed extract (who knew that was a thing) and nourishing cocoa butter, this tanning product smelled great – despite its thickness.

But after lathering it on post-shower before leaving it overnight, we were really impressed by the natural-looking, even colour come the morning.

Bali Body’s Gradual Tan Moisturiser was like a fake tan and nourishing body lotion in one, and we were really happy with the natural-looking colour after first application

7. PURE Bondi Sands Self Tan Foaming Water

  • Pure Bondi Sands Self Tan Foaming Water, £15.99 – buy here

Now, any fake tan connoisseur has probably heard of Bondi Sands, the iconic Australian glow-up brand. 

Since we’re unlikely to be going Down Under any time soon, Bondi Sands have brought a new, innovative product to us in the form of their PURE tanning range.

To see if it lives up to hype, we tried the PURE Self Tan Foaming Water in Light/Medium – it comes up entirely transparent, which is a little nerve-wracking when you’re applying it for the first time.

Six hours after our first application, the results came up a little patchy and didn’t wash off – but once we got used to the application process, the end result was a gorgeously deep Aussie glow.

The brand has much to shout about with their new PURE range – loved by celebs, the vegan and cruelty-free range is their most conscientious yet.

Being entirely free of sulphates, dye and fragrance, the lack of smell was a little odd – but knowing it is doing good by our sensitive skin was relieving.

It’s worth nothing too that the PURE range is ethically sourced from recyclable materials, and can continue to be recycled – doing good for the planet, while we’re feeling good about the end results.

Is fake tanning bad for you?

Self-tanning products can help you look tanned without exposing your skin to harmful UV rays from the sun.

Fake tan gives you a healthy glow from ingredients such as non-toxic chemicals like DHA (Dihydroxyacetone).

While fake-tanning is better for you than lying in the sun, or a tanning booth, if you have sensitive skin you may wish to use DHA-free products.

Fake tan is not a substitute for sun scream, so SPF must be applied to protect the body from burning, or skin cancer.

How to apply fake tan (top tips)

For best results, fake tan should be applied to clean, exfoliated skin with a tanning mitt.

In one hand, pump your product onto your mitt-wearing hand. Then, using circular motions with the mitt on your skin, apply the self-tan product downwards.

Leave to dry, and wash with warm soapy water if product recommends.

How to remove fake tan stains

Fake tan can stain sheets if not left to dry – as soon as you see a fake tan mark, apply cold water to the stain to separate the tanner from the fabric.

Mix a solution of warm water and washing-up liquid and blot out the stain. Add sheets to washing machine and wash at 40 degrees.

How to remove fake tan from skin

Sometimes, self-tanning doesn't go the way we plan – but it's so simple to remove pesky stains from skin.

Mix up a solution of lemon juice and sugar, then gently exfoliate the skin.

Wash up with warm, soapy water and the stains should be gone!

For small stubborn areas, whitening toothpaste works a treat, too.

Enjoyed our round-up of the best fake tans? We’ve tried and tested the best control swimwear, perfect to match your tan.

We’ve tried and tested out the best moisturisers with SPF in on the market right now – a must-have in your beauty regime.

Want more? Check out our Sun Selects beauty section.

This article and any featured products have been independently chosen by The Sun journalists. All recommendations within the article are informed by expert editorial opinion. If you click a link and buy a product we may earn revenue: this helps to support The Sun, and in no way affects our recommendations.

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