Search for the Perfect Fake Tan

As a ginger, fake tan has become my ally in a world full of beautifully bronzed people. I couldn’t get a tan if my life depended on it and I’m a year round snowman. Being a student, I think I’ve gone through a good few litres of fake tan in my last two years at uni, but I also can’t really afford to break the bank when it comes to getting darker. I’ve tried a lot of fake tan brands over the years and have a few favourites. I prefer to use a tanning mousse over liquids, because I think liquids can be a bit messier and harder to apply. Tan can be tricky to get right, so over the years, I’ve learned a few things to make it look the best it can.

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But for all of you out there who catch a tan, why should you use a fake tan instead of trying to get a natural one? As long as I can remember, my mum has warned me of the dangers of lying in the sun. She never lets it touch her face and always slathered me in suncream when I was growing up. Now I’m so grateful than she instilled this in me. The damage caused by UV rays can cause premature ageing as well as skin cancer. Research indicates that just one blistering sunburn can double your chances of developing melanoma later in life. In addition, using tanning beds before age 30 increases your risk of developing melanoma by 75 percent. Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults 25-29 years old and the second most common form of cancer for young people 15-29 years old. It is the leading cause of cancer death in women 25-30 years old and the second leading cause of cancer death in women 30-35 years old. Tanned skin is a result of damage to skin cells. I don’t know about anyone else, but I would much rather get my tan from a bottle than lie in the sun or in a tanning bed and risk my life for something that only lasts a few weeks anyway! (Information from the Melanoma Research Foundation).

It will come to no surprise to many that I love St. Moriz tan. It’s cheap and works well, so what else could you want on a student budget? I’ve tried their fast tanning mousse and their regular tanning mousse, and I will say I prefer the fast tanning mousse. You can leave it to develop for one, two or three hours depending on how dark you want it, and I don’t know if I’m imaging things, but I think it smells better than the regular tanning mousse. It’s so handy for any last minute nights out (which are a common occurrence in my house) and you can pick it up almost anywhere. The only thing is, that I do prefer the colour of other tans, but for the price, it’s pretty good.

A pricier tan that I love is HeShi. I’ve picked it up a couple of times for special occasions but at £25 it’s not something I would be using every week! The colour it gives you is gorgeous, but be careful because I did end up coming out a lot darker than I expected. It fades really well and doesn’t smell too strong either!

My favourite tan is definitely Cocoa Brown one hour tan. I always go between this and St Moriz depending on my budget, but I do think this has to be my favourite. I just love the really natural colour it gives me and I’ve never felt orange or green tinged when I use it. It doesn’t have that ‘fake tan’ smell (it’s gardenia scented) and it’s not too expensive either! I do usually leave it on for nearly three hours, but it still looks really nice after only one or two.

Cocoa Brown – before vs after application


What I’ve learned over the years is that a good tan is half the battle, and that learning how to put on your tan properly definitely is what can make your false tan look the best. I wish that my tan could always look perfect, but I have learned a few ways to try to make sure it look the best it can;

  1. Make sure to scrub off any existing tan from your skin and shave the day before you apply your tan. If you leave tan on and apply more on top, you’ll look like you have a skin disease
  2. Moisturise your knees and elbows so tan doesn’t stick to them. I hate when my knees and elbows are darker than the rest of my body!
  3. Apply clear nail varnish to your nails so they don’t get discoloured. This is a dead give away that someone is wearing false tan to me.
  4. I actually use a fluffy sock and a plastic glove underneath to apply my tan. I prefer it to a mitt and it’s cheaper!
  5. When I’m applying tan, I don’t put it on my hands, feet, knees or elbows. I just apply it to wherever I want on my body and leave those parts until the end.
  6. After I’ve applied my tan, I use whatever is left on the sock/mitt and gently swipe it over my knees and elbows. This helps the problem of your knees and elbows being darker than the rest of your body.
  7. For my hands and feet, I mix moisturiser with the tan and rub it in to my skin. Then I use a wipe to take off the tan from the palms of my hands. This makes it look more natural and less obvious that it’s fake.
  8. Always shower off your tan before going out, there’s nothing worse than tan running on to your clothes. Make sure you rub your body as you shower off the tan to prevent streaks!
  9. Moisturise your skin daily to try and make the tan last as long as possible and avoid patchiness.

I’m dying to try BPerfect’s 10 second tan (you can get watermelon or coconut scented!) and Loving Tan. I’ve seen them all over social media and I’ve heard great reviews!

Thanks for reading,
Emily x


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