Get a sunless tan: your guide to the best self-tan lotions

Lynnette Peck / 24 June 2016

If you love the look of sun-kissed skin but don’t want to deal with the sun’s rays, then the latest generation of self-tan lotions and products is made for you.



The organic tanner

The Tan Organic Self Tan (£19.99, bathandunwind.com) is a great organic self-tanner that is naturally made with aloe vera and sugar beet and takes about six to eight hours to develop. The glow is natural and lasts a few days. Perfect to use a couple of days before a wedding or party.*

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The bronzing innovation

New British self-tanning brand Bronzie have launched a back and body tanning mitt called Got Your Back (£14.99, bronzieuk.com). It's perfect for applying self-tan to those hard to reach areas – it has two mitts connected with a middle section that reaches around your back. 

For a sun-kissed face

The Green People Gradual Tan Moisturiser (£11.95, greenpeople.com) is an organic self-tanner for the face. Containing rosehip and green tea, it’s natural and a good option for those with sensitive skin. You can look tanned all year without having to expose your face to the sun. Takes half a day to develop.

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The all-over body glow

Elemis is always a winning brand and their Total Body Glow (£35, bathandunwind.com) is a gradual tanner that doesn’t leave legs streaky.*

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The multi-tasking sun tan lotion

I am a huge fan of the Ultrasun range and they now have Ultrasun Glimmer SPF 50+ (£22, marksandspencer.com) which will give you a glow and sheen as you wear it out in the sun. A great dual purpose treat.

The tan applicator expert

Jules Heptonstall is the St. Tropez Tanning and Skin Finishing Expert (sttropeztan.co.uk): “Self-tanning means you are not exposing the skin to harmful UVA and UVB rays that damage the skin’s DNA and cause premature aging. Also, if you’re feeling slightly tired, you think that your skin is looking grey or you just need that pick me up, then self-tan will instantly lift your complexion, even out your skin tone and disguise signs of fatigue. Your body will look slimmer with a spray tan as your silhouette will be darker and any cellulite will appear reduced. As it’s an all-over treatment, you will find that people won’t always know you’ve had a tan but they will say ‘You look really well, and I can’t put my finger on why’ – it’s a beauty secret weapon. Not to mention a holiday in a bottle!”

Step 1: Exfoliate the night before a self-tan to remove any dead skin cells and ensure the skin’s surface is even. Pay special attention to your hands, elbows, knees and feet as these dry areas tend to absorb tan the most

Step 2: Start with St.Tropez Prep & Maintain Body Polish, an oil-free exfoliator that lifts away dead skin cells and creates a smooth and even skin base for your tan to be applied onto.

Step 3: Add a light layer of St.Tropez Tan Enhancing Moisturiser to your hands, elbows, knees and feet to stop any tan from sticking. Apply a lip balm to your nails and brows if you’re fair-skinned.

Step 4: Apply the lightweight St.Tropez Self Tan Classic Bronzing Mousse using an applicator mitt to ensure an even, streak free finish without affecting the colour of your palms – sweeping motions are better than circular motions as they distribute product more evenly. When tanning your hands and feet, don’t add any additional product to the tanning mitt - just use the residue from the body application.

Step 5: Wipe the palms of your hands and nails to avoid any leftover colouration. Rub a small bit of moisturiser into the bottom of your palm where it meets your wrists and rub a towel over the wrists to blend the colour. If you've used a spray you may wish to wipe a small amount away in between each finger. 

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