It’s a balance. We’re now being told of the benefits of vitamin D, which comes from the sun, but also we know to stay out of it as it is fierce and damaging to the skin. Never mind it giving you wrinkles. So our advice is to fake it. We’ve tried different ones to give you a better idea of what’s worth trying.

Xen-Tan – Premium Sunless Tan Transform Daily Self-Tan in Light, £15.99

Fair skin; difficult to tan  (Rated: 4/5)

I’m a bit of an infrequent self tanner – I’m far too lazy to go through the whole rigmarole of showering, exfoliating, moisturising and eventually applying the stuff. It’s all a bit too much like hard work, plus I can’t bear the smell. However, when I do bother, I love the results.

I tried Xen-Tan Transform Light, said to be ‘perfect for those who want a natural-looking tan that develops gradually and leaves skin looking radiant and healthy for days.’ It is a lightly moisturising, creamy white gel which is easy to apply, even for tanning novices. However, as it goes on clear, you have no idea where it’s been applied and where it hasn’t.  Xen-Tan left me with a realistic, healthy, but not hideously obvious colour; it won’t leave you orange. I found it easy to control the level of colour by putting on another layer after a few days. My tan stayed on well for over a week, but still faded slightly patchily on elbows and knees. www.xen-tan.co.uk

 

Amy Childs Must be Mist Spray Tan, £17.95  (Rated: 4.5/5)

Pale skin

Glamour puss, Amy Childs of ‘The Only Way is Essex’ fame, has launched her own range of Self Tan products and I could attempt to make a few jocular comments here of an orange nature, but it’s actually really good. Amy, who is clearly an authority on all things fake tan, has come up with ‘Must be Mist,’ which gives a naturally golden, but not TOO bright shade of realistic-looking tan with an even coverage and no streaky bits or blotching. It lasts well too, as it hasn’t faded much at all over three days.

The only drawback as ever with fake tan is the smell, which, on morning application was Amy’s choice of Strawberries and Cream, but towards lunchtime became more Oxo and Bovril. Mmm! You’ve got to love her though; the bottle (large and a little goes a long way), is very specific on application method: Use Amy Childs ‘Scrub it off’ exfoliator to prepare the skin, then apply Amy Childs ‘Slap it on’ moisturiser to all dry areas and finally apply your tan mist evenly with an Amy Childs ‘Tanning Mitt’! I have to say using a mitt would have been a good idea, because I did end up with a tanned palm for two days. Oh, and make sure you cover the area around your tanning ‘environs’ with an old towel or similar, so you don’t get a sun-kissed glow to your lovely new bathmat, oh dear! www.tesco.com

 

Fake Bake Lipo Bronze, £22 (Rated: 4/5)

Sallow skin, tans easily

Who can resist the offer of looking bronzed and more toned all from one product? Not me!! It seems like the ultimate ‘less is more’. Fake Bake Lipo Bronze is a 2 in 1 product with anti-cellulite which contains clinical levels of Lipocare ™ and Rigin ™ that aid in developing a firm, toned and tanned body in one formula. These magic ingredients are designed to accelerate lipid release from fatty storage areas, to combat cellulite and firm the skin.

If you haven’t used Fake Bake before it can be a little bit on the scary side as it has a colour guide that means that it looks like you are putting a very dark, chocolate brown, tanning product onto your skin and your mind can run away with the potential results. Actually the guide is brilliant as it means that you can see exactly where you are tanning and can make sure that you don’t end up with the usual tell tale streaks. I found it very easy to apply and the gloves that come with the Lipo Bronze are great quality and actually allow you to rub in the gloop without pulling and dragging your skin.

It dries quickly and as it develops it has the usual fake tan smell. I was prepared for the tan to be all over my bedclothes by the end of the night but I was pleasantly surprised. After showering off the guide colour in the morning you end up with a very realistic, natural colour. It’s certainly not an instant change, but this is probably a good thing if you want to suddenly turn up to work like you’ve been away for a fortnight! This does mean that you have to be dedicated to applying the Lipo Bronze every night, which is ok as the colour is very subtle and gives the magic ingredients some time to work. A possible downside is the fact that you have to make the effort to regularly apply and in my experience the 133ml bottle lasted just over a week with daily application to my whole (average sized) body! Fake Bake say that you should notice firmer, more toned and resistant skin within two weeks; I can’t say that I’ve noticed a dramatic change, but my skin feels smoother to the touch, and the lovely golden glow is also an improvement!

 

Clarins Delicious Self Tanning Cream, £21.50 (Rated: 4/5)

Fair skin, tans well

I’m not always on the ball when it comes to fake tan. I have had a few mistakes and remember the time I tangoed my poor trusting sister in law before she went on holiday – she had to stay indoors for a day until the stuff started to come off. She did forgive me, though I don’t think she would let me do it again! (I don’t blame her either!) So my first word of advice is less is more. Go carefully – you’re colouring your skin, so think about it.

Make sure you have gloves on before you start. That’s a must. Do moisturise your skin – it will help it go on evenly and give yourself some time – don’t rush the procedure, remember it’s semi-permanent for a couple of days. And finally, use small amounts – you can always re-apply. And then enlist someone’s help if you can. (My husband is now a dab hand at applying it to my back and arms.) I tried Clarins Delicious Self Tanning Cream and love it. I don’t mind the smell – it’s part of the process and I just looked like I had been warmly sun-kissed. This is lovely product, easy to use as you can see what you’re putting on and gives a great colour. It’s luscious and it lives up to its name – Delicious. 0800 036 3558

Tips

1. Prepare your skin first. Use an exfolitator. Exfoliating first removes all the dead skin cells and gives the tan a good base to start with.  Buff extra well on areas such as elbows, wrists, ankles, hands, and feet or squeeze some lemon on these areas first… it works.

2. Apply moisturiser to ankles, heels, tops of toes, kneecaps, and elbows. This keeps these spots from soaking up excess tanning cream and going orange.

3. Use a pair of snug disposable gloves to avoid getting your palms covered.

4. Pour the tanner in your hands, and rub them together so the product evenly coats each palm.

5. For the face, use a formula specifically designed for it. It’s normally a lighter formula both in colour. Apply primarily to spots the sun naturally hits when out and about such as nose, cheeks, and midpoints of the chin and forehead. Then blend into the hairline.  Try Clarins Liquid Bronze Self Tanning, £17.50, for face and decollete, above.