There’s no denying the boost that a bit of sun-kissed bronze colour can give to your skin – and your confidence. But by far the safest way to achieve a golden glow is to stay out of the sun and instead reach for one of the best fake tans.
There has been no shortage of exciting new self tans hitting the beauty aisles this summer, all promising to deliver a natural-looking and easy-to-apply hint of colour.
To determine which ones are REALLY worth spending your money on, we sent out a bunch of the latest formulas to our Beauty Edit testing panel, including an updated classic, a collagen-boosting gradual tan and a light-as-air oil mist. Here are the ones that impressed our testers…
Best fake tans to shop in 2022
Best skin-firming fake tan
St Tropez Gradual Tan Classic Firming Lotion, £18 here
This newly reformulated icon promises to hydrate, smooth, firm and soothe skin while building a natural glow.
Beauty Edit tester Lisa M says: “It’s perfect. It gives a healthy tone to your skin without looking orange or streaky. It only took me about 2-3 days to get the perfect colour. The smell is light too, unlike some fake tan creams. It’s easy to apply and my skin absorbs it nicely. And yes my skin did appear firmer. Fab all rounder – I’m hooked!” 5/5
Best smelling fake tan
Vita Liberata Heavenly Tanning Elixir Untinted, £34 here
A new untinted version of the original bestseller, which is designed to keep deepening for up to 72 hours.
Beauty Edit tester Kylie says: “Absolutely love this. It looks like normal body cream, no scary dark colour and it doesn’t have the fake tan whiff – it smells gorgeous, like cocoa butter. I really love the natural glow this gave me, the colour looks amazing and it didn’t go streaky like a lot of brands. Someone asked if I’d been to the Maldives! Brilliant product, I will definitely keep using this.” 5/5
Best fake tan that won’t transfer
Hawaiian Tropic Sunless Tan Self Tanning Milk Gradual Everyday, £10 here
A tropical-scented lotion with vitamin E and aloe to moisturise all day while you tan.
Beauty Edit tester Lisa W says: “It hydrates, smells amazing, gives a deep, natural looking tan in just a few days and is totally streak-free. It didn’t transfer to clothes, even on the day I wore white leggings! So many people have said I look like I have been on holiday. My manager has just got back from two weeks in Cape Verde and my colour matches hers! At least three people have said they are going to buy this product.” 5/5
Best fake tan with skincare benefits
Skinny Tan Tan & Tone Wonder Serum Gradual Tanner, £24.99 here
A new slow-build version of Wonder Serum, using actives to boost collagen while giving skin a glow.
Beauty Edit tester Sima says: “I loved the light coconut scent of this serum, it felt really summery on application and the consistency wasn’t too thick. I like how you can control how dark you want your colour to go. Over a period of time I noticed a really nice glow to my legs, they looked like I had been in the sun tanning. It’s quick, easy to apply and I achieved fantastic results.” 5/5
Best fake tan for beginners
Sienna X Gradual Untinted Self Tan Lotion, currently on sale for £7.99 here
Suitable for both the face and body, this goes on clear and can be built up in intensity.
Beauty Edit tester Pamela says: “The smell is amazing – fresh, like a summer cocktail, and not overpowering. It feels light and silky and absorbs easily – I am a complete newbie to self tanning and even I could manage a half decent job. The colour was natural and I was asked if I had been away. The tan looked great and I would recommend it.” 5/5
Best non-sticky fake tan
Isle of Paradise Light Self-Tanning Oil Mist, £22 here
A dual-phase tan with hydrating oils to lock in moisture. There are two other shades, all with colour correctors.
Beauty Edit tester Helen says: “This feels like water, it’s not sticky and has no strong smell. It gave me a lovely, light, golden glow and people told me I looked healthier. I would buy it because it’s effective and nice to use.” 4/5
Best fake tan lotion
Evolve Sunless Glow Body Lotion, £18 here
Made with shea butter, papaya extract and erythrulose berries, and gives a subtle, buildable colour.
Beauty Edit tester Ruth says: “The nicest gradual tan body lotion I have used, in looks, feel, and end result. Really easy to apply, develops speedily, doesn’t sting after shaving and leaves a nice light tan. It detracts from the grey veins on my legs (although only a decent denier would cover them completely!)” 5/5
Best organic fake tan
Three Warriors Gradual Tan, £34.99 here
Infused with olive, coconut and avocado oils, plus soothing aloe vera and chamomile extract.
Beauty Edit tester Kae says: “Great product, easy to apply and gives you a lovely looking natural tan. The smell is lovely too, which makes a nice change for fake tan. It was exactly what I was looking for. People asked if I had been away on holiday.” 5/5