Fake Tanning isn’t as Scary As It Seems

I love being tanned wether fake or real however fake tan still has quite a bad reputation. I get so many questions on here, social media and YouTube about what’s the best fake tan and if I have any tips so here goes…

Like with everything practice makes (almost) perfect, so I always recommend the first thing you try to fake tan be your legs, as they are really easy to cover up. You’ll need a mitt, then you simply apply the tan onto the mitt and then onto your body, I like to do a few long sweeps up to distribute the product and then buff it in. Elbows, knees, hands, feet and ankles are typically the trickiest part- cream your elbows and knees lightly to avoid too much product being applied there and apply sparingly to your feet and hands.

I often get asked if I fake tan my face and I do, but it’s personal preference. I like the look it gives and allows me to wear less makeup but lots of people just apply a slightly darker shade of foundation to match the rest of their body. I sometime use face specific fake tans but that isn’t always the case, I do however avoid anything overly drying ones and I don’t find that I have overly sensitive skin so have never had any problems with applying body ones on my face. Again as these are designed for the body they are typically darker than face ones, a little more drying and I would stick to face ones if I had sensitive skin so do bear that in mind.

I typically apply my tradition tans over night, this way I don’t have to go out with the guide colour on, there is no risk I will spill anything on it and other people don’t have to experience the fake tan scent. I then wash the guide colour off in the morning, avoiding very hot water which will strip the tan and moisturise daily. I’d also recommend exfoliating regularly about 2 days after the tan has been applied, it’s tempting not to do this but it’ll help the tan fade more evenly. I also like to remove all of my fake tan every few weeks, give my skin a little break and start all over again but this isn’t really necessary if your good at exfoliating and moisturising. I also find it’s nice to give your skin a slightly longer break as fake tan can be drying, I like to do this over the summer when I am naturally more tanned but I know most people do this in winter when they hide their skin under clothes.

So down to the big questions- which tan do I use?

The truth is most fake tans nowadays are good, they’re all typically quite olive in tone so there is no need to worry about being orange and it’s all about finding what you like.

I find gradual tans too difficult to work with and I want quite quick instant results so they’re simply not for me. That said I do really like the Clarins Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster which are drops you apply to your regular face cream and body cream for a hint of colour. If I were to use a gradual tan I would go for the Sienna X Gradual Glowing Self Tan as I’m not a huge fan of the slightly cheaper ones.

I think mousses are great for a beginners, they do dry quite quickly so you’ll need to work fast but they offer a beautiful colour, are tinted so you can see where you apply them, are quite easy to control and the fact they dry quickly means you can get on with your day. My favourites are: Bondi Sands Self Tanning Foam and Madame La La Self Tanning Mousse.

There are also liquid tans which are similar to mousses but are often a little harder to control (on the actual mitt) but offer a really dark colour if that’s what you’re looking for. My favourites are He Shi Liquid Tan and Lauren’s Way Glam Tan

Personally I find mousses a little drying on my skin so I typically love lotions, I find that they’re more hydrating, fade more evenly and some can offer as dark a colour as the mousse. It does take a little longer to dry so often requires me to wait around for it to dry but that’s not a big problem to me. My favourites are Bondi Sands Lotion, Lauren’s Way Self Tanning Lotion.

If I’ve only remembered I want to tan on the day of a big event (or I just need a tan quickly) then 1 hour quick tans are perfect. They require at least an hour to develop and before you can wash off the guide colour but the longer your leave them on the darker they get. I occasionally leave it on for 3 hours but they do get very dark. The downside to these is that they are very drying so I try to only use them when I have no other option and just make sure I moisturise lots after. My favourites are and

If I don’t even have time for one hour tan then instant, wash-off tan is the best (doesn’t require you to wash off a guide colour, you just wash it off when you want to remove it) and I often use it over fake tan as it offers a little bit of coverage to give limbs a airbrushed look. My favourites are Cocoa Brown Lovely legs and Bondi Sands Wash Off.

When I do use a face one I usually go for , and

I feel that this was such a long post that it may make it seem even more scary but honestly it really isn’t, if you make a mistake you can almost always cover it and it will wash off and fade within a couple of days. If I’ve missed anything than just leave me a commend below or Tweet me @sabrinalovesyou

I really love fake tan and think it has a very positive effect on my mood and confidence, it makes me look slimmer and healthier which is a good thing in my books.

PS. I’m currently using the Bondi Sands Lotion in Light (usually use dark) and I think it’s actually amazing!


  1. 5th November 2015 / 3:24 pm

    I haven't tried any of these yet, because some of them are hard to get my hands onto. The gradual tanner that I'm using right now that I seem to like, is the Coppertone lotion. I use it every other 3 days to get a healthy glow. Specially if your new to the world of tanners an such.

    Katie | http://ktmcgworld102.blogspot.ca

  2. 5th November 2015 / 4:47 pm

    I just ordered this morning Bondi Sands Lotion in Dark. Hope it's not to dark for me 🙂
    How do you remove the tan? Just a good exfoliating is enough?

  3. 6th November 2015 / 10:47 am

    I seriously love Bondi Sands fake tan! It never goes patchy and streaky and gives such a natural look xo


  4. 2nd March 2016 / 7:02 pm

    Liquid tans are certainly more difficult to control than spray or cream tans in my experience. That’s why I always use go down the route of spray tanning. Although, it takes some time because putting a few thick layers on leads to a unnatural glow. Multiple thin layers always works best for me. Keep the great posts coming, you really are a little obsessed. ;P

  5. Mary Jackson
    20th April 2016 / 3:48 pm

    Such a great article, thanks! I’ve tried Sienna-X’s gradual tan that you mentioned, and they have a wider range on their website well worth trying out (https://sienna-x.co.uk/). However, is there any particular accessories that you would recommend to make the entire tanning process a little more pain-free? I know there are loads available, but because of this I’m never sure where to spend my money.

    Thanks so much!

  6. Mary Jackson
    5th May 2016 / 2:26 pm

    A wonderful blog post as always! I’ve used a number of fake tans over the years and haven’t had any awful experiences. I would certainly recommend you shop around and also take a look at https://sienna-x.co.uk/'s range of tans. If you’re hesitant, try a gradual tan and then move onto something a little quicker and more permanent.

    Thanks for the incredible post! 🙂

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