There's just something I love about a lightly sun kissed, bronzed glow. Whether it's the illusion of having been on a holiday, the dream of an endless summer or something as simple as the way a tan somehow makes everyone look more toned (it's a mystery to me too!), there's just something beautiful about a golden glow. But we all know better now than to lie out in the hot Australian sun in the hopes of getting an even tan, and with so many amazing natural and organic fake tans available now, there's no reason to tan in an unsafe way.
Fake tanning tips and tricks
If you're new to natural self-tanners, it's understandable if you're scared of ending up with patchy, streaky limbs and orange stained palms. Toxin-free tanning doesn't have to be difficult though if you follow these simple steps before and after applying your tan of choice...
1. Exfoliate before tanning
One of my biggest tips on how to avoid a patchy fake tan is to make sure you exfoliate before applying your tan of choice! This step is important in helping to remove dead skin cells, roughness and any old fake tan so that the skin's surface is silky smooth and prepped for tan application. It also helps to make your fake tan last longer in that you'll be applying straight onto fresh, new skin – your tan won't cling to any dry patches of dead skin and go all patchy. The best time to exfoliate before tanning is actually the day before you plan to tan, or the morning before, rather than immediately beforehand. This gives our skin time to calm down after a rough scrub! I recommend using an exfoliating body glove like the Eco Tan Extreme Exfoliant Glove for fast and easy exfoliation. I use mine in the shower!
2. Use a tanning mitt
My next secret to a perfect tan is a tanning mitt! Whether you're using a mousse, a gel or a spray, a great tanning mitt can help you achieve a streak-free finish and guarantee no tanning solution makes its way onto your palms. I recommend using the WOTNOT Flawless Tan Application Mitt, which is double sided and velvety soft to ensure a flawless, even tan every time (it also has a place for your thumb so the mitt doesn't move around!) The Eco Tan Luxurious Double Sided Tan Applicator Mitt is another great option – this mitt has two sides, a fluffy side suitable for use with mousses and creams, and a smooth side for tanning waters.
3. Moisturise after fake tanning
Finally, one of the best ways to maintain your fake tan is to make sure you moisturise! Moisturising right before tanning is a big no-no as it will prevent your tan from absorbing, but it's essential afterwards to help prolong the life of your tan. Keep moisturising at least once, but preferably twice, a day after tanning to help keep skin hydrated and prevent flaking or patchiness – always moisturise after showering or bathing. Try opting for a specially formulated natural tan extender in the form of an oil like the Zuii Certified Organic Flora Dry Oil Tan Extender, or a lotion such as the BRONZE By La Mav Tan Extender, both specially formulated to deliver a rich burst of hydration to help preserve your tan without affecting colour payoff.
Best natural gradual tanners
Life Basics Gradual Tanning Gel
One of my favourite natural fake tanners is the Life Basics Gradual Tanning Gel, which actually works to care for and nourish the skin while it deepens your glow. I love this gradual self tan as you can build the colour up as you wish, so you can opt for a light and natural-looking wash of colour or develop a deeper tone with more applications. This non-sticky and quick-drying gel formula also contains nourishing Aloe Vera and Vitamin E to moisturise skin and help ensure lasting colour. To use, massage evenly into skin, applying daily for best results.
Mineral Fusion Gradual Self Tan Lotion – Medium / Dark
Another great gradual tanner is the Mineral Fusion Gradual Self Tan Lotion – Medium / Dark, a creamy lotion which is rich in Sunflower Oil, Aloe Vera, Shea Butter and Vitamin E to hydrate the skin while you tan. This formula is designed to give much deeper colour, perfect for olive skin tones. For a lighter finish, try the Light / Medium formula. Apply to skin in a circular motion and blend well, then allow a few minutes to dry before dressing.
Natural instant fake tans
Mineral Fusion Instant Bronzing Body Butter – Light / Medium
Mineral Fusion also make a beautiful Instant Bronzing Body Butter – Light / Medium which, as its name suggests, washes the skin in natural-looking colour immediately upon application and leaves the skin with a lasting, radiant glow thanks to the bronze mineral pigments. This rich and creamy butter is perfect if you need a glowing tan fast – apply all over in circular motions, allow to dry, then get dressed and go!
Eco Tan Cacao Firming Mousse
The Eco Tan Cacao Firming Mousse is another favourite of mine as it actually develops in just one hour! This fluffy mousse is incredibly easy to apply, it has a subtle chocolatey scent (no telltale fake tan odour!) but most impressively, it's also rich in naturally anti-ageing ingredients that work to visibly firm and tighten the skin! Apply all over – a mitt works best – then, for best results, wait at least 8 hours before showering.
BRONZE By La Mav Self Tan Dry Oil
For a tan that looks beautiful but also feels really luxurious to apply, opt for the BRONZE By La Mav Self Tan Dry Oil. This nourishing tanning oil contains moisturising Argan Oil, Macadamia Oil and Magnesium, it gives the skin a sun kissed sheen, dries instantly and allows you to control the depth of your colour – rinse after four hours for a light tan, or reapply a second coat for a richer glow. It's also Certified Organic!
Best fake tans for face
Eco Tan Face Tan Water
A special lightweight tanning formula, the Eco Tan Face Tan Water is perfect for a natural facial tan. This toner-like liquid is non-comedogenic and designed to suit all skin types – it feels practically weightless on the face and is also packed with brightening goodies like Vitamin C, as well as moisturising Aloe Vera to prevent dryness. To use, apply to freshly cleansed skin with a cotton pad and allow to dry before applying your serum and night cream. It's best used overnight, so you'll wake up with a glowing complexion, and can be applied over 1-2 nights to build colour.
Zuii Certified Organic Flora Gradual Tan Face Lotion
Another great facial tanner is the Zuii Certified Organic Flora Gradual Tan Face Lotion, which you can apply in place of your regular facial moisturiser! This 2-in-1 daily moisturiser and facial tanner nourishes skin with hydrating ingredients and helps build a gradual golden glow, without feeling greasy or heavy. To use, pump a small amount into hands and massage into the face and neck. It works perfectly as a day cream under makeup.