Self-tanning has come a long way since the 'my hands are orange but my face tells the truth' phase of 2003. And for the fifty shades of Edward Cullen among us, we're bronze high-fiving all over the place.
Green-based tans are giving us the less-orange, more yassss Bahamas-glow we've been craving since we last saw the sun, fake tan lotions and potions are here to offer quick-fix fabulous-ness and to deliver your chosen tanning line-up every month.
It's a great time to be a tan lover, and if you want to make sure you're in the know with the latest glow-getting formulas, these are the ones to have on your radar...
What's the next big thing in tan? Waters.
At least according to St.Tropez Technology Innovation Director, Dr. Paul Evans, it is.
"Inspired by K-beauty trends, these ultra-lightweight formulas [are of a] transparent and weightless nature." A.k.a they're invisible until your developed, natural-looking tan starts to show itself.
K-beauty has done it again with these spot-killing patches that work overnight
You'll still end up with the same glorious bronzed colour achieved with a regular mousse or lotion self-tan; the main difference is you can waltz around developing, without anyone being aware. Sneaky sneaky.
"Your usual tan products will carry a guide colour – an immediate stain that appears on the surface used for guidance ensuring you have reached all areas evenly without streaking", says Michaella Bolder, Celebrity Tanner and Facialist.
"However, the evolution of tanning brought to us from the likes of Tan Luxe and St Tropez allow us to perform our weekly tanning ritual without a sticky guide colour that annoyingly transfers onto your clothes and sheets."
And don't worry, your ploy to tan before work will not be foiled by colleagues sniffing that distinctive tan smell in your 10am meeting. "The Self Tan Purity Bronzing Waters are also infused with protective hibiscus extract and uplifting fresh green mandarin water for a new refreshing and uplifting tropical fragrance and no tell-tale self-tan smell." Waters for the win!
, £33, Tan Luxe, , £31, St.Tropez, , £25, Vita Liberata.
Tanning used to mean blocking out Thursday night so that you had enough time to exfoliate and marinate. And while express or one-hour tans have been around for a while, the colour payoff was mostly on par with a light to medium tan. But oh boy, have the true colour contenders now arrived.
Cocoa Brown have released a new 'extra dark' version of their 1HR tan and Bondi Sands entered the fast-game recently with their Express Foam.
We tried Bondi Sands Express Foam and this is what one hour developing time gets you...
So how do they make the colour develop so quickly without streaking? An ingredient called DMI (Dimethylisosorbide).
"It speeds up the delivery of active tanning agents into the skin but also ensures an even distribution", says founder, Marissa Carter.
, £7.99, Cocoa Brown, , £49.99, Xen Tan, , £18.99, Bondi Sands
, £33, St. Tropez.
Since the first in-shower was launched by St.Tropez, other brands have followed suit with similar formulas that can be slathered on mid-shower for a gradual coating of colour. But the latest innovations in this arena are pre-shower tans.
So for those who found it chilly waiting to the side of the shower stream with the original releases, you can now coat yourself in front of the heated towel rack, scroll through Instagram for one minute and then jump in the shower - ba da boom ba da bing!
" is designed to be applied onto dry skin and contains our unique 'rapid rinse technology' which enables you to shower one minute after application and for the tanning reaction to continue," says St.Tropez Technology Innovation Director, Dr. Paul Evans.
Keep in mind the depth of colour from these products is more a light layer of glow, which builds if you use consecutively.
, £14.50, St Tropez,
, £13.95, NKD SKN, , £9.99, Rimmel London.
Mists have received a bad rap in the past because of the large particle size and prone-to-blockage nozzles, which made them messy to use at best, and resulted in a streaky tan at worst.
"But now the technology exists to produce a DHA mist that's so fine it can be used with an atomiser spray. The application process will be similar to spritzing perfume on your skin," says the founder of Cocoa Brown, Marissa Carter.
Oooo la la, she's on to something...
If misfired misting (RIP white tiles) is your main concern, never fear. Sienna X's mist has a 360-degree nozzle so you can reach all areas of your body and not your bathroom.
"It’s also great for topping up areas that fade quicker – hands, feet and face," says Carly Hobbs, Ambassador for Sienna X.
, £22, Sienna X, , £10.99, Garnier, , £46, Rodial, , £35, Guerlain, Airbrush Self-Tan, £24.95, Fake Bake.
A streak-free tan largely comes down to the prep, which is why primers have just as much business in the tanning section as the makeup aisle.
A tanning primer job? To avoid uneven-ness in dry or prone-to-streaking areas, such as the hands, feet, elbows, knees, ankles and wrists.
What's wrong with using just a good old moisturiser, you ask?
"Your regular body lotions or butters contain oils, which will prevent self-tan from taking colour, resulting in either no tan or an uneven streaky finish," says Michaella Bolder, Celebrity Tanner and Facialist.
"A primer will normally be aloe vera base with no oils, allowing self-tan to penetrate through the moisturiser, leaving behind a lighter finish and even tan." The result? No more darkly stained elbows to give your tanning game away.
, £9, Sienna X,
, £9.99, Skinny Tan
, £8.50, Marks & Spencer
BYE BYE BLUNDERS
If you like to be tanned around the clock, you'll know the bugbear of scrubbing your skin red raw so you can tan atop a clean slate.
But since Bondi Sands launched their Tan Eraser, removing the residue of last week's colour has never been easier. As long as you've had your original tan on for three days, it should just take five minutes of wait time and a quick rinse to remove every last trace. The initial release sold out in Boots left, right and centre because it was so effective.
The best part? It works with all types of tans, not just Bondi Sands. Other brands are starting to follow suit, but the original has blown most competition out of the race.
Watch this space...
, £14.99, Bondi Sands, , £13, South Sea.
Sometimes a gal just needs a tan and she needs it now, which is where instant lotions come to the rescue.
The best thing about these bad boys is the way they can instantly cover small imperfections by blurring their appearance. Red spots? Bruises? Cat scratches? All of these are vastly improved when covered in a cheeky coat of colour.
Many these days also contain moisturising properties, so you can hydrate and bronze in an easy swipe. Most are transfer-resistant, but it's still a good idea to wait until your limbs are dry to the touch before dressing.
Ready to get your glow on?
, £29.95, Vita Liberata, , £7.99, Garnier, , £19.50, Ameliorate.