Beauty and the Beast: My favourite tanning products

With Vegas mere days away, my thoughts are firmly on the art of the tan. It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of fake tan and seeing as how my other beauty recommendation posts have proved popular, I figured I’d share with you my favourite products for getting mahogany-hued.

My favourite tan for usage at home is Sun Labs, who seem to be pretty unheard of. Their liquid tanner is the only liquid style that I’ve managed to use with any success. Specifically, I use Sun Express Tan which you can buy here. Use the sponge mitt and you won’t get any streaks or orangeness. This stuff is ideal for getting an incredibly realistic nice dark tan, so perhaps not advisable for those wanting subtle colour.  Other raves for home usage are Famous Dave and Xen Tan. I’ve linked to the exact products I use.

When I’m getting a spray tan, I cannot spout enough hyperbole about Xen Tan. The USP of this brand is that the products smell faintly of chocolate, but the only USP I care about is the lasting, realistic colour it gives. OK, so it doesn’t smell of biscuits which is always a bonus, but honestly I’d put up with that for how good the results are. It is the most natural olive tan I’ve ever achieved the fake way. No complaints, whatsoever. I also love Sienna X, which is a crap name and a bit of a mysterious salon brand but is really, really good. That’s where I’m going tonight for a pre-Vegas dose. I advocate everyone gets a spray tan monthly, just saying. Makes you feel about 1000 times better.

For instant colour, there are two products that I rate equally highly. First up is Fake Bake Faux Glo which is insanely good. Spray from a distance, your body looks better. It washes off in the morning, job done. I can’t rate it highly enough and use it before just about any event I attend. At the wedding this weekend it ran out half way down my back, ah what fun. The only time I’ve had any problems with it is when I’ve failed at application and sprayed it too close. When you do this, you get a brown spray-painted arm. Word of warning. The other vote goes to a surprising contender, Lee Stafford. Lee is a hairdresser and when I first heard he was launching this range I was a little perplexed as to how it would fit in with his existing range of hair products and why he’d bothered. Have the last few years taught me nothing? Hairdressers love a tan. When I asked him why he’d come up with it he explained that it was because he got spray tans every week and was fed up of them being shit. The spray is really good for instant colour and has the trademark amazing Stafford smell. One word of warning, you need to work fast with it or else it’s prone to getting patchy. I advise spraying on a mitt then applying.

The one thing I finish any tanning off with is a generous dose of Bobbi Brown’s body shimmer brick. Unfortunately, this was a limited edition but I got three before it disappeared so… Like her facial shimmer bricks, it makes you glow like the world’s healthiest individual and makes your skin flawless. I don’t know what I’ll do when my trio run out. Kill myself? Scour eBay? Luckily one year in, it’s not even showing any signs of wear so hopefully I’m safe for now.

I guess the last thing to mention is bronzer, which I wear every single pigging day. The best one I ever did use was Hard Candy So Cal Glow, but now that’s no longer with us (RIP), I use any or all of the following. Korres Colour Bronzing Powder (above), MAC in Golden and the utterly fantastic Benefit One Hot Minute.

Finally, some words of wisdom from my tanning pal Natalie Roche at Xen Tan (she really is the goddess of tan)…

  • Do any waxing treatment 24 hours before applying a self tan, shaving can be done the night before.
  • Exfoliate well before tanning, paying special attention to the heels, ankles and knees. Then moisturise well, again paying special attention to those dry areas, including the front of the calf which is often dry. Who knew?
  • Don’t clean your teeth after applying the tan — it will take off the colour around your mouth.
  • Carefully cover your body before scrubbing your hands clean when you’ve finished or you will get flecks.
  • Don’t wash your hair after applying to avoid splash marks.
  • Don’t take any strenuous exercise after either. As if. You want to avoid perspiring as this will affect the evenness of the tan.
  • Don’t forget to apply cotton buds to the eyebrows when you’ve finished, to avoid tanned brows.
  • Don’t forget to tissue between your fingers and toes and your nails otherwise they will go brown.
  • Don’t take the tan into your hairline.  If you have bleached hair it will absorb the tan. Can you imagine how bad that looks?
  • Don’t wear tight clothing or high boots after you have applied the tan as they will rub it off. I’d say avoid tights too if you can. Wear a maxi item!
  • Don’t put the tan on your hands and feet at full strength.  They are dryer than other parts of the body and they will absorb too much of the tan. Dilute with moisturiser.

Follow her full instructions here for a full body application; honestly even seasoned tanners can learn from Natalie.

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One thought on “Beauty and the Beast: My favourite tanning products

  1. I ADORE xen tan. After years of being a hardcore pale freak I tried it out last year on a whim and it just looked so good. I just looked so much healthier.

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