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Thursday, 8 May 2014

My Top Five Skin-Friendly Fake Tans

With the enticing promise of summer and the unyielding fear of pasty thighs tormenting us, many of us are reaching for the (fake tan) bottle as a ‘safer’ way to achieve that glamorous, sun-kissed look.

But just how safe is this seemingly innocent alternative to a detrimental dose of sizzling sun worship?

The sorry truth can be found upon looking at the ingredients lists of these synthetically fragranced creams, gels and lotions, which can contain harmful chemicals that can affect the health of our skin.

Parabens, artificial fragrances and even formaldehyde can be found lurking within the gloopy formulations of our favourite bronzing products, and have been proven to cause numerous health problems including hormone imbalances, rashes and even cancer.

In search of the perfect sun-kissed look without the barrage of unnecessary chemicals, I opted to take an even safer route to a glorious golden hue by testing tanning products that contain much kinder ingredients.

Here are my top 5...

Karora Express Bronzing Mousse 150ml, £25.43 8/10
This botanical badboy of the natural tanning world contains hydrating aloe vera, acai extract and grapefruit peel oil  for streak-free bronzing and silky smooth skin in a flash. I prefer to apply this before bed as it is tinted and feels sticky on my skin - but after showering, I am left with a stunning natural shade of brown which fades evenly after one week. Colour can be washed off after one hour for a lighter shade.

The result – An even, golden tan after one hour, which darkens after three hours (and more so overnight).

Tan Organic Self Tanning Oil 100ml, £24.99 8/10
I discovered this EcoCert approved organic dry tanning oil at The Urban Retreat beautique's fantastic natural beauty event and have been hooked ever since. A decadent blend of antioxidant-rich argan and borage oils, this toxin-free self tan is the perfect choice for those who crave a subtle wash of colour rather than a full-on ibiza-esque leathery tan. When I apply this natural zesty concoction after a hearty dose of exfoliation in the shower, it sinks into my skin effortlessly and develops into a natural hint of colour overnight. Note - I awarded this product 8/10 as the result was not dark enough for my exotic tanning tastes. If you are happy with a lighter shade, this amazing oil is a perfect 10.

The result – Non-greasy oil leaves a subtle bronze glow after five hours. 

The first self tan to be certified organic in the UK, this nourishing lightweight lotion contains the self tanning ingredient DHA, which has been derived from sugar rather than harsh chemicals. I like how the non-sticky lotion quickly blends into my skin and leaves it deliriously soft to the touch due to its skin-conditioning organic ingredients, which include rose geranium and sandalwood oils.

The result - easy to apply organic formula creates a light brown hue after 3 hours and fades perfectly.

For All My Eternity Spray Tan - Medium to Dark, 250ml, £24.99 9/10
Perfect for those who prefer a deep, chocolate brown tan, this lightweight dark liquid spray applies and blends with ease - just like a professional spray tan. I love how this product smells of almond macaroons and that you can see exactly where you have sprayed due to its rich guide colour. Although it contains an array of skin-nourishing antioxidants and organic essential oils and is paraben-free, I have awarded this product a 9/10 only because it is the least natural of the bunch. Otherwise it would have gained a 10 as the result was truly outstanding.

The result - wake up to an strikingly intense, natural looking tan after a professional style application before bed

Vita Liberata Deeper Deep Untinted Self Tan Gel - Dark 200ml, £22   10/10               
Glossy-locked Made in Chelsea star Ollie Locke’s deep mahogany hue is the sultry result of this paraben-free product, which contains skin-plumping hyaluronic acid and plentiful organic ingredients such as skin-beautifying grape seed extract and soothing shea butter. I love applying this non-greasy, untinted gel after my morning shower with their easy-to-use tanning mitt and watching as the colour develops towards the end of the day - perfect for those glitzy after-work soirees.

The result – Untinted so will not stain clothes and develops into a beautiful golden brown shade after 6 hours 

Before and after using Vita Liberata's Untinted Self Tan Gel

Disclaimer: If you are seeking a good fake tanning product that does not leave the dreaded 'biscuit' scent, you will be searching a long time. All of the products reviewed by me did indeed leave me smelling like a naughty digestive, yet after showering and applying my favourite body cream the smell was no more, so worry not.


  1. Hi Mitra! Trying again because it published my comment with an old username... I tried the Tan Organic one and thought it smelled of lemons more than anything. Perhaps my mint-scented bath scrub counter-balanced a biscuit smell? (And like you I wish it came up darker, but thought it was perfect for a winter between-holiday look.) xxx

    1. Hi Katie! I do love the tan organic product as I love using body oils! It did smell really lemony and fresh I agree. I will be using it after my holiday to keep my tan 😊

  2. just a fantastic and very useful information you've shared.. very helpful.. keep posting in future!

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