The weather is heating up and things are opening up so we can see more people and go to different places and I don’t know about you, but I want to come out of lockdown with a glow!
Typically I’m not a fake tan gal, as I tan really easily in the sun and can maintain a bit of tan all year round, especially if we get a chance to go on holiday or have a warm city break. That being said, with 2020 causing us to all be stuck inside with no holidays and not much chance of catching any rays in my tiny garden, I’m probably the most pale I’ve ever been.
I used fake tan once or twice at uni and being on a student budget and there not being half as much to choose from in terms of fake tan as there is now, I went for St Moritz. It’s about a fiver and still is and the couple of times I used it, I really loved it.
I decided to grab a bottle when I was ordering something from Amazon last year so I could tan for my birthday in April and was pretty pleased with the results. Since then I’ve tried a couple of different fake tans because I wanted to see how the price points compare and whether the more you spend, the better the tan.
So I started off with the St Moritz tan and I use the colour dark. I find that this gives me a great tan the same colour that I actually tan, which is very dark and a quite golden/orange. My real tan is very orange so when fake tan is a little on the orange side it feels quite natural for me.
Overall I love this tan. I like the colour, I like having a guide colour so I can see where I’ve been and the smell once your tanned isn’t too bad at all. The thing I don’t like about this tan is that I struggle to stop my elbows from going super dark. I’ve tried so many different moisturisers and barrier creams and somehow my elbows are always pretty dark, but this is definitely due to my application than the tan itself.
The only other issue for me is having to leave the tan on for so long without washing the guide colour. I tend to tan at night and then sleep in my tan, but I find that even when I wear a specific dressing gown or pyjamas to prevent transfer, it still somehow gets on my sheets, on my clothes and well, everywhere!
After gaining some confidence and getting used to being glowy and tanned rather than the pale white I am at the moment, I decided to venture into other tan territory.
I went to boots and had a look at the brands and types of tan and decided to go for St Tropez Self Tan Express. This was £33 so a pretty big step up from £5, but I wanted to see if it made a difference and whether it was worth spending a little more. I liked the idea of the express, because as I mentioned the guide colour was staining my sheets and clothes so I thought I could just be careful for a couple of hours, wash and go!
I’m pretty sure there is a guide colour in this tan because I could see very slightly where I’d been, but it was nothing like the St Moritz. I loved the mouse formulation and how easy it was to apply. The tan developed over night after I’d washed it off and I was super happy with my results. I left it on for just under 3 hours which is the maximum time, giving you the deepest tan and although I was really pleased with the colour, it wasn’t as dark as the St Moritz, so if you want to be as dark as possible I’m not sure you can achieve this with this tan necessarily, but it certainly works for those looking for a medium to dark tan.
This was much better in terms of elbows, knees, hands and feet, which are my problem areas and probably everyone else’s too! I loved the coverage and how it lasted, but it had a fake tan smell that I couldn’t move past. I was aware that I had tan on because of the smell, despite it not being too overwhelming, my boyfriend mentioned he could smell it a few times but, I will say that after trialing a couple of others this ended up being one of the least smelling tans I used.
I got through my bottle of St Tropez pretty quickly because I found it so easy and convenient to use, so found myself tanning much more often than I ever thought I would (maybe once every two weeks or so). In my quest to find the perfect tan, I tried a Bondi Sands tan this time.
I tried Bondi Sands many years ago when I wrote my old blog with my friend Donna and she tried the Skinny Tan gradual tanner and I tried the Bondi Sands gradual tanner. I remember that tan being intense! It was more than a gradual tanner and definitely more for those who like a very intense tan very quickly so I kept this is my mind. I expected a dark tan and to be honest I expected great things because I’d heard great things about it from so many people.
I did love this tan in that it gave good coverage and smelt and felt amazing when I applied it. It wasn’t really like tan it was more like a rich chocolate mousse and it felt hydrating and smelt unreal! It wasn’t like fake tan at all and I had really high hopes after application and couldn’t wait to see the results the following day. The tanner I tried is the 1 hour express, which I think has very recently re-branded to the Aero tan, however you wash this off after an hour for a light tan, two hours for a medium colour and three hours for a super dark colour.
After showering I was pretty disappointed and this came as quite a shock to me. It’s likely that I was disappointed because I’d gotten such a deep dark colour from the previous two tans, but the colour was so subtle I couldn’t actually tell if it had made any difference at all. In some lights I could see a tan and unsurprisingly my elbows were very orange so I knew there was some colour somewhere, but I began to smell a lot like fake tan, which I’m happy to accept for a good tan, but the tan wasn’t worth the smell if I’m honest.
I want to try this tan again because I haven’t used it since and maybe need to be a bit more careful with the application process and not so soon after using a much darker tanner. I might even wear it overnight to see if the colour darkens over a longer length of time, however I feel like if you’re buying a product to tan more quickly, it should really be doing this.
Moving onto Isle of Paradise. Everyone on the planet seems to be talking about this tan and I’ve been wanting to get my hands on it for a long time, but I mainly wanted to try because it has no guide colour whatsoever. I felt like I wanted to wait and get a good grip on how I tan and get to know my routine before going in with no guide colour at all.
I have to say it wasn’t as weird as I thought going in with no guide, and I think that using the St Tropez, which has a very light guide colour was a good step in the no guide colour direction.
So application was pretty good, however the smell of tan was apparent, which I guess is to be expected when tanning haha. I loved sleeping with no guide colour because there was no staining or colour pay off on anything at all. When I woke up the next morning I was really impressed with the colour, but when I got out of bed and properly looked I was very orange. More so than I was expecting and definitely more orange than any of the other tanners had made me. I wasn’t too worried about this but then I saw my hands and was horrified!!
I don’t want to blame this on the tan because I know so many people who are tanning pros swear by Isle of Paradise, but I was so careful with my application and my hands had severe lines down the side of my palm and were so streaky. I tried using lemon juice and a lot of soap to get it off and used an exfoliating scrub but couldn’t get it to fade at all.
Despite being really orange, the tan was pretty good over the rest of my body and I felt very vibrant and glowy. I used the darkest colour as I usually do, so I’m actually thinking that the medium might be better for my skin and will give the same effect, just a little less orange. As I say though, my tan can be very orange so it felt like I’d been on holiday for a couple of weeks and was at the absolute peak of my natural tan, but it’s a little much for general use if I’m honest!
The final tan I tried was actually a bit of a whim. I had decided that the St Tropez was the best in terms of coverage and although it smelt quite strong of tan, I think it’s worth it for the colour it gave me, the way it wore, and the even coverage so had fully planned to buy another bottle and stick with that one. When I was in Tesco shopping for my essentials however, I thought I’d have a little browse at the fake tan aisle and was quite impressed with their selection. The bottle that caught my eye was the St Moritz Fast Tan because my biggest issue with the St Moritz was having to sleep in it, so I thought for one last time I’d give St Moritz a try!
This tan develops in 60 minutes for a light tan, 2 hours for a medium tan and 3 hours for a dark tan, which is the same as the Bondi Sands Express Tanning Foam and the St Tropez Express Mousse. Being able to wear it for a couple of hours is so up my street as I just can’t wait to get it off and find sitting around or going to bed in tan so uncomfortable.
After using no guide colour in my previous tan, I found the guide colour really weird to begin with, but very quickly remembered just how great a guide colour is for me and I found applying the tan super easily because of it. It was quick, easy and didn’t smell very strong either. I did wonder if it was going to be the same tan as the other St Moritz and that the ‘Express’ was just a marketing ploy, but the tan did apply slightly differently to the one I tried before, and it almost lathered when I was rubbing it in so I was careful to do strokes rather than a ‘lathering’ action.
As per usual I stood around in my birthday suit for 10 minutes or so and then put on a thin robe that I use specifically for when I’m tanning so it doesn’t matter if the guide or tan transfers over. I applied the tan a little later than I’d planned, so I ended up showering after about 2 hours rather than the 3 I’d planned, but I think this actually gave me a far more natural sun kissed look and I was surprisingly happy with the colour I ended up with. The next time I tan I’m going to leave it on for 3 or more to test out the super dark colour as this is where you can really see the effect on the knees and elbows and the very tricky hand and feet areas.
My hands and feet were probably the most even and well blended ever after using the St Tropez Express Tan. I was very careful to not get too much tan on my hands and feet as I can definitely be prone to piling it on and then thinking ‘what the hell am I doing’ when it’s too late! But even though I was a little more careful, I do tend to be as careful as I can and will typically find a streak, patch or super dark area on my hands and feet, but not this time! I also want to add that my tan didn’t smell AT ALL. Not at all. No sweet biscuit scent, nada. Not even the smelly tan smell you can get when you get a sweat on working out. There’s a part of me that wonders if it’s because I only left it on to the medium colour, but even still, I can’t imagine leaving it on another hour would make a great deal of difference.
The colour faded pretty evenly, but lasted a good few days before it started to fade away as a natural tan would do too. It was so affordable that if I end up having to tan a little more regularly to maintain a good colour, I don’t mind this at all. In fact, I’d rather tan more regularly and have the tan fade evenly, than have some much darker areas, next to broken up and snake like looking tan in other areas which just won’t budge!
So, I think this little mission to test a few different tans ahead of the summer has gone pretty well for me. I’ve tried a few brands, formulations, types and scents and I can safely say my favourite is the St Moritz Express Tan priced at a teeny tiny six quid! I literally picked this up in Tesco so it’s not only cheap but super easy to get your hands on and you can quite literally chuck it in your basket when you’re doing your weekly shop and you absolutely don’t need to break the bank to get a great summer glow. I love it because of the easy application, quick developing time, the fact there’s no horrible tan smell and the colour and even coverage of the final look after showering and the staying power and even fading.
A close second is the St Tropez Express Tan, because the colour was lovely and really natural, the staying power was good and the overall tan was even and my hands and feet looked great. The only issue for me was the strong smell which lasted the entire time I was tanned, and of course, the price tag being a pretty big jump up at around £35 depending on where you purchase it from.
The others are all worth trying, especially if you’re experienced with using a tan with no guide colour (maybe this will work a little better for me with another few tries), and I do want to highlight that everyones skin is so so different, and what works for one person can vary so much to the next. I’ve tried each of these tanners because someone has absolutely sworn by them, so they work really well for that person, they just might not be the tanner for me. My skincare routine is pretty thorough and I exfoliate regularly and moisturise everyday, so my skin is in great condition and that might effect how the tans work, smell and last on my skin (sometimes I think this helps my tan fade a lot quicker rather than soaking up all that colour and holding it for longer).
I’d love to know what tans are your favourite and whether you’ve tried any of the tans I’ve been using. Also if you have any recommendations that I haven’t tried or mentioned I would love to give something new a try so please let me know over on Instagram and I’ll give it a go!
Thanks guys! x