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This summer's pick of the best fake tans


With the weather getting warmer every day, it's time to crack out the tanning gloves once again for that golden, sun-kissed glow (hello, Jennifer Aniston). Here, Stylist's beauty editor (and self-confessed tan aficionado) Sam Flowers talks us through this season's best fake bakes, from the fast-acting to the long-lasting, luxury splurges and budget options. Enjoy and happy tanning!

Long Lasting

Sublime Bronze Self Tanning Elixir, £15.99, L’Oréal Paris

A PR slipped this to me over the table at breakfast one morning (yes, my penchant for tanning is that widely known in the industry) and I eyed it with suspicion. The idea is to apply this tanning serum three times on consecutive days and you’ll be left with a tan that lasts three weeks. Surely it was too good to be true. Actually, no. Their most intense tanning formula to date was also super easy to apply and dried in an instant. After two days worth of applications I was my desired shade so decided to leave it (alright, I forgot). Five days later I’m still a good golden shade so it’s looking good. Oh, and even better – it didn’t smell or transfer to my sheets. My husband gave it his seal of approval too.

Trusty Favourite

Delicious Self Tanning Cream, £23, Clarins

This is an oldie but a goody. In fact, I’m not entirely sure how long this has been around but I’ve been using it for a good few years. It’s packed full of skin enhancers, smells like chocolate and leaves behind a caramel shade on skin before developing into a really luxe looking shade. Like you’ve been holidaying somewhere where handsome waiters lay super soft towels on your sun lounger for you and then serve frozen grapes for you to snack on. It is quite sticky so not one to apply in the morning; you need to stand around the bathroom for about five minutes to let it sink in. But for a tan this good looking that’s perfectly acceptable.

Best for Face

Gradual Tan BB Pen, £21.50, James Read

Celebrity tanner James Read is the brainiest in the business when it comes to thinking up the quirkiest tanning offerings that you didn’t know you needed until they existed. This is a gradual tan in a clickable pen formula and NEVER leaves my make-up bag. Designed to enable you to brush the natural looking tanning formula up to the hairline, around the eyes and nose without ever having to use your fingers it’s perfect for applying post-gym or touching up on a weekend away. You just can’t beat this.

Luxe Treat

The Face and Body Gradual Tan, £65, Crème de la Mer

I know it’s kinda pricy but believe me on this one. I trusted it enough to wear this with a white dress. My wedding dress to be exact. Three days before my big day I had a Sienna X spray tan with James Harknett at the W Hotel (jamesharknett.co.uk) and to keep it looking fresh I moisturised post-shower with an oil-free moisturiser (He-Shi do a great one) every morning and every evening I applied a thin layer of this. It’s the exact same intensely hydrating formula as their Reparative Body Lotion but with a low level of the tanning ingredient DHA so it saturates skin in moisture whilst gently boosting radiance.

On a Budget

Self Tanning Mousse, £4.99, St Moriz

I went spinning with a work friend the other week and commented on how amazing she looked. Where had she been on holiday? To St Moriz she said. Actually, that was a (bad) joke. She had used this. I should have guessed. The proud owner of a Stylist Beauty Award, this budget buy literally gives the best tan. A secret weapon in many a beauty editor's bathroom cabinet.



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