Faking It: Under a Tenner

Summer is here…well, supposedly. In between bouts of rain the sun demands bare skin to be on show and for those (like me, I am literally like Casper) who are not blessed with naturally olive skin, it’s time to fake it.

Fake tan is so hard to get right though – do you spend a fortune on something you haven’t tried before because the reviews sound good or do you keep it cheap and risk the streak? Personally I find the whole process of tanning a bit of a nightmare. All the shaving, exfoliating, moisturising and waiting (at least 8 hours) drives me mad and that’s before you even start applying the tan! My pasty skin then seems to repel the idea of being bronzed and all my efforts to look like a bronzed goddess turn into trying to find a long sleeved dress and some black tights to avoid streaky embarrassment on the big night out.

However, after several years of experimenting and a few (a lot) of disasters, here are five super good value fake tans that require minimum effort and work even on me…

1. Fake Don’t Bake 99p – I know this sounds too good to be true but don’t let the price put you off this product. It looks like a thick moisturiser and applies so easily because you just rub in it like a cream then leave it to develop. The only downside is that you can’t instantly see how it is going to look before it darkens on your skin but it’s almost impossible to go wrong with it and if you want to go slightly darker, just apply another layer! You don’t even need to use a mit with FDB – just carefully wash the palm of your hands afterwards and you will be free of orange hands! It lasts a few days and does tend to go a little patchy as it fades but nothing a bit of scrubbing can’t solve.

2. St Moriz £2.99 – A St Tropez (RRP around £20) copy and a pretty good one too. I have used both the mousse and the spray version of this product and I by far prefer the mousse.  It comes in three shades – light, medium, dark – and although it does require a little exfoliating around knees and elbows it is super easy to apply. It is fairly instant (you can see where you have applied it) but develops a little more over the space of a few hours and then it does require you to rinse off the excess. For that reason it is best applied the night before so you can grab a quick shower before you strut your tanned skin the next day!

3. Rimmel Sun Shimmer £5.99 – This is an instant tan and although I love it, it is best for a one time use (such as a night out) as it does wash off and quite easily. It applies well with a tanning mit but it does require a little bit of time and patience as rubbing too much will cause it to streak. It also has a really lovely shimmer to it which makes it perfect for a big Saturday night out – just don’t lean on the bar too often…

4. Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs £9.99 – So, I know the bottle states it is just for your legs but I will admit I have used to on my whole body before. It is sort of a mash up of tan and foundation as it does wonders for covering scars and imperfections on the skin. It sprays on and then it is best to use a mit or gloves to spread it evenly. It last a few days as long as you don’t scrub it off and it is fantastic for a last minute night out or bit of sunshine because it is instant and you don’t have to worry about your legs being perfectly preened because it will cover most things!

5. Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Gradual Tan £5.35 – This is by far my favourite of the gradual moisturiser tans. It builds up perfectly for a hassle free tan and doesn’t leave that nasty (biscuity?) smell than most tans do – it smells like the original cocoa butter and has the same scrumptious formula! Obviously, this isn’t the one if you’re in a rush and need a bit of colour instantly but it’s fantastic for maintaining a glow all summer.


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