Beauty

Get A Summer Glow This Winter With The Best Fake Tan Formulas

Save your skin (please).

We don’t know about you, but when winter rolls around one thing we are sad to say goodbye to is our beautiful bronze that showed a summer well spent. 

And although we are very pro-embracing your natural skin colour be it pale or dark, sometimes you just want to give your skin that sunkissed glow. 

But don’t damage your skin in the pursuit of a bronze! There are plenty of fake tan formulas that rival the real deal and will keep you safe. 

Nailing a fake tan is frankly, an art. So we have not only found out the best formulas on the market to choose from, but we spoke with an expert, Jayde Houndalas, the founder of tanning brand SONTSE, who provided some tips and tricks on how to nail the perfect tan, every time. 

How to apply fake tan 

It may seem simple enough to slap some tan on and hope for the best, but understanding just how fake tan works will ensure you don’t have to go through that streaky, unblinded and poorly colour-matched fake tan stage – but don’t worry if you do, we’ve all been there. 

According to Jayde, “Preparation is key!” so there are some pre-tan steps to follow to ensure a flawless bronze. 

Exfoliate: Grab an exfoliating brush or glove and your fave body scrub during your next shower and give yourself a rub down to get rid of leftover tan and dead skin. 

“Our skin naturally sheds dead skin cells approximately every 7 days so [exfoliating is] key to ensuring the application is flawless and you get the greatest longevity from your sunless tan,” says Jayde. 

Hydration: Ensure to drink plenty of water and keep your skin hydrated in the lead-up to fake tanning. 

Colour match: Every skin tone is different, meaning no one fake tan will suit every skin. 

“[Understanding] your skin phototype and what colour depth is best for your skin will ensure you get the most natural result possible,” says Jayde.

fake tan
Celebs like Selena Gomez, Miley Cyrus and Kim Kardashian are all know for their love of the sunless tan. In fact Miley is a partner in tan brand Dolce Glow, and Selena is a fan! (Credit: Instagram /@selenagomez, @mileycyrus, @kimkardashian)

How to maintain a fake tan 

“Stay hydrated, moisturise every day – be careful with the moisturisers and body washes you use as these can speed up the breakdown of your tan if they are heavily oil-based,” advises Jayde on how to keep that glow you worked so hard for! 

How to remove fake tan 

Sometimes you need to know when to remove your tan. You can buy tan removers, or otherwise soaking in a bath or shower before scrubbing with an exfoliating mitt will help to remove fake tan. 

2024’s top 3 fake tan formulas

  1. Loving Tan Deluxe Bronzing Mousse Ultra Dark, $39.95 at Adore Beauty
  2. St Tropez Self Tan Classic Bronzing Mousse, $49.60 (usually $62) at ASOS
  3. Golden Hour Self-Tan Mousse, $44.95 at SONTSE

The best fake tans in Australia 2024

Best fake tans for olive skin tones 

If you’ve got olive skin, you’re probably an easy sun-tanner, and your veins might show a bit of green or teal. To keep your fake tan from going all orangey, go for one with a violet base. It’ll make sure your tan looks more natural and less Oompa Loompa.

best fake tan
(Credit: Loving Tan)

Loving Tan Deluxe Bronzing Mousse Ultra Dark

$39.95 at Adore Beauty

For olive-toned beauties, this is a great option to get a natural yet still noticeable tan that won’t leave you orange. Thanks to the violet undertones of the mousse, it will bronze and smoothen your skin, leaving you glowing. 

Beauty notes: 

  • Alcohol and paraben-free formula
  • Washes off in eight hours 
  • Quick-drying

Also available at: 

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bets fake tan
(Credit: Le Tan)

Le Tan Uber Dark Self-Tanning Foam Violet Base

$26.99 at Priceline

Created with olive skin in mind, this Uber Dark line from Le Tan comes in a range of base colours, but the violet is the best for those that tan easily under the sun. It’s fast-drying and the pigment in the mousse means you can ensure a full blend to avoid streaks. 

Beauty notes:

  • Violet base 
  • Fast developing 
  • Streak-free

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Best fake tans for pink skin tones

If you’ve got pink undertones in your skin, a green-based fake tan is your secret weapon. It will help even out your complexion, tone down redness, and ensure your tan looks au naturel. If you’re not sure about your undertones, a handy tip is to take a look at the veins on your wrist – if they seem bluish or purple, that’s a good indicator of those cool pink undertones.

best fake tan
(Credit: Tan Luxe)

Tan-Luxe The Body Self-Tanner

$32 at Sephora

A great option for pink undertones, these drops can be added to your everyday body moisturiser so you can customise your tan to suit your skin. It leaves your skin looking radiant and glowing as it is also packed with hydrating ingredients. 

Beauty notes: 

  • Includes ingredients like raspberry seed oil, vitamin E and aloe vera
  • pH of 4.5 to minimise smell 
  • Cellutone complex to stimulate skin firmness

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best fake tan
(Credit: St Tropez)

St Tropez Self Tan Classic Bronzing Mousse

$49.60 (usually $62) at ASOS

St Tropez is known for their high-quality formulas, but they’re a particularly good match for those with pink undertones as most of their products have an olive base to them. Best part? No gross fake tan smell! 

Beauty notes: 

  • Quick drying and non-sticky
  • No smell 
  • Lightweight feeling 
  • Long-lasting up to 10 days 

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Best tans for pale and light skin 

For all the fair-skinned folks out there, less sun exposure is the name of the game. However, if you’re craving that sun-kissed glow, there’s a way to do it safely.

Just a quick head’s up, having light skin doesn’t necessarily mean you have pink undertones. Your undertones can be warm, cool, or even neutral despite your fair complexion. So, when you’re choosing a tanning product, make sure it suits your unique undertones for the best results.

best fake tan
(Credit: Coco & Eve)

Sunny Honey Bali Bronzing Foam

$45 at Coco & Eve

Made with a green-grey base to reduce orange hues whilst blurring and perfecting your skin, this is a great option for pale skin types. It’s lightweight and not sticky, and it smells like mango and guava – yum!

Beauty notes: 

  • 100 per cent natural DHA 
  • Blurs pigmentation and skin imperfections 
  • Develops in two hours 
  • Colour guide to avoid streaks 

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best fake tan
(Credit: Eco Tan)

Eco Tan Invisible Tan

$35 at Sephora

Great for pale skin that wants a boost of bronze without going too dark, this self-tanning crème provides a golden glow without looking unnatural on your skin. 

Beauty notes: 

  • Australian made 
  • Certified organic, vegan and natural formula 

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Best fake tans for dark skin 

It may seem counterproductive to use fake tan if you already are blessed with brown and black skin, but there are actually plenty of benefits to trying out a fake tan anyway! 

Fake tan can help smoothen and even your skin tone, covering blemishes much like body makeup would. But it also helps provide that gorgeous glow, highlighting and enhancing. 

best fake tan for dark skin
(Credit: Bondi Sands)

Bondi Sands Technocolour Caramel Expres Self-Tanning Foam

$21.60 (usually $27) at ASOS

Tanning experts Bondi Sands recently launched their Technocolour line which includes the Golden Tone hue that is expressly made with deep skin tones in mind. It will provide a rich golden tone to your skin, counteracting dryness and imperfections. It’s an express formula meaning it will take only one hour to develop so you can get out the door ASAP. 

Beauty notes: 

  • Counteracts dryness
  • Fragrance-free and suitable for sensitive skin
  • Formulated with DermachromaticTM Colour Technology and electrolyte hydration 

Also available at: 

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best fake tan for dark skin
(Credit: Tanologist)

Tanologist Express Extra Dark Drops

$28.50 (usually $38) at ASOS

This is a great option for everyday use as you can add some of these drops into your lotions to help even skin tone and promote glow and hydration. 

Beauty notes: 

  • Extra dark shade 
  • Lightweight feel on skin

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Best fake tans for sensitive skin 

Tackling fake tanning with sensitive skin might sound tricky, but it’s doable. First thing’s first, do a patch test to check for any reactions. Opt for a tanning product designed for sensitive skin with gentle ingredients.

Jayde recommends “carrying out a patch test 24 hours prior to doing application to ensure you don’t get any irritation.”

“Understanding what you are sensitised to will help with selecting the right products that suit your skin as well.”

Make sure to exfoliate gently before application to ensure an even tan. And remember, always moisturise to keep your skin happy and hydrated.

best fake tan for sensitive skin
(Credit: SONTSE)

Golden Hour Self-Tan Mousse

$44.95 at SONTSE

Natural ingredients that can help counteract irritation and provide hydration are a great tool to fight the sensitivity of the skin. The Golden Hour self-tan is packed full of Aussie ingredients like Kakadu plum along with vitamin W, B5 and coconut oil to keep your skin happy. 

SONTSE have received certifications to ensure their products are allergy-safe, toxic-free and made safe. 

“In addition, we are Australian-made and owned and PETA globally certified which means we are vegan-friendly and don’t test our formulations on animals,” says Jayde. 

Beauty notes: 

  • Violet-base 
  • Vegan, cruelty-free and PETA-certified 
  • Allergy-certified 

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best fake tans
(Credit: Luna Bronze)

Illume Tanning Water

$39.95 at Luna Bronze

In a lightweight tanning water formula, this fake tan will give you a sunkissed glow without the damage. You can use this every day to provide a light to medium colour but the hydrating ingredients won’t leave your skin feeling irritated or pores clogged. 

Beauty notes: 

  • Natural and organic formula
  • Versatile applications
  • Can be used as a setting spray over makeup 

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Best fake tan for your face 

Adding a facial fake tanner not only helps to keep your tan even but it will actually create such a glow on your skin you can almost substitute it out for foundation if you like the natural look. 

Fake tanning your face will even skin tones and conceal imperfections in a more lasting way than simply applying makeup. 

`best fake tan for face
(Credit: Isle of Paradise)

Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Face Drops

$47 at Mecca

Add a couple of drops of this self-tanning formula to add a lit-from-within glow overnight. You can customise the deepness of the tan depending on how many drops you use and it can actually help colour correct thanks to the green base. It also comes in a light or dark shade to suit everyone. 

Beauty notes:

  • Cruelty-free and vegan 
  • Ingredients include Coconut Oil, Chia Seed Oil and Avocado Oil 
  • Ideal for sensitive skin

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fake tan
(Credit: Three Warriors)

Three Warriors Face Tan Aqua Mist

$34.95 at THE ICONIC

Top up your face tan with this easy-to-use facial mist that you can spritz over your skin as the last step in your routine, only to wake up with an effortless bronze. 

Beauty notes:

  • Boosts complexion, evens skin tone and adds skin radiance 
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Certified organic, cruelty-free and vegan

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Best express fake tans 

In a rush or have you had last-minute plans sprung on you? No worries! Express tans can provide quick turnaround bronzing so you can feel your most confident whilst you go out. 

best fake tan
(Credit: Bali Body)

Bali Body 1 Hour Express Tan

$33.95 at Adore Beauty

No need to go tanless, or even sacrifice a good streak-free job just because you’re applying at the last minute. In one hour, yes one hour, Bali Body will leave you bronzed, healthy and fresh with their Ultra Dark Express formula. 

Beauty notes: 

  • Leave on for up to three hours for extra depth 
  • Includes nourishing oils to hydrate skin 
  • Seamless blend

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best fake tan
(Credit: Loving Tan)

Loving Tan 2HR Express

$59.95 at Adore Beauty

Receive a natural, olive-toned tan in two hours thanks to this bronzing mousse that is even and effective. You can even leave it on longer for further, deeper tan development. 

Beauty notes: 

  • Alcohol and paraben-free 
  • Professional strength tan 
  • Quick drying formula 

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Best gradual fake tan

For a truly natural glow that is on the more subtle side, a gradual tanner is usually applied like your everyday lotion only it will add subtle pigment and colour to the skin. 

Just remember to wash your hands after application! Been there, done that…

fake tan
(Credit: Luna Bronze)

Glow Gradual Tanning Moisturiser

$58.95 at Luna Bronze

Made from 98 per cent organic, natural ingredients this is a great gentle everyday moisturiser that can also provide that added bronze. Not only will it prep your skin with nourishing oils and ingredients, but for pale to medium skin tones it’s the perfect natural colour. 

Beauty notes: 

  • No fake tan smell
  • Realistic natural bronze 

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best fake tan
(Credit: Lamav)

Gradual Tanning Moisturiser

$34 at Lamav

For an ultra-subtle yet more olive-toned gradual moisturiser Lamav is a great option. Not only is it absolutely packed with good-for-you ingredients but it will also help to relax your muscles thanks to the bio-active magnesium! How innovative. 

Beauty notes:

  • All natural DHA 
  • Ideal for customising your tan
  • Includes Argan Oil, Macadamia Oil, Cranberry Extract and Green Tea Leaf Extract 

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