Top up time: Get the glow-how on best fake tan for you
Whether you’ve got minutes or weeks to prepare, there’s a self-tanner that’s perfect for you, writes Katie Wright
Let's face it, sunbathing in the UK is generally only possible on about 1.5 days of the year - so if you want to get golden, you're going to have to enlist some help.
But you won't have to go far. This season, there's a whole host of new bronzing and sunless tanning solutions that will have you glowing in no time.
From one-minute wonders to week-long prepping products, here's our tan-tilising guide to faking it ...
IF YOU'VE GOT ... ONE MINUTE
For a super-speedy tan boost, bronzer is your best friend. Clarins Aquatic Treasures Summer Bronzing Compact, £30 (right), (www.debenhams.com), is a super-sized powder palette composed of three complementary earthy hues plus a shimmery golden highlighter, so you can add definition with the browns, or sweep a big kabuki brush over all four.
Benefit's Hoola (above) is the UK's bestselling bronzing powder, but now they've invented a liquid version called Dew The Hoola, only available as part of the Benefit 5 Piece Do The Hoola Kit, £23.16 (www.qvcuk.com). Use it alone or on top of your foundation for a subtle sheen.
IF YOU'VE GOT ... 10 MINUTES
An all-over spray tan is best left to the professionals, but the latest at-home innovations are easy-peasy to use.
Givenchy Croisiere Brume Bonne Mine Powder Spray, £33 (right), (Escentual.com), dries to a silky matte finish, the density of colour can be controlled depending on how far away you hold the nozzle. Use it as a base by blending in with a foundation brush, or add a light spritz over your face and decollete if wearing a shoulder-baring top.
Diego Dalla Palma Spray On Tights, £16 (above), (www. marksandspencer.com), is a great quick-fix solution for pasty pre-summer complexions, and not just for legs. Spray on evenly for a hint of colour that easily washes off.
IF YOU'VE GOT ... ONE HOUR
Given 60 minutes to play with, you've got time to go for an all-over application - but need a product that gets to work quickly. Cocoa Brown 1 Hour Instant Tan Mousse, £7.99 (right), (www. superdrug.com) develops in one hour (but you can leave it for up to four) then washes off, and has a lovely Tahitian Gardenia scent - plus, it recently got the Instagram seal of approval from bronzed model Kylie Jenner, causing a Stateside sell-out.
IF YOU'VE GOT ... EIGHT HOURS
Tanning before a big party or wedding? You'll need to do some skin prep, starting with a non-oil exfoliating scrub.
"Next, ensure your hands, feet, elbows and knees are moisturised, as self-tan will cling to dry areas, whether it's wash off or not," says self-tanning expert James Read. "Make sure you've removed all body lotions, make-up and deodorant immediately prior to applying your tan, as this can affect the end result."
James Read Bronzing Mousse, £25 (above), (www.jamesreadtan.com) dries quickly, develops over three to five hours and doesn't need to be washed off.
IF YOU'VE GOT ... 24 HOURS
Applying self-tan the night before an event gives you one less thing to worry about on the day. But how to ensure even application?
"Always use an applicator mitt. This ensures an even, streak-free finish, without leaving the palms of your hands deeply golden," says St Tropez's tanning expert Jules Heptonstall. "Swipe the mitt up the body, starting at the feet and moving upwards to cover the whole body, gently buffing the product into the skin. When tanning hands and feet, don't add any additional product to the mitt, just use the residue from the body application, this will be enough for these areas."
For an overnight sensation, try Xen-Tan Dark Lotion Weekly Self-Tan, £28.99 (above), (FeelUnique.com), or Utan Nourishing Night Creme, £25 (right), (www.utanshop.com), which also contains toning and texture-improving ingredients.
IF YOU'VE GOT ... THREE DAYS
The latest innovation from tanning supremos St Tropez is the Gradual Tan In Shower Lotion, £14.50 (right), (www.boots.com), a creamy gel that helps you reach your optimum golden glow after three daily doses. After exfoliating, turn the shower off and apply the lotion as you would your usual shower gel, wait three minutes then rinse. The subtle colour develops throughout the day.
IF YOU'VE GOT ... A WEEK OR MORE
Seven days away from your summer hols? Swap your daily body lotion for a cream with gradual tanning properties, to boost colour before you hit the beach.
Melvita Prosun Self-Tanning Gel-Cream, £22 (right), (www.melvita.com), uses natural Erythrulose from cane sugar instead of DHA - the usual active ingredient - so you don't get that typical fake tan smell, while ESPA Naturally Gradual Tan, £34 (right), (www.espaskincare.com), contains shea butter, coconut and sweet almond oils.
BUY IT NOW
Following Cara Delevingne's floral painted piece at the Met Gala (which reportedly took 11 hours to daub) and countless celebs' Instagram snaps showing off their metallic fake tattoos, body art of the faux variety is clearly having a moment. Get in on the tat' action with Bohemian Jewellery Tattoos, £16.95 per set, perfect for accessorising an off-the-shoulder gypsy blouse or low-back dress (www. bohemianjewellerytats.com).