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The best self-tanners for fair skin tones

January 1 | 4 minute read

Best Self Tanners For Fair Skin Hero 16x9

Originally published on | July 12

Everyone deserves the warm, natural glow of a tropical holiday; the kind that boosts your confidence in a crisp cotton dress tenfold.

For the naturally fair (or anyone, for that matter) there’s no event, ‘casual’ Instagram post or outfit worth the risk of unprotected sun exposure. That’s where self-tan comes in.

While medium to deep skin tones have a little more leeway when it comes to successfully sporting a glowing self-tan, the wrong undertone, colour or formula can leave those with fairer skin looking streaky, spotty, green, orange or simply too far away from their natural hue. Subtly sunkissed is the end goal – and to make it as easy as possible to achieve, we’ve curated our best self-tanners for fair skin tones.

Easy does it: gradual tanner

Best for beginners, a gradual tanning moisturiser gives you the most control over how intense your self-tan appears, allowing you to slowly build your bronze throughout the week. There’s no sticky, linen-staining marination involved, and your skin gets a dose of hydration all over.

Our picks:

Take control: tanning drops

For even more control over the depth of your tan – and the convenience of a face that matches your body – reach for self-tanning drops. One drop mixed into your favourite oil, moisturiser or serum will give you a super subtle, colour-correcting glow; perfect if your skin shows veins or redness easily. The best part? If you’re ready to step up your bronze, you don’t need a whole new product – just add a few extra drops.

Our picks:

No prep necessary: glow pads

If smooth, even skin is the goal (with the perk of added bronzing!), try the Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pad for Body. Just like the brand’s iconic peel pads, these tanning towelettes are saturated with firming and exfoliating ingredients like glycolic acid, lactic acid and retinol to slough off dead skin cells and subsequently smooth away texture and dryness. There’s the addition of encapsulated DHA too, which provides time-released bronzing. This is glow and the dreaded tanning prep bundled into one easy step.

A new take on a staple: mousse

Let’s be honest – tanning mousses have been the catalyst for many a faux tan disaster in the past. The good news is that they’ve come a long way, with special thanks to brands like Elle Ferguson’s ELEFFECT. The brand’s signature mousse formula The Tan takes the guesswork out of colour selection with their single shade tan, designed to be beautifully buildable. Want an effortlessly natural-looking holiday glow? One coat is all you need. After a deeper colour? Layer up until you’ve achieved your desired tone. Packed with nourishing ingredients, it also smells like roses (unlike, well, almost any tan).

Our picks:

Quick smart: instant tan

Whether it’s an unexpected beach date or an impromptu invite that will have you pulling your trusty LBD from your wardrobe, there are occasions when time is of the essence. If you’ve been caught out without the time for a full tan prep (let alone the hours to wait for it to develop), never fear! Say hello to instant tan: formulations designed to give you a glowy hit of colour, minus the downtime. These tints apply just like a body moisturiser – although we’d recommend working them in with a brush or mitt for a perfectly smooth application – and then rinse off in water. No patchy fade or residue required. Bonus? They’re designed to be transfer-proof, so your skin gets the tint, not your outfit.

Our picks:

Related topics and brand tags

Body careTanningMoisturiserFacial oilBody Oil

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