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Our top 3 sunless tans for any budget…

When your roots are screaming at you and you don’t know when you will next get to the hairdressers, it seems a bit of fake tan can make all the difference. I was facetiming one of my most manicured friends the other day and her hair was looking really good and her roots barely visible. I complimented her on her hair and she replied ‘thanks, I fake tanned last night!’ This response didn’t seem entirely relevant; she then explained her theory and I tested it for myself…it is true, for whatever reason, my roots look significantly better on days when I have used a bit of sunless tan. With this in mind, Philippa and I thought we would share our top 3 favourite tanning products for the face…there is an option to suit any budget, so make yourself a cuppa and have a read X

Garnier Ambre Solaire Natural Bronzer Self Tan Dry Face Mist (£8-11)

Some of you may know by now, but of the two sisters, I am usually the one scouting around for a great product at a really affordable price point. Camilla won’t mind me saying that she is more likely to head straight to the well-respected, and often more expensive brands. However, I just can’t help getting a thrill out of finding an affordable product that I love and then championing it to friends and family who are usually very grateful for my finds! This isn’t to say that the products are always better or even quite as good as some of the top luxury brands, there is usually a trade-off, but often one I am prepared to make!

The world of fake tans is a risky business for trialling products at the lower end of the price scale, and as someone who has provided many laughs to friends for an inability to apply fake tan without streaking and patches, I have had my fingers burnt (and looking distinctly orange) many times!!
However, I have been really thrilled to have hit on Garnier Ambre Solaire Natural Bronzer Self Tan Dry Face Mist, and in fact their entire range of self-tans mists, because, I have found them almost fool-proof, which is no easy feat for self-tanning products!

Sure, the packaging is very high street, and it won’t win any shelfie points but it’s what’s inside that counts here. It does have a fake tan smell but it has a more pleasant overtone than many, and it’s not so much a biscuity smell as a ‘holiday’ smell, which I really don’t mind.
The colour is really natural, it genuinely looks as though I am lightly sun-kissed, and allows for shame free, make up free days, which is wonderful for someone who is naturally rather on the pasty side…

However, for me, the best thing is the application that takes seconds, and seems to be so hard to mess up! The tan comes in an aerosol, and I tend to apply it after a morning shower and quick exfoliation of the face with a muslin cloth (I use my exfoliating acids in the evenings). I hold it about 20-30 cm from my face and with hair tied back and a beauty band, I work across the face in horizontal movements, down to my neck. If I want to look extra sun-kissed, I do the same in vertical lines at the same distance. You can then wipe your eyebrows gently with cotton wool, although in truth, I haven’t noticed any problems when I don’t do this.

I am someone who is notoriously impatient, I am always that person who smudges their nails before they’ve even left the salon, or puts my clothes on too early after leaving a fake tanning booth and yet, with this product, I haven’t had any mishaps! It dries fairly quickly and transference onto fabric seems very minimal.

The resulting tan develops over 2-3 hours and wears off gradually over 3-4 days, but not in a patchy way. I always moisturise night and morning so no doubt this helps the tan wear off in a more natural way.

At around £8.50 a bottle (0.11 per ml), I heartily recommend this product to those on more of a budget. All things considered, I think you would struggle to get a better product for the price and as application is hands-free, not a tangerine stained palm in sight!

Review by Philippa

Amanda Harrington Buff & Bronze Kit – 3 Step Face Tanning (£60)

I liked the sound of the Amanda Harrington sunless tanning products from the get-go – bespoke tanning ‘tints,’ applied with a brush…so no more tan stained mits kicking around in the bathroom cupboard; instead the tan comes with a sophisticated looking brush (that looks exactly like a mens shaving brush) the bristles are cut at an elegant angle, which fills you with immediate confidence that this brush knows what its doing.

Along with the brush, the face tan kit comes with a pair of black latex gloves, a pre-colour primer and the main event – the ‘illuminating bronzing mist.’ It’s a good looking bagful – it looks expensive and it feels grown up.

The first step in the process is to apply a thin layer of the pre-colour primer to the face and neck; this is supposed to ensure an even colour and prolong the duration of your tan. It contains collagen and hyaluronic acid to keep the skin moisturised, vitamins A&E to plump and firm the skin, aloe vera to smooth, soothe and prime the skin ready for the tan – we’re only at stage 1 and it’s already sounding pretty good. Amanda stresses the importance of washing your hands after the application of the primer because it contains low level tanning agents – I do wonder why she doesn’t advocate whacking on the black gloves in advance of this stage, presumably that’s what they’re there for…

Camilla SmithNext up you put on the gloves, and spray some tanning mist onto the back of your gloved hand…dab with the brush and then, starting at the jaw line, you ‘buff’ the tan onto the face in circular motions. Amanda advises taking a ‘less is more’ approach to the application (solid advice with any tan application I would say…I am including a picture of myself taken back in the early 00’s to prove I learnt this the hard way).

Finally, you are directed to use some tan on the brush to ‘contour’ the face – blending under the cheekbones to give definition etc. etc. I have to say this final stage is one that takes a bit of practise and I have found it helps to pretend you are applying a standard bronzing powder, as the thought of a duff fake tan application makes me so anxious I tend to really over think it.
The tan comes in 3 tones, I went for ‘natural rose,’ – my skin is fairly pale, but I think next time I’ll go for ‘natural honey,’ as the tan is subtle and I think my complexion could take a little more colour when the summer finally comes. It sounds like a bit of a palava, but weirdly in practise it doesn’t feel that way, it is pretty quick once you’ve done it a few times…and the application process feels more reassuring than a standard mousse or spray – it feels like less of a gamble that you’re going to wake up the shade of me in the photo in my early 20’s (to put that photo into context, it was my first ever professional spray tan and the lady in the spray tan shop neglected to tell me you’re supposed to shower off a fake tan once it’s had time to develop- literally mortifying…).

I love this tan for lots of reasons, the brush application means it really is very difficult to end up with streaks…or orange brows. The tint is a really natural colour, subtle and sun kissed, rather than ‘you look great, did you fake tan last night,’ which is often the response you get (or give) with standard tans. I have only tried the face kit, I would be interested to try the full body set, although I reckon buffing the tan onto your whole body may take some time…but, if it’s anything like the face tint, the streak free results would be well worth it.

Review by Camilla

Tan-Luxe THE FACE (£35)

I first discovered Tan Luxe Face when l was on an Easy Jet flight to Portugal a few years ago; I’m a sucker for an inflight purchase and this looked intriguing. A face tan concentrate that you add into your usual daily moisturiser, serum or oil, via a little dropper – it’s really as simple as that; 1-2 drops gives you a natural glow, 4 drops for a golden look and 8 drops for sun kissed (I’m not sure I would ever go full on sun kissed – I suspect 8 drops might have you edging dangerously close to sun kissed shades of orange). I’ve definitely found times when I’ve gone a bit gung-ho with the application and added more than the standard 2-3 drops I usually go for and regretted it.

These drops have been a staple in my ‘how to look natural/like you haven’t made an effort and you’re not wearing any make up’ tool kit since I purchased that first in-flight bottle. They really are nothing short of genius (particularly for the low maintenance consumer who doesn’t like to faff)…it takes literally zero extra time and the results are brilliant. In the winter Tan Luxe Face is a particular winner, when your face is the only thing out for public consumption – oh, and the bottle is small, so it’s easy to pop in your wash bag and take anywhere…I feel a world without this product would be a sad place, and that’s no exaggeration!

Review by Camilla

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