December 07, 2020

Golden Girls: The Ultimate Guide To Fake Tan

Photography: Kristina Yenko / H&MU: Chloe Langford / Styling: Lucy Wood


Your ultimate guide to self-tanning the right way.

There’s nothing healthy about a tan. A faux tan, however? That’s a different story. Give your skin a sun-kissed glow – sans UV damage – this summer with these next-gen formulas and expert tips.

The Right Formula

With so many self-tan products to choose from, it’s easy for a lady (or gent) to become overwhelmed. Start by finding the right formula for your skin tone before worrying about the delivery method.

Let’s Talk Undertones

Every tanning product has a base colour to ensure a natural result on different skin tones, the most popular being peachy-red (fair skin), green (medium skin tones) and violette (olive to dark skin). 

Despite what brands will tell you, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to which base colour will suit you, says Natalie Papadopoulos, founder of The Parlour Room. In Papadopoulos’ experience, while these categories can provide a guide, don’t be afraid to break the rules. “It comes down to personal preference on what will also compliment your features, not just your skin tone.”


As a rule, fair skin tones will benefit from a formula with peachy undertones, like Isle Of Paradise Glow Clear Self-Tanning Mousse in Light, $42, to brighten pale skin and colour correct. St. Tropez Self Tan Purity Vitamins Bronzing Water Body Mist, $49.99 (pictured), is enriched with vitamins C and D to provide skincare benefits while giving skin a light golden glow.


Green-based formulas are the LBD of self-tanners; whether your skin is pale, dark or somewhere inbetween, a product with green undertones is a safe and popular bet. Elle Effect The Self Tanning Mousse, $44.95, is green-based for a bronze finish and get bonus points for its rose scent. Newcomer Mecca Cosmetica Sunless Goddess Tanning Mousse, $36 (pictured), leaves a sunkissed glow on all complexions and is oil-, sulphate-, paraben- and fragrance-free.


If you have olive to dark skin, a formula with purple or blue undertones, like Isle Of Paradise Glow Clear Self-Tanning Mousse in Dark, $42 (pictured), or Le Tan Uber Dark Self Tanning Foam Violet Base, $24.99, will even-out your skin tone and give you a really deep bronze colour without a hint of orange.

Want to know more about fake tanning? Click here to read the Summer 2021 issue of Gritty Pretty Magazine.


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