The Best Self Tanner For Every Kind Of Glow

If you’re all about working a golden glow, using a fake tan is always the way to go. After all, it’s quick, it goes on evenly and – above all – it’s completely safe, unlike sunbathing. So, swap the sunbed for our round-up of the best self-tanner solutions for every kind of glow, whether you crave a right-here-right-now bronzer or buildable colour that lasts…

For a Soft, Subtle Glow

You Need: A bronzer you can sweep over face and body, where the sun would naturally hit. Grab a multi-tonal palette, like the Radiance Brick, and a big, fluffy brush to help you get your glow on.

Do the Glow-Up: Swirl the brush around the palette to pick up all those shimmering, bronzy tones, then lightly dust over the tops of your cheekbones, your temples and the bridge of your nose. Next, trace it over your collarbones, shoulders and a little down the middle of your legs for a touch of radiant warmth that says, ‘I look this golden naturally. Honest’.

For a First-Time Glow

You Need: The fool-proof formula of a gradual tan, which is perfect for fake tanning newbies. Part instant tan, part gradual glow-getter, SunShimmer Instant Tan + Gradual Glow is the perfect in-between. It delivers an instant tan while developing a subtle glow underneath that builds with every application.

Do the Glow-Up: After exfoliating head to toe, squeeze the formula onto a tanning mitt, then smooth it over your legs, arms and anywhere you need an extra glow. Once it’s on, head out with the girls, watch TV, go on Insta… do whatever you like; your instant tan will be looking flawless while your gradual tan works its radiance-boosting magic. Want to go more bronzed? Simply reapply daily until you reach your ultimate glow goals.

For a Need-it-Now Glow

You Need: An instant tan that was basically made for last-minute parties. We love the OG cult-classic SunShimmer Instant Tan Matte, which comes in three shades: Light, Medium and Dark.

Do the Glow-Up: Use a fake tan mitt to smooth the bronzing gel over arms and legs, and you’ll get a sheer veil of believably-bronzed colour you can easily layer up for depth. It also works well as a makeup base; use it in place of a primer or mix a drop with your foundation to perk up a tired complexion with zero streaks or fuss. The dream.

For a Sun-Drenched Glow

You Need: A weekly self-tanner, like SunShimmer Self Tan Mousse, for that ‘two weeks in the Caribbean’ effect. Unlike a gradual tan, it only takes one application to reach a deep, sun-drenched finish.

Do the Glow-Up: Exfoliation is a must, so get scrubbing with an oil-free body polish first. Then, grab that mitt again and apply the tanning mousse in smooth circular motions, section by section. It’s impossible to miss a spot with this tan, because the instant tint works as a guide colour, and the fact that it only takes two minutes to dry makes streaking a total non-issue. Once you’ve got it on, leave colour to develop for at least eight hours, then rinse off when you’re ready to reveal the dreamiest glow going. Seriously.

More Tanning Tips

Now, you’ve got your glow, why not enhance it with these easy, bronze-boosting tricks?

- Mix highlighter with an instant tan. Just a drop of Insta Strobing liquid illuminator adds a dose of shimmer to your tanning gel, helping even the most tired skin look seriously lit.

- Swipe on a coral lipstick. No lip shade upgrades a tan like this punchy hue. Try Stay Matte Liquid Lip Colour in Coral Sass or Oh My Gloss! Oil Tint in Contemporary Coral.

- Make your tan stand out with a mani. Gliding on a pale pastel nail polish - like an orange popsicle or candyfloss pink hue - makes your bronze glow appear deeper.

More of a dewy glow lover? Check out our guide to getting glass skin; the new ultra-luminous trend taking the Korean beauty world by storm.