Fake Tan 101: Different Products for Different Results

I think it’s safe to say that I am a fake tan enthusiast and proud to be! I have a whole drawer dedicated to the stuff.

Sometimes, it can be quite challenging and intimidating to navigate your way through the countless shelves at your nearest chemist or beauty store, but do not make the mistake in thinking that “one size fits all”. You wouldn’t use 1 makeup product for your whole face now, would you? Well, this also applies to fake tan. There are different products designed for different looks, and are to be used in different ways.

Now I know the sceptics out there will say “it’s just a marketing ploy and you’re falling for it!” but they are wrong. There is a lot more to fake tan than meets the eye.

If you take a look at the other blogs on my website, you’ll find that I have written a whole blog on how to pick the best fake tan for you and the best way to apply it. This blog is all about using different products to create different results. I have made it totally easy for you to decide which fake tan is perfect for what you are looking for, by dividing them into categories. I have put my favourites at the top, followed by other and more cheaper alternatives where possible.

These blogs are from my own personal experience, as I have tried and tested these all myself.  You are welcome… Now if you’re the type of person that loves fake tan but doesn’t want to waste time or money testing out different products until you find the one you love, or if you have been using the same product for some time now, and think it’s about time you switched things up, then carry on reading – I’ve got your back girl!


Isle of Paradise Mousse – Dark

No matter the time of year, if I’m hitting the town or going out for a posh meal, I love being tanned! My girlfriends and I believe ‘going out out’ is the one exception where you can slap on as many layers of fake tan as your heart desires, and no one bats an eyelid.

My favourite tan at the moment for a really deep bronze is the Isle of Paradise dark mousse! (It’s the one in the purple bottle). I like to apply at least 2 layers of this all of my body – or wherever gets seen… why waste it ay – ALWAYS AVOIDING my face. I apply it right up to my neck, but I never ever touch my face with it, I learnt that lesson the hard way!

Mousse’s tend to dry out your skin more than lotions or fake tan water would. Although lots of mousses these days are developed with hydrating ingredients, it’s better to be on the safe side and it’s essential to always moisturise before you apply, and while you are wearing fake tan to maximise its longevity.

St Tropez Dark Mousse – Dark

I also love the St Tropez dark mousse! I always tend to go for the express tan, as I like knowing that if I’m having a lazy day I only need 3 hours for it to completely develop. The mousses will be your best bet for achieving a great deep bronze, as you can really build these products up well by applying as many layers as you wish. Most self-tans will take between 6-8 hours to develop and then you will need to wash it off. (Always check the bottle as they should always come with instructions).


Isle of Paradise Self-tanning Drops – Dark

One way to get ahead of the crowd and to keep all the rumours about fake tan drying out your skin at bay, is to use these bad boys!

The Isle of Paradise self-tanning drops are great because they are so easy to use and allow you to build up the colour until you’ve reached your desired bronze-ness! You can use these for just a hint of colour, or for more of an intense bronze tan. All you need to do is squeeze a small amount of your trusty face moisturiser into the palm of your hand, then add as many drops as your heart desires. Mix it all together and massage into your skin as you would with your every day moisturiser.

Top tip: make sure to go into the hair line and down onto your neck, to prevent any harsh lines which gives the game away!

The bottle should provide you with a guideline – they say to use between 1-12 drops, 1 being very a light amount of colour, and 12 being very dark. I use this day to day so I will normally use about 3-4 drops in my moisturiser. I have found if you use too many you can come out quite orange/dark so be weary and go slow, you can always add more! These come in the 3 different shades; Light, Medium and Dark, so once again you can pick accordingly.


Tanologist Insta Glow OR Rimmel Sun Shimmer Instant Tan

Whether you’re on the go and need a quick pick me up, or like me you’ve already applied copious amounts of mousse the night before and you want to add a final layer as the finishing touch, both of these are your go to. No doubt about it.

Rimmel Instant Tan offers 3 different shades; Light, Medium or Dark AND it offers the choice of being matte or shimmer, all while being totally cost effective! What more could you ask for? Whereas Tanologist’s Insta Glow has shimmer in it. Glow get em’ girls!

Personally, I think both are great. I love how with Rimmel you have a choice of the colour intensity plus matte or shimmer, but I LOVE Insta Glow as it just gives me that really strong colour I desire. I would say to be weary if you are slightly fairer, the Insta Glow has a very strong colour. Both of these are amazing products, Insta Glow is the more expensive of the two (£19.99) but you are getting what you pay for here! Rimmel is a lot more affordable at £6.99, it creates a beautiful bronze and I would definitely recommend this if you are on a budget.

How to apply: Both are also very easy to apply. They come in a squeezey bottle and I just squeeze a small amount onto my fake tan mitt and rub all over wherever I am tanning, making sure to blend all the lines and streaks in. I leave it to dry for a few seconds, I normally put it on before I put my makeup on so I can sit and let it dry completely and voila! A beautiful tan in less than 5 minutes!


Isle of Paradise Happy Tan

The Isle of Paradise Happy Tan is a lovely product, especially for winter!

I find when winter rolls around I still want to look glowing and healthy, but I don’t want to use a full-on fake tan, 1. Because I can’t bear to stand with minimal clothing on while I’m tanning as I’m far too cold and 2. Because it’s obvious if you rocked up to work with a lovely deep tan, that chances are, you didn’t pop to the South of France the night before! So, this is a lovely tan to take the edge off that winter dullness all of us fall victim to.

This is a moisturiser as well as a tan all in one, so not only is it giving you a lovely colour, it’s giving your skin that much needed hydration.

How to apply: Fresh out of the shower I apply this all over to wherever I want to have a bit of colour, rub it in like I would my moisturiser and you’re done. You do have to be careful, so for about 5 minutes I would advise you to sit in a baggy t shirt, or if you are going to bed just chuck on your pjs because you need to wait for it to dry before putting on your clothes. But, this product is amazing as you can build it up to have a really lovely strong colour. It does advise you on the bottle, but it basically just says to use it every day until you’ve achieved your desired colour, and then use every other day to maintain. How easy it that?!


Tanologist Self Tan Water – Dark OR St Tropez Self-tan Purity Body Mousse

These tans are great for when we are hitting the summer months and you want something that’s easy to apply, and also gives you a really beautiful yet subtle glow. Enough for someone to say “you look well”, and these products can achieve just that. Tanologist’s Self Tan Water can be built up for a really lovely even tan. Say you have a festival or a pub lunch, I would apply just a few layers of this on my skin and it’s perfect. All you have to do is spray your designated area with the tan and rub it in with a mitt making sure to blend it all in, wait for it to develop and wash off. The great thing about this, is that you don’t have to worry about it drying as it dries instantly, so you could go out the second after you’ve applied and just let it develop throughout the day.

Whereas, St Tropez self-tan Purity Body Mousse really does just give you a subtle glow. On the bottle it says its aim is to basically make you the colour you would normally go after a few hours in the sun. For me that’s still very pale! But for others it may be more, but that’s why I think it’s perfect for a casual day out as it looks so natural! People can’t tell if you have applied fake tan or not!


Tanologist Overnight Tanning Treatment

This is very new and so far, I have only seen one brand put this out which is Tanologist. Now I LOVE using oil overnight, if you have read my skincare blog you will know I am obsessed with Bio Oil. I just think it’s the best thing for your skin. So this sounded like an absolute dream to me!! On the bottle it says to apply up to 7 drops of the Tanologist Overnight Tanning Treatment to your face, massage in circular motions, and then go to sleep with it on.

When I first bough this, I couldn’t wait for it to be bedtime just so I could give it a go. I woke up the next morning jumped out of bed and ran to my mirror. Now I must admit, I was expecting a little bit more. I used 4 drops overall on my face because I wasn’t sure how strong it would come out and I thought I’d be careful, but I definitely could have got away with more. So, the following night I applied the full 7. Woke up the next day and definitely had more colour. I think what’s nice about these drops, is that you can use them every night and they do give you a nice healthy glow, enough of a tan to be able to get away without wearing makeup, but not too much that you can’t keep applying every night.

So there you have it, my full guide to fake tan. Be sure to check out all of the products I’ve mentioned, and let me know what you think in the comments!