This is the first time we’ve included these in the Beauty Bible Awards – and gosh, were we pleased with your results. Nobody should be fearful about using any of these to create a golden glow (even self-tan ‘virgins’ got on fine with most of them) – but if you’re still wary of being in any way ‘Tango-ed’, head off to the Gradual Tanners section.
GOLD AWARD Omorovicza Glam Glow
Definitely living up to the glam of its name, a great score for this lightly citrus-scented flip-top tube of self-tanner from a brand with its roots in Hungarian beauty traditions. Developing to a natural golden shade – reapply for a deeper tone – it counteracts the traditional drying effect associated with self-tanner via hydrating ingredients that include apple pectin, shea butter and plum kernel oil. If you’re after a double-duty product, Omrovicza (say it ‘Om-or-a-vits-ka’) suggest it can be used on the face, too – though we trialled it just as a body tanner.
'This looks amazingly realistic as if you had spent the day in the sun. Fantastic product that gives a very natural looking, subtle, golden glow and smells lovely. The creamy white lotion gets absorbed very quickly; I have been applying it before going to bed and I didn't notice any stains on my pyjamas or on my pillow, as I used it on my face as well as my body. It looks lovely’ • ‘This is really nice and feels high end. It is hydrating and quenching while not laying tackily on top of the skin like some products. It glides over the skin easily - not heavy or draggy. It feels easy to get an even application. It sinks in very quickly and there was no colour transfer to clothes or sheets. The colour is wonderful, a gentle light golden glow, not orange at all. I loved it and felt more stylish. As it faded, it didn't go patchy or tired looking. This is very good as I neglected to moisturise my arms and legs (all in the name of research of course – not that I was too lazy or busy!)’ • ‘This is one of the best self tanners I have used and when it runs out I will definitely replace it. It says to wait a few minutes before dressing and this was literally all you needed as it dried very quickly. The colour developed much quicker than l'd expected. l had a lovely colour in around four hours. It really suited my skin tone and looked realistic. I struggle to find fake tan products that suit my skin as some are so un-natural and others do not react on my skin and leave me with virtually no colour so l was thrilled with the results. I felt confident and healthy. Several people commented on how well l looked. An amazing product that now has a permanent place in my beauty bag’ • ‘I can’t believe how easy this is to apply, just like a body lotion. I could apply it, wash my hands, do something else for five minutes and then get dressed. By the time I got to work I had a lovely colour on my arms and legs. I would definitely recommend this as it gives a gorgeous colour on my very pale skin. This is my No. 1 self-tanning product now’
£37 for 150ml – click to buy
SILVER AWARD St Tropez Bronzing Water Mousse
Among St Tropez’s VAST array of self-tanners, we suggest you take a beeline to this tropically-scented, transparent, lightweight, entirely clear water-to-foam formula. There’s a YouTube video with a how-to of the application, if you’re intrigued to see how this works – but don’t worry about its apparent invisibility because it leaves ‘light gleam’ that acts as a guide to where you’ve applied it. It’s non-sticky and non-transfer – and the idea is that with just one application you’ll have a medium golden glow that lasts for days. (They do recommend using with an applicator mitt, and moisturising daily to ‘lock in’ the tan for longer – and avoid getting skin wet for eight hours after application.)
‘Easy to apply with a tanning mitt (not included); If you are new to tanning this might take a bit of practice but it was fine for me. It has a lovely fresh fruity smell and very pleasant to use. It dried very quickly. I was impressed that I only had to stay undressed for ten minutes or less – no more walking round like a naked zombie for ages. It didn't rub off on my clothes. It gave a light, natural looking tan, which took away the white look on my light, freckly skin. It made me feel confident to have more healthy-looking skin, happier to expose legs (and light coloured clothes look better). You must follow the usual tanning steps of exfoliating and moisturising first’ • ‘This is a fine mist which turns to a foam or mousse on application. There is no tackiness and virtually no waiting time. I am very fair so it was quite a shock to actually achieve a realistic golden colour. The effort involved was minimal. It was refreshing to use and made me feel more confident because I had some colour. It promised natural looking, glowing skin and this is what it did’ • ‘It’s a lovely light white mousse so there’s no tan colour on application which means you can’t see where you’re applying it, but it has a “gleam” to it, so you can see where you’ve been. I’m a virgin fake tanner and had heard horror stories about fake tan dripping on the floor and staining bedclothes etc. but with this there was no colour transfer. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to apply. It gave me a light golden tan, similar to the colour of my own skin after I have been in the sun’ • ‘The first game-changer for me was that it didn’t smell as though you'd applied fake tan. I loved the unique way that it changed from a liquid to a light mousse when activated; this has got to be the easiest and most foolproof tanning product I have ever tried. Not a streak in sight and is so easy to build up into a stronger tan by daily use. I've already got a few of my friends onto this product. I'm so impressed with the fact that you could get dressed almost straight away. If applying before bedtime you don't have to worry about it transferring onto the bedding.’
£31 for 200ml - click to buy
BRONZE AWARD Vita Liberata Phenomenal 2-3 Week Tan
Surely the dream: a single application tanning product that you don’t need to top up for two to three weeks. Impossible? Not according to our testers, who highly rated this fast-drying, get-dressed-immediately long-lasting mousse. (Good for normal, combination and oily skintypes, they suggest – so if you’re seriously dry-skinned, this may not be the product for you.) It isn’t all-natural but includes certified organic extracts and something called ‘Odour Remove™’, for zero smell. There are three shades of ‘the world’s longest-lasting self-tan’; our lot got Medium rather than Fair or Dark.
'I absolutely loved this product, probably the best fake tan I have ever used. It was so easy to apply and the colour was so natural. Very very happy. The foam-based tan leaves a brown/bronze tint where it has been applied. I was happy that the product was easy to apply and did not drip anywhere or run, which was great news for the carpet!! It was easy to apply where I wanted the product to go, and easy to smooth across all areas. The only challenge is trying to apply the tan to my back. I end up in some very odd twisting arm position behind me to avoid white patches’ • ‘The tan says leave each application for 4-8 hours. I chose to leave for eight hours and sleep with it on overnight, then shower it off as directed the following morning. I was very pleased with the natural colour. I must admit I do feel more confident with a tan and it gives a more slimming appearance too. It faded very evenly and wasn't patchy at all. I had to buy an application mitt (£4) to put it on properly’ • ‘I had had one professional tanning session done some years ago that was very unsuccessful as it left the sheets and my underwear stained for days until washed. This was quick and easy to apply and miraculously left NO stain on my sheets or underwear. It has blended well to my skin tones and I think it excellent’ • ‘This has a tint so you can see where it’s been applied. It sank in quickly leaving my skin soft and smooth and I only had to stay undressed for five minutes. The colour is very realistic; it looked as if I had been on holiday for a week. I felt healthy and confident. A great product. It didn't irritate my skin, there were no patchy areas and it faded evenly. The only downside is that it should come with a mitt’ • ‘I have tried many self-tanning lotions, mousses, gels etc but all seem to end up getting streaky or going orange in places. I really love this product as it glides on easily and is not at all greasy. It is dry in seconds and gives a natural even tan. I love this product and it will definitely be on my birthday list, as I don’t want to be without it. One of two products I have tested this time that will go on my desert island list. LOVE IT and thank you for letting me try it’
£37.50 for 125ml – click to buy
BEST NATURAL AWARD Green People Self Tan Lotion
Over many years of testing this bottle of glow-getter has consistently impressed our testers – and here’s a great score again for a product that’s natural and certified organic, from one of the pioneering names in British organic beauty. The active tanning ingredient of the quick-drying, non-greasy product is a sugar-derived DHA, lightly and prettily scented with essential oils. You’ll see the glow within 3-4 hours, and they recommend reapplying every 3-5 days.
‘It’s really easy to use this smooth lotion, which has a really really nice natural scent. It sank in quickly and made my skin feel moisturised. I only had to stay undressed for about five minutes and there was no transfer at all on to my clothes or bedding, which was fantastic. In about three hours I had a really lovely natural looking tan. I am really overwhelmed that a product can deliver so well whilst having such an ethical stance and organic ingredients. It’s a game changer’ • ‘This is the first tanner I've used that’s not made me look orange or a bit ‘dirty’. This looked very realistic with none of that Made in Chelsea orange glow. I looked a lot healthier and felt less pasty. I was impressed with the staying power – about a week – and it faded evenly. I'm not over keen on the smell but the benefits outweigh any concerns I may have about that. Additionally it leaves your skin really well moisturised and fresh looking. I had no problems with transfer or rubbing off’ • ‘This is my first time using a fake tan and I am pleased with the look. To get the best results, I was advised that some preparation is needed. I shaved my legs, exfoliated and moisturised before trialling this. I would redo the process every other day to keep up the colour. I would buy this now’ • ‘I like that this product uses a lot of natural products and it is actually good for the skin. The tan was very natural so would be great for paler skin tones and for using in the winter months to gain a healthy glow. It’s probably not as suited to darker skin tones or for those who like a really deep colour’
£20 for 150ml - click to buy