Forget about the sticky, smelly, orange tans of the past. According to professional tan artist Nicole Hyatt, who’s the founder of Tan On The Run, an international luxury mobile spray tan service, advancements in the faux glow category have come a long way. “People are protecting themselves from the sun, but they still want a tan, so the evolution has come about because of demand,” says the expert glow getter whose clients include A-listers like Lady Gaga and Jessica Chastain. “With the improvements in formulations and the different delivery methods, there’s something for everyone.”
From mists to gradual tanners and drops to foams—there’s no shortage of ways to get sun-kissed skin that won’t involve baking in the sun. And why would you risk UV damage now, when faux tans look so real no one will believe it came from a bottle.
“You want to create a subtle luminosity, something that warms your complexion,” says Hyatt on achieving the perfect glow—but choosing the right formulation and application is critical to accomplish this. Hyatt’s mantra is less is more. “The goal is to look like you have a tan, but not look like it’s fake. So always go more natural especially if it’s your first time,” she explains. “Start light and gradually work yourself up.”
Some of Hyatt’s golden rules for a bespoke glow include hair removal and exfoliation 24 hours before application—she prefers a mitt rather than a scrub. Hyatt says a tell that you’re rocking a faux tan are patchy hands and feet. The fix? “Save these areas for the end and use any excess product left on your brush and buff it into your wrists and the sides of your hands to fade any obvious lines,” she explains, saying that applying solution directly to those areas can make it appear too dark. Finally, to extend the life of your tan, Hyatt says the secret is moisturizing. “I’m a fan of oils like coconut, just avoid creams that have water as the first ingredient.” Ready, set, glow!
The Best for Dry Skin
Made with hydrating ingredients like squalane and aloe, Vita Liberata’s newest faux glow delivers a flawless bronze shade using advanced encapsulated DHA (the secret ingredient in all self-tanners) technology which continues to develop over three days.
Vita Liberata Heavenly Elixir Advanced Tinted Tanning Elixir in Medium 200 mL, $51
The Best No Fuss Facial Glow
If you’re looking for a glow-getting product that takes minimal effort this mist is a must. The colourless, stain-free formula, which is infused with rose water, slowly gives skin a radiant tan—but its buildability allows you to control your desired depth of colour.
James Read Gradual Tan H2O Tan Mist Face 100 mL, $35
The Best Gradual Glow
Using a sunless tanner can be scary, especially if you’ve never done it before, but this ultra-hydrating gradual tanning body butter will not only moisturize the skin but develop a subtle glow. It uses colour-correcting technology to help even tone while leaving skin with an instantly illuminated finish.
Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Butter, 200 mL, $33
The Best Limited-Edition Drop
Supermodel Ashley Graham and iconic sunless tanning brand St. Tropez team up to create this glow kit that comes with a mousse and a mitt. The mousse’s whipped texture makes application a breeze for self-tanning newbies and veterans alike.
St. Tropez x Ashley Graham Ultimate Glow Mousse Kit, $72
The Best Glow Booster
Mix in four to six drops (which feel like a serum-oil hybrid) into your favourite body moisturizer. A gradual, natural-looking colour will develop overnight. These drops allow you to customize your tan intensity.
Clarins Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster for Body, $48
The Best Spray Tan
Applying lotion can be difficult on areas like your back, but sprays are ideal for covering those hard-to-reach areas. Hyatt created this ultra-fine spray for clients who wanted to touch up their bodies and refresh their faces. The brush is used to buff the product for a streak-free finish.
Oh So Organic Self-Tanning Spray and Instant Bronzing Mist, 200 mL, $45; Tanning Brush, $30
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