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15 of the best self-tans to suit your skin type and lifestyle

by Holly O'Neill
28th Jun 2018

Struggling to dress in the bare-legs weather with pasty legs? Shuddering at the thoughts of tights in this heat but also at the dangers and effort of streaky tan? Tanphobic or tanorexic, there’s self-tan available for everyone now. These are our 15 picks of the self-tanning products and paraphernalia to buy, whether you’re time-poor, tan-averse, tan-fixated, vegan, eczema-prone or broke. Side effects may include an elevation in self-confidence and a greater outlook on life.


Isle of Paradise Light Self Tanning Water, €24.99

For the perfect shade every single time, whether you’re pale or olive skinned

Isle of Paradise, the tan everyone is talking about – and available at Boots – was created by celebrity tanner Jules Von Hep, a champion of body confidence who was also the creator of the first tanning brand to have a plus size model in it’s campaign imagery. He comes with a pedigree that includes a decade of tanning experience, from spray tanning Blake Lively and Kate Moss to perfecting the tan on Strictly Come Dancing – if you’ve tried to consecutively reapply your own tan evenly, week on week, without the pressure of TV lighting and millions of watching eyes, you’ll appreciate the difficulties of this. So it’s safe to say, his tan was always going to be a step above the rest. After spending years perfecting tan by applying colour-corrective make-up on top to reduce redness or brighten, he created Isle of Paradise with green (reduces redness), peach (neutralizes blue and purple shadows) and violet (cancels yellow tones) pigments in his tanning formula. The result? The perfect shade every time, whether you choose light, medium or dark, and the added benefits of superfood ingredients like coconut and chia seed oil. Whether you go for the Tanning Water – a revolution in tan – or mousse, tanning drops, gradual tan, or the instant, tanning just got a lot easier.blank

He-Shi Body Sculpting Gradual Tan, €23

For the gradual tanner

He-Shi Body Sculpting Gradual Tan has – available in Boots, Harvey Nichols and selected pharmacies and salons – has capsulated caffeine to increase microcirculation and  reduce the appearance of cellulite, hydrating properties for a smooth finish, improves the skin’s condition and effortlessly builds a natural tan. If you tan often enough that you prefer not to buy a cheap tanning mitt that you’ll throw away after a couple of tans, He-Shi’s Luxury Velvet Tanning Mitt €7.50 is the ultimate in tanning mitts – it has a non-slip grip, a lotion proof barrier for the perfect streak-free application and a water-resistant inside protective film to keep hands tan-free. Want to try He-Shi before you buy? He-Shi’s newly launched Pro Advanced Spray Tan, from €25, is fast drying, available in three shades, has no smell and lasts up to ten days. Available from selected salons nationwide – check out to find your nearest.blank

Cocoa 2 Go by Marissa Carter Travel Size 1 Hour Tan Mousse, €5.95

For travelling

Save yourself the stress and sun damage of getting a tan on holidays – pack your tan and just enjoy the holiday. Cocoa Brown by Marissa Carter – Ireland’s best selling express tan, and the UK’s and Sweden’s FYI – has launched their beloved 1 Hour Tan Mousse in a travel sized bottle that can go in your carry-on. ‘Cocoa 2 Go’ has a guide colour so you’re instantly tanned, will develop perfectly in one-hour, lasts up to a week and is available in Original Medium, Dark and Extra Dark.blank

bBold Extra Dark Tan, €17.95

For the dark tan lovers

The latest member of the bBold family – available in Boots and most Irish pharmacies – is the deepest and darkest yet. bBold Xtra Dark Tan has dermatologically tested moisturising properties for a hydration boost to prevent uneven fade, is lightweight, easily applied, and non-streaky and as it says, very dark.blank

OSKIA Adaptive Tan Mist, €55

For all-natural beauty lovers

OSKIA, the bio-nutritional skincare brand pioneering clinicial nutritional skincare have just launched two 100% natural tanning productsOSKIA Adaptive Tan Mist  and OSKIA Adaptive Tan Tanning Drops. With naturally encapsulated DHA, exclusively designed by OSKIA, you’ll have a deeper tan that lasts longer than most at up to 10 days. Your skin’s own melanin production is boosted for a hyper realistic and super-natural tan, with the added skincare benefits of super nutrients, antioxidants and actives to improve the skin’s health and condition.blank

BronZ’Express Magic Radiance Drops, €24.95

For the face 

Work a few drops of BronZ’Express Magical Radiance tanning drops into your skincare for a radiant, no-smell, faff-free natural glow. Mix 2 or 3 drops into your moisturiser or SPF, or 5-6 drops into your body lotion, apply as normal and give your hands a wash afterwards, avoiding hairline and eyebrows. Nervous about overdoing it? Start with a few drops and build to you preferred shade.blank

Bellamianta Luxury Tan Ultra Dark Mousse, €25
For quick drying
Bellamianta’s products include a hydration system to ensure an even wear-off and an odour neutralising technology for the dread fake tan smell so you can always depend on Bellamianta if tan smell and bad wear-off are your particular tan hatreds. The newest entry to the family is the Ultra Dark Self Tanning Tinted Mousse, €25, which is easy to use and streak-free – but most importantly – dries in only 60 seconds. With an olivey guide colour, apply the mousse, let it dry for one minute and go on your way, as your tan develops.


 Iconic Bronze Airbrush Body Bling, €10

For instant tanners

Instant but won’t transfer onto clothes, dries quickly, smoothes imperfections for an instant, realistic tan that glides on easily. No gross tan smell either – Iconic Bronze has a glorious fragrance of spicy warm citrus, bergamot and jasmine. 


 CatwalkHQ Self Tan Mousse, €25

For vegans

CatwalkHQ is cruelty-free, and vegan, wears off easily and won’t rub off on your bedsheets but it gets bonus points for the added skincare benefits of amino acids, hyaluronic acids for hydration and antioxidants.

Black Magic Tan Foaming Tan Remover, €15
For the ritual tanner
If you religiously tan every week, Black Magic Tan Foaming Tan Remover, €15 – a winner at this year’s IMAGE Beauty Awards – will help remove stubborn old tan for when you want to reapply, or can be used to fix up any mistakes you make while applying.
PS… Pre Tan Exfoliator, €4
For tanning prep 
Penney’s PS… Pre Tan Exfoliator, €4, has walnut and pumice to gently exfoliate dry skin for a smooth base to prepare the skin for tanning.
TanOrganic Self Tan Mousse, €29.99
For eczema, psoriasis or sensitive skin
Some sensitive skins can be irritated by the guide colour in false tan, which contains synthetic colouring red dyes. Tan Organic uses all natural and organic ingredients, and food colouring as a guide colour. TanOrganic – available from Boots – is free from fragrances too, and has hyaluronic acid and aloe vera to hydrate dry skin. Avoid tan if your skin is inflamed, flaring up or broken and be sure to try a patch test 24 hours before using to make sure you have no reaction. Once you’re in the clear, be sure to moisturise the skin before tanning and after to keep the skin hydrated, but thanks so hydrating properties in TanOrganic, your tan won’t cling to dry patches.
BPerfect 10 Second Tan Mousse, €24.99
For the time-poor
If you dread the faff of tanning or struggle to find the time, BPerfect Cosmetics 10 Second Tan Mousse – available in medium, dark and ultra dark – will leave you with an instant colour in 10 seconds that will work with your natural skin tone to avoid an orangey shade and lasts up to five days.
Vita Liberata Body Blur Instant HD Skin Finish, €42.99
For imperfections

Conceal veins, scars or imperfections on the legs with streak-free light, medium or dark Vita Liberata Body Blur Instant HD Skin Finish, €42.99. It won’t rub off on your clothes or cake the skin, and it contains aloe vera, vitamin E and shea butter for a hydrating finish.


Sally Hansen Airbrush Sun Instant Tanning Mousse, €13.95

For when there’s too much month at the end of your money

On a budget? Sally Hansen Airbrush Sun Instant Tanning Mousse, €13.95, is odour-free, easy to apply, quick drying and cheap.


For more beauty features, check out the June issue of IMAGE, on shelves nationwide now.