The art of self tan…

Shirt: L’Agence (there’s a lovely lace chiffon mix blouse from Zara here). Clutch: Clare V at Modern Society. Jeans: £30, Asos. Jewellery: CadenzzaSunglasses: £35 in the sale, Le Specs at Very Exclusive. Nails in ‘Wardrobe’: £5, Topshop. Photograph: Christopher O’Donnell

Fake tan. It’s something I do most days without even thinking about it (especially in the summer). It’s almost a taboo, associated with teenage years, horrid smudge marks and tacky nightclubs. I’ve never done spray tans, it involves way too much organisation on my part but I swear by self tanning, so thought I’d share a few of my favourite brands I’ve used over the years (I called them in for the purpose of the shoot, but all trusted and used by me previously):

L-R: DecleorJames ReadBondi Sands and Vichy. Tray: £9.35, Hay. Hand cream:£23, Byredo 
1. Decleor Aroma Sun Expert self tanning milk, £24, Feel Unique
I’ve been a fan of this for years: it glides on easily, is uncoloured and leaves a really subtle but warm glow.
2. Vichy Ideal self tan face and body, £9.35, Look Fantastic
I’ve used this for a few years now: it doesn’t break the bank, it’s a bit more subtle than the others so hardly any streaky marks, and it’s gentle enough to use on the face too.
3. James Read overnight tan, £35, Asos
A new obsession (recommended to me by a blog reader through Instagram!). I’ve never used much product on my face before as it brings me out in spots, but this overnight tan goes on clear like a serum (so no messy pillows) and you wake up looking fresh and without the need for as much make-up – the dream. I tested out the body serum for the first time last week and trust me, it’s worth it. Plus no wasted time wondering around in a dressing gown waiting for it to dry!

4. Bondi Sands Liquid Gold dry oil, £14.99, Boots
I really like this brand – it’s the only fake tan that actually smells nice (like coconut suncream!) but also I love that you can just pick it up easily from the High Street. The dry oil is probably not for beginners, but this would be a great one to take on holiday to work with your holiday glow. And maybe don’t apply near carpet(!).

My tips:
  • I don’t do everyday tan really, I’m too timepoor, so would rather do it less frequently and it last longer. All of these tans I have chosen work to that effect. I go for a medium tan (I have done dark which has looked good but hard to get off your hands!).
  • The key to making it look even is to really rub it in, especially around those joints. Don’t leave it feeling wet. When you get to your hands, do a circular motion and kind of glide over your fingers lightly, don’t rub it onto your fingers.
Blouse: £195, Ghost. Suede skirt: £49.95, Lindex. Bag: £290, Manu AtelierCircle necklace: £39, Tom Shot at Cadenzza. Cone necklace: £69,Cadenzza. Bracelet: £39, Tom Shot at Cadenzza. Ring: Kenzo at Cadenzza.
  • Try and do it before you go to bed so that you can shower off any excess in the morning and scrub any problem areas (should you need to!).
  • Don’t overdo it. I do it maybe twice a week during the summer, and try to top up with sun. I apply it as and when, and don’t make it part of my routine, so I don’t ever look too orange.
  • Do look in stores like TK Maxx, I have spotted James Read tan in there, as well as Decleor.
  • You don’t have to do the whole body if you don’t need to. I often just fake tan my chest as that’s the part that is exposed to the sun the least (weirdly, my legs stay brown all year round).


  1. I LOVED your second outfit, may I ask you where are those skirt and blouse from?

    Greetings from Spain and so sad today after the Brexit success.

    1. Sorry, forgot to add the credits, have added now -it's the Ghost one! Oh and thank you, it's a very weird time and the problem is everyone is blaming each other when it might not actually be all bad…let's hope everything works out! x

  2. I saw James Read in tk max the other day and thought, I know I should buy that, but couldnt remember where or how it was recommended. Damn, I'll never see it that cheap again. Have you tried Cocoa Brown? Awful packaging, so cheap you'd think it has to be crap but its great!

  3. Thank you so much for posting on this – super useful. Especially as I had been using the (very cheap) Garnier summer body for way too long and really need to change as I just can't stand the smell anymore!
    Also my boyfriend has a rather sensitive smell too, and unfortunately can now always smell my fake tan even though I barely use it. Not so good with the British summer being practically non-existent!
    What do decleor and James Read smell like? x

    1. My husband can smell it too! Funnily enough, I used the James Read one this week and the model i was working with on a shoot was saying 'oh you smell so lovely'! Haha – so maybe it's less bad? x

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