If you’re someone who struggles to tan despite, self tan can be the little helping hand you need come summer time. The warmer weather is finally here and it’s time to bring out the bronzing potions.

You can buff, bronze and fake it – until you can make it to a beach, somewhere really hot. Also, once that’s achieved you’ll obviously need a fabulous pair of shorts to show off our faux-but-flawlessly tanned limbs, which is why we’ve rounded up the best of those, too.


The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming and while we can’t wait to get acquainted with all spring’s prettiest trends, a little self maintenance is required first. After months spent hibernating, our legs are deserving, and in dire need of, some TLC. 

Obviously making sure legs are moisturised, shaved and ultra smooth is key to pulling off a great pair of shorts, and making sure skin is thoroughly exfoliated before applying any kind of fake tan will optimise the outcome, think streak-less. So first up, you literally need to scrub away the winter blues.

Exfoliating rejuvenates your skin by using teeny tiny grains  or granules of some type to buff away dead and dry skin cells, improving your skin texture, smoothing over any rough areas and leaving skin silky and replensied. There are hundreds to choose from, but Cowshed do a great Sea Salt Scrub (£40) and Jo Malone do a super luxurious Geranium & Walnut Body Scrub (£44).

Then it’s on to the tanning potions, of which there are also many. So, to save you on leg work, we’ve rounded up our favourite tried-and-tested formulas below.


Finally, accentuating your new, sort-of-sun-kissed and superbly smooth legs with a pair of spring shorts is a must. While trends may come and go, a great pair of shorts have the ability to work with your wardrobe for years.

Denim shorts certainly have style miles, and this spring you can choose from classic cut-offs and seaside striped versions. Also, paperbag shorts have taken on everything fabric wise, from denim, to linen – just scrunch up your waist with a tie-belt or buckle-in for a cleaner look. For a more feminine take on summer’s perennial why not try a broderie anglaise pair – this pretty fabric lends itself to to spring and summer oh so well.

Shop our edit of the 20 best shorts to buy below…

St.Tropez Self Tan Purity Gel

The clear watery-gel of this St Tropez formula makes it clean and easy to apply, and will leave you with a streak-free finish. It’s quick-absorbing and is infused with Hyaluronic Acid to hydrate and plump your skin while giving it that perfect post-holiday glow. The fast-absorbing tan can deliver 72-hour hydration which makes for a longer-lasting, more even tan.

From clear to golden brown, this gem can transform the surface of your skin in as little as three hours, but you can also leave it for up to seven. There’s absolutely no need to rinse, and because its made using naturally derived tanning actives, there’s no typical self-tan smell to worry about either. Win, win.

St.Tropez Self Tan Purity Gel 200ml, £29.75 at www.beautybay.com

Clarins Self Tanning Instant Gel

This very refreshing, non-oily Clarins Self Tanning Instant Gel provides a fairly immediate light and sun-kissed glow. It’s best for a natural-looking tan. It looks more like a body moisturiser than a fake tan, but the creamy white lotion glides on and sinks into the skin with ease and offers an even and long-lasting look – perfect for a first-timer or novice.

Leave it on for four to six hours for a warm and flattering result. There’s no need to wait before you get dressed, either, it won’t transfer to your clothes. Being Clarins, this luxury formula also helps prevent premature signs of skin ageing.

Clarins Self Tanning Instant Gel 125ml, £21 at www.feelunique.com

Bondi Sands Pure Gradual Tanning Milk

Bondi Sands Pure Gradual Tanning Milk is a clean and simple formula which manages to combine the brand’s iconic golden glow with skin-loving Hyaluronic Acid. It also contains vitamins C and E to brighten, smooth and nourish the skin.

The colourless, milky formula blends effortlessly and shouldn’t transfer to clothes or bed sheets. This one can be built up to create your preferred depth of tan. You just apply it to dry, exfoliated skin and wait until it’s touch-dry. It can also be used daily if you want more intensity.

Bondi Sands Pure Gradual Tanning Milk, £9.74, available at www.lookfantastic.com.

H2O Illuminating Tan Mist

Tanning maestro to the A-list, James Read knows exactly how to achieve a phenomenal sun-kissed glow. His eponymous line is both beautifully packaged and guaranteed to leave you looking your bronzed best.

All the products are both hydrating and anti-aging with super flattering pigments for a more natural colour. This H2O Illuminating Tan Mist creates a natural glow which can be built upon gradually to achieve a deeper colour. As well as hydrating rose water, this one also has light-reflecting particles for a more luminous look. Easy to apply, one application will keep you radiant for up to 5 days.

H2O Illuminating Tan Mist, 200ml, £30 at www.net-a-porter.com

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