How To Achieve The Perfect Sunless Tan

April 3, 2018
Self Tan

Self Tan

With Spring here and Summer on the way so many of us are longing to spend the long Summer days drenching ourselves in the sunshine and wanting that gorgeous sun kissed skin. As lovely as that all sounds laying in the sun for long periods of time, especially during the hours of 11-3, the sun can be very damaging to the skin and skin cells. It is important to wear a suitable sunscreen on your face and body. For example, my skin is yellow toned and olive colour. I am very lucky to tan very easily but on the flip side I am also sensitive to the sun rays because I suffer from freckles on my face. So because of this reason I always make sure that I use a minimum of a UVA/UVB Factor 30 and sometimes even 50 depending on where I am travelling too on my holidays. When I am home in the UK, I wear an SPF 50+ every day within my moisturiser on my face, even in the winter days, this helps protect my freckles from getting darker. 

Sunless Tanning Products

Over the years I have always tried to be careful when in the sun, using the right sunscreen and covering up and finding shade when I need to. I used to spend every summer growing up and into my late teens in North Cyprus, you can imagine the gorgeous tan my skin had from 6 weeks in the sunshine. This was when I was younger and not as savvy with my skincare. I developed freckles/sunspots on various parts of my body, which to others are not so noticeable but to me, I knew I had to be more careful in the sun. Long periods in the sun is no good for the skin cells and can cause many skin issues in the future for example pigmentation, dark spots and even cancer or other skin diseases. This is why it is important to use suncream to suit your skin, even if you are not in direct sun light, to protect the skin and also help achieve safer tanning, even if you self-tan before hand!

Now that I am older and wiser (kind of!) I have learnt how to look after myself in the sunshine both in the UK and abroad on my summer holidays/city breaks using SPF in my beauty products, covering up during those peak times and staying hydrated. The one thing that I do now that I didn’t before was sunless tanning that doesn’t include direct sun rays or sun beds, but using self-tanning creams, lotions and gels. So this is why I have written this post to share with you how to achieve a beautiful tan without needing to frazzle your skin in the sun, or if you do want to sunbathe, how a pre-tan using sunless tanning can help to add protection to your skin. I will also share with you all some of my go to products that I love to reach for when I want my skin to have that healthy glow or sun kissed look.

Sunless Tanning


So here is a step by step you can use at home to achieve a streak-free, sunless, sun kissed glow! 

Step 1: Make sure you exfoliate your skin at least 24 hours before you decide to apply any type of fake tan. Concentrate on scrubbing those stubborn areas like your hairline, elbows, knees and ankles. This will ensure your skin is free of any dead skin and will aid an even application.

Step 2: If you have just stepped out of the shower let your skin dry at least 10 minutes before application. This will give you a chance to lightly moisturise those dry areas; elbows, knees and ankles to prevent them from becoming dry and cracked before and during tanning.

Step 3: Then either using your hands, gloves or a tanning mitt starting from your ankles upwards, using circular motions until the products is absorbed into the skin. Whatever product is left (add a little product if needed) on your hands, gloves or mitts apply with a sweeping motion over feet and hands to achieve a natural not so dark finish, blending into the rest of your body.

Step 4: Once applied leave a minimum of 20 minutes of drying time before dressing to a achieve a seamless finish or if the product says “drys instantly” leave for about 5-10 minutes to ensure 100% absorption.

Step 5: To achieve a smell free finish, a cool shower in the morning/evening at least 6-10 hours after tanning will not only refresh your skin but will enhance a more natural looking tan. Make sure the tan has fully developed before washing, you can check the instructions on your bottle/box of the product you are using to see how long this takes or until you see the colour you are happy with.

Tips: My Number 1 tip when self-tanning is to make sure, if you are using your hands to apply a product, to prevent orange/brown hands, is to first wash your hands with cold soapy water to prevent the tan from developing then wash again with warm soapy water, getting in-between those fingers and nails. The warm water will get rid of any product and smell left on your hands.

Sunless tanning Products


There are so many great brands out there that over the years have improved the way we now self-tan. I still remember my first bottle of Johnson’s Holiday Skin Body Lotion, who else remembers how orange they went using this and oh my gosh the smell. Thankfully I discovered other brands and now have my go to self-tan products for different uses.


I love Clarins! I worked for this great brand for over 7 years and during this time learnt so much about how to look after my skin and what products to use to have healthy and radiant skin. If you haven’t already tried the Clarins self-tan range, you must do it now! The Clarins Delicious Self-Tanning Cream was also a best-seller on my counter. The cream-gel texture looks and smells like caramel and when applying leaves a glistening on your skin so you know where you have applied the product. In my experience, this self-tan develops after 4 hours and gets darker the longer you leave it. This is my go-to when I want an all over tan, especially as a pre-tan before I head off on my summer holidays. The smell of the product after you apply smells sweet and subtle and for me will always remind me of the summer. This is one I would 100% recommend if you are a medium skin tone and tan easily.


This product is my go-to throughout the year, I use it a couple of times a week. It is so easy to use and you can easily control how much you use and how dark you want achieve your tan. I apply 3-4 drops into my palm with a pea-sized amazing of my day or night cream. I then mix the two together using the warmth of my palms and light sweep and pat the products into my skin. It is important to make sure that you blend properly using you fingers around the hairline and eyebrows but the wonderful thing about this product is that it doesn’t come out dark. For example, after the first application the skin will look radiant and have a healthy glow and the more often you use the product and regularly you will see the colour develop a little more every time.


Unfortunately, you can no longer purchase this product from Boots, I actually purchased this product for a £1 in one of the many staff sales that the beauty department always held in the staff canteen. When I first used this product I panicked! This is the only instant tan I have used and my gosh it came out very dark! I used tanning gloves and used then to massage/blend in this self-tan until it evenly covered my legs, yes my legs, I don’t have the courage to use an instant tan anywhere else on my body! As this product washes off easily, this is my go-to when I need a quick tan on my bare pale legs!


St.Tropez has always been my favourite gradual self-tan for my body! I love using this in the summer to top up my tan, especially after my holiday tan starts to fade. The St.Tropez is so easy to use as its just like applying a body lotion but just remember to wash your hands after. I find that this product helps hydrate my skin and doesn’t make my skin greasy or oily like some others I have tried. It actually doesn’t smell that bad either, just like the Clarins self-tan cream I wash this product off after it has developed and any scents disappear. The St.Moriz is a cheaper version of the St.Tropez and just as good!

I hope this post helps when it comes to self-tanning at home, this step by step method is fail-proof, you can’t go wrong! If you have any other product recommendations please let me know in the comments.

Pinar xo


*this post contains affiliate links & gifted products



17 responses to “How To Achieve The Perfect Sunless Tan”

  1. The Clarins delicious self tan is probably the best tan I’ve ever used, I am obsessed with it. I’ve never had a tan give a nicer, more natural colour.

    At the moment I use either Bondi Sands which I first picked up years ago in Australia and loved or Bellamianta which is the most fabulous mousse.

    Victoria x

    • Pinar says:

      I have heard some good things about the Bondi Sands and that it give such a great long lasting tan. I love the Clarins delicious tan it is always my go too! xo

  2. I’m a tan-o’-holic but not tried any of the Clarins range – I must change that asap!

  3. jane says:

    This is pretty interesting
    As i didnt had a chance to use this

    Much Love,
    Jane | The Bandwagon Chic

  4. Gemma says:

    Thanks for sharing these products! I have used the St Tropez one before but not the others. Have a great day!

    Gemma x

    • Pinar says:

      If you like to self tan you must try the Clarins products. They are so easy and quick to use 🙂 xo

  5. Pinar says:

    If you love to self tan then definitely! Xo

  6. Steph says:

    I have always been so scared to fake tan because I’m so pale, I worry it will end up looking awful. You’ve provided a little more encouragement though!

    Steph x

    • Pinar says:

      I would recommend using a moisturising gradual tan that says for light to medium skin that way it will be a slow growing tan. Clarins do a radiance booster for the body which you can add a few drops to your current moisturiser and build up a tan that way. It’s worth trying if you feel like you want a little glow. If you do try it do let me know how you get on sweetie xo

  7. Yiota says:

    I never used self tanning in my life, living in Cyprus has the advantage of getting one or two shades darker and a beautiful glow in summer. However, I would love to try a self tanning product some time, just to see the process and result (and of course, for writing a review on the blog haha)!! Hope you are well my lovely!!


    • Pinar says:

      I’m very jealous haha! As I’ve got older I find that my summer tan fades so quickly, I think it’s because I exfoliate a lot. You would probably like a gradual tan like the St.Tropez as you could only use it once or twice a week just helps hydrate the skin and makes your skin smooth! 🙂 xo

  8. Would you believe that I’ve never actually used self tanner? I’m always terrified of either missing a spot and looking ridiculous or turning bright orange and resembling an Oompa Loompa haha! Your guide to the various different products on the market is incredibly handy though, and would definitely help me to make an informed decision in the beauty aisle! The Clarins glow booster sounds ideal for me as it isn’t too dark immediately and is buildable!

    Abbey xoxox

    • Pinar says:

      Thank you Abbey 🙂 I would definitely say the Clarins booster is great if your not used to self tanning and you have control on how dark you want your tan, they do one for the face and the body! xo

  9. Steph Hannam says:

    I love this blog post. Looking after your skin in so important, no matter what skin type you are. I have really fair skin so always use factor 50 on holiday but really should start using sunscreen all year round. Some great times and product recommendations.

    Steph x

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Pinar Rawlins

UK beauty and lifestyle blogger

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