The Edge's Ultimate How To Fake Tan guide for Summer 2022/23
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What's Good

The Edge's ultimate guide to the best fake tan for a flawless summer glow

We got you exfoliated, hydrated, not smelling like a biscuit and looking FIRE (without getting burnt).

Team, it's happening. Summer is finally on the way and that means sun's out, guns out.

Whether you're a tanning veteran or have always been terrified of turning orange, we've done the hard mahi for you with this guide. Not only have we tried the latest self-tan products and techniques, but we've also had the f*ck ups and figured out how to avoid them. 

Most of us know the basics of making sure your skin is clean, dry and exfoliated before applying self-tan. If you're going to shave, try and do so the day before - or at least give it a few hours.

Here are some more hot tips you might not see on the back of the bottle, learned by trial and error from The Edge girls: 

  • Moisturise the difficult areas you don’t want too much tan to stick to! We're talking elbows, knees or hands. This dilutes the tan and helps it look more natural in those notoriously tricky spots. 

  • When showering before tanning, turn the water temperature to cold right at the end - this will close your pores and help avoid dark patches. 

  • As the weather warms up and tanning becomes a sweaty business, you can blast yourself with a hairdryer on a cool setting to help speed up the drying process. 

IMPORTANT: Whatever you do, do NOT forget that fake tan doesn't protect you from the sun. It's still vital that you lather up with heaps of SPF all summer long, regardless of how glowing you might be! 

These are some of the other essential steps - and the products that'll help you achieve them: 

Exfoliation - How to prepare for and/or remove your tan
We rate The Body Exfoliator by Necessaire ($51) as a gentle way to prep the skin - it uses both physical and chemical exfoliation and feels like a spa treatment, while Glasshouse's new Isle Of Capri scented body scrub ($70) is a bit more heavy duty for when it comes to removing your fake tan. You also can just opt for a classic body brush or exfoliating glove with your standard body wash - just be careful! 

Hydration - How to extend your tan
After all that shaving, exfoliating and tanning, your skin is going to be thirsty AF, plus, adding moisture is one of the best ways to extend your tan. Mario Badescu Coconut Body Oil ($27) is a super-summery option to spritz on before you leave the house in the morning, giving you hydration and shine, but beware, it can get extremely slippery, so use it sparingly. 

Meanwhile, Sol de Janeiro's Brazillian Bum Bum Cream ($37) is a best-seller for a reason - it leaves your skin super soft and even claims to tighten and brighten. 

Heads up, we were gifted most of these products to try but this is not spon-con! These are our honest thoughts on the best fake tan in NZ: 

For a hard-to-f*ck-up long-lasting tan 
Trialled by Monika  
Bondi Sands has long held on to its title as one of the leading self-tanner brands, but they continue to bust out new products all the time. After a bad break-up, I faced my life-long fear of self-tanning by using their Ultra Dark Self Tan Foam ($25) back in 2019, and I never looked back. 

As much as I love that classic, the new holy grail for me is their Bondi Sands Foaming Tanning Water ($26). There's absolutely no mess because there's no colour guard, which means it does take a bit of getting used to. You have to kind of trust your instincts when applying, but the pros well outweigh the cons. It's super light, fragrance-free and dries really fast. Did I mention there's NO NEED TO WASH IT OFF? 

No longer will we waddle around our room, naked, uncomfortable and too afraid to sit down, watching the timer while three or four hours inches by. No longer will we stain our bedsheets. It's a tanning revolution, baby. I use two coats of 'dark', and apply them 30 minutes apart. 

For a quick tan with hella versatility 
Trialled by Laura  
As a go-to Bondi girl through and through, I was very intrigued about the James Read Express Glow20 Tan Mousse ($67). ’m a bloody sucker for packaging and the white and gold look had me at first glance because how cute does it look on your dresser? 

The smell was pleasant but not strong which I consider an AMAZING thing. The product was easily spreadable and a full pump of the mousse went a really long way. It didn’t feel sticky or too heavy on the skin and I didn’t feel uncomfortable while waiting for it to develop - it didn't transfer to my clothes or anything I sat on. 

The packaging states: “For a sunkissed glow leave on for 20 minutes, for a medium golden glow leave on for 60 minutes and for a deeper bronzer glow leave on for 90 minutes”.

I put two coats on as I had an event that weekend, and ended up leaving it on for around two hours before washing it off. I love this aspect of the product as it’s super versatile.

After it had developed, I was amazed at how flawless it looked. One thing I wasn’t a huge fan of was how the product didn’t look great around my hands and clung to the dry skin on my wrists. Let’s be real though - tanning your hands is a true gamble with any brand. 

I posted an Instagram photo prior to heading to my event on Saturday and got many comments about my skin looking like it was glowing which I was stoked with! Overall, I was very surprised and impressed with this product. I’d say this is a worthwhile investment, ESPECIALLY for summer. For the amount of product you get and how far it spreads, you’re definitely getting value for money. 

For the tan when you CBF with actual tanning 
Trialled by Mon 
Every time I think the world of tanning has stopped evolving, a new product slides onto the shelves and changes the game. Isle of Paradise's Hyglo Hyaluronic Acid Self-Tan Body Serum ($58) is that product for me right now. It's the only tanning formula I've ever used that allows me to literally forget I've tanned. As the name suggests, it's loaded with hyaluronic acid so it's super hydrating but disappears into the skin so fast and leaves no trace. 

It comes out of the bottle as a clear, light blue serum and creates the loveliest soft tan in less than six hours, which comes as such a pleasant surprise when it totally slipped your mind that you'd tanned at all. 

Special mention also to Bondi Sands' brand new Gradual Tanning Lotion Tinted Skin Perfector ($27)- an ideal option for a super quick bronzing right before an event. I'm not entirely sold on how good it is as a gradual tanner, but the tinted formula gives you an instant tan and airbrushed skin. Like, your legs will look SO GOOD. 

For a no-fuss glow on just your face 
Trialled by Sophie
Trying to maintain a healthy glow on your face is tough, especially when a lot of the options available feel heavy, sticky and leave a scent ready to burn the nose hairs of anyone who gets near you. That’s why I wanted to give Bondi Sands Pure Concentrated Self Tan Drops ($24) a try. 

The drops allow you to customise your desired tan, which is what initially piqued my interest. With Hyaluronic Acid & Vitamin C it seems to be a one-stop shop, providing “all skin tones” with hydrating, evening and brightening benefits.

 The instructions say to “add 4 - 12 drops” to your fave moisturiser and to let your face marinate for 6 hours to see the best results.

However, I found that when applying 8 drops and sleeping a full 8 hours with the product on, I woke up in the morning a little less than impressed. As with lots of tanning products, some trial and error came into play. 

I wasn’t prepared to give up so I went for round two the next night, using the max amount of drops (call me a rebel) in a smaller amount of moisturiser - a large pea-sized amount seemed to do the trick.

I’m not sure whether it was the adjusted formula or the fact that I now had layered the product as a buildable mixture, but I LOVED the healthy glow my skin achieved and was happy to walk out of the house without dreading the harsh contrast between my neck and face, IYKYK.

Of course, it is a must to exfoliate and prep your base - as you would with your body.  I tried the Dermologica Daily Microfoliant ($32) to gently exfoliate my skin. I found that the scrub was less aggressive than other products and lightly buffed away my dry skin. I highly recommend using a gentle exfoliant that you can use more regularly to keep your skin looking healthy and give you a smooth base to layer that tan on.