9 Of Our Favourite Instant Tans

The right amount of self-tan can make all the difference and instant formulas can be a lifesaver when you need to fake a glow or cover up unsightly marks in a flash. Here are the ones that tick all the boxes.
By Sapna Rao /

All products on this page have been selected by our editorial team, however we may make commission on some products.

The Cult Classic: Vita Liberata Body Blur, £14.75

Why We Love It: One of the best instant tans on the market, this bestselling formula covers imperfections, minimises blemishes and reflects light for a photo-ready finish. Plus, it’s DHA-free, so there’s none of that giveaway fake tan scent. Still one of the safest and most reliable options to try – especially if you’re a bronzing novice.

Available at LOOKFANTASTIC.com

The Hydrator: Bare By Vogue Williams Instant Tan, £16

Why We Love It: This instant tan promises to add warmth to skin in only an hour. With a subtle sheen and rich colour, it’s easy to blend out – and cover up any mistakes. The light texture isn’t sticky either, while added peptides give skin a smoother, plumper appearance. Unlike some instant tans, this one never feels dry and won’t leave behind any scaly, flaky patches.

Available at BareByVogue.co.uk

The Illuminator: Tan-Luxe Instant Hero, £17.60

Why We Love It: Complete with light-diffusing particles, this silky tan is one of the best for instant luminosity. A natural-looking colour, the gel texture quickly melts into skin for a streak-free glow. Like all Tan-Luxe products, this one is brimming with skin-loving ingredients, including aloe vera and vitamins C and E to maintain hydration. We love the sponge it comes with, which allows for foolproof application. As soon as you’re ready to say goodbye to the colour, simply rinse it away in the shower – it washes off immediately without the need to scrub.   

Available at LOOKFANTASTIC.com

The Easy Mist: By Terry Tea To Tan Face & Body, £81

Why We Love It: Dubbed ‘skincare with colour’, this glow-giving liquid bronzer brightens skin with black and red tea extracts. The colour is subtle but buildable and once applied, it won’t budge until you’re ready to remove it. Mist it on wherever you want some extra radiance, then leave it for five to ten minutes to set. If you want to deepen the colour, simply shake the bottle and let the in-built micro-prisms gradually develop a darker tan. The shimmer is really subtle, too.

Available at Revolve.com

The Skin Softener: Clarins Self-Tan Instant Gel, £19.30

Why We Love It: Brimming with fig extract and aloe vera, this silky tanning gel hydrates and softens skin, while providing a soft hint of colour. Lightweight in texture, it applies just like a serum, so you get a smooth glide and even results. The colour is lighter than others on this list, but that’s ideal if you’re someone who prefers a gently bronzed effect, rather than a full-on tan. Plus, if you do want to go darker, it’s easy enough to layer up without it streaking. 

Available at AllBeauty.com

The Customisable Glow: St Tropez Self Tan Express Bronzing Mousse, £22

Why We Love it: Offering fast, reliable results, you can leave this tan on for up to three hours to develop to your desired colour. For example, those with lighter skin tones are best leaving it on for an hour before rinsing off for a natural glow. Meanwhile, those with deeper skin tones, or anyone wanting more colour pay-off, should leave it on for a couple more hours. We’re big fans of the non-sticky, easy-to-apply foam formulation and signature St Tropez scent.

Available at LOOKFANTASTIC.com

The Natural Finish: Bondi Sands, GLO Matte One Day Tan, £7.49

Why We Love it: For a 24-hour quick fix, this silky, lightweight product creates an instant, flawless finish. Offering high and even coverage, apply it like a moisturiser and blend it out using a mitt or brush to buff everything out. Using a skin-perfecting formula, the tan casts a seamless glow which is both transfer and waterproof. At the end of the day, simply wash it off with soap and warm water.

Available at LOOKFANTASTIC.com

The Deep Bronzer: Isle of Paradise, Express Self-Tanning Mousse, £16.96

Why We Love It: A potent blend of avocado, chia seeds and coconut oils help keep skin feeling silky smooth, while creating an even, deep colour. This lightweight mousse develops within one to four hours, while the brand’s ‘HyperViolet’ complex counteracts unwanted brassy or orange pigments.

Available at LOOKFANTASTIC.com

The Subtle Scent: Bali Body 1 Hour Express, £28.95

Why We Love It: Unlike traditional self-tans, this one doesn’t have that unwanted biscuit smell – instead, it’s fresh and clean. Suitable for all skin tones, it offers instant warmth that’s flattering on all skin tones. You’ll also get colour within an hour, so it’s easy to find your optimum glow. Fast drying, it never leaves your skin feeling sticky either – if anything, it hydrates by using ingredients like glycerin and castor oil. Use with a mitt or an old make-up brush for an even blend. 

Available at Uk.BaliBodyCo.com

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