A beautiful bronze tan is an essential part of our summer vacation look. Equilibrio will help you achieve a safe, sunless summer glow before you hit the beach this weekend with our favourite self-tan recommendations. 

Flawless self-tan legs


It’s a much safer and the preferred tanning option to using the sun’s rays or a sunbed which, as we know, both cause damage to the skin.

It’s safe if applied properly. There’s recently been some negative press regarding dihydroxyacetone (DHA), the active ingredient in self-tan. However, according to our consulting Cosmetic Chemist, Conny Oberrauter (cosmetics industry R&D veteran and author of The Cosmetics Chef), “Self-tans are the safest option for a tan.” The Scientific Committee for Consumer Safety EU has issued a 30-page report that details the studies done on DHA and its safety. It also details the use of spray tans in booths. “The summary is that it (self-tan) is considered safe especially when used as directed. When using the spray (tans) you need to keep your mouth and eyes closed to minimise inhalation.”

It does not contain sunscreen. So please don’t forget to liberally apply sunscreen when you go outside!


Mich and I collaborated on the testing and review of a variety of self-tan products, which is useful because we have different skin tones. I have a medium skin colour with a yellow undertone. Mich, on the other hand, is very fair with a blue undertone to her skin. We both prefer a subtle, natural, sun-kissed tan.

Jill’s Reviews:

With my yellow undertoned skin, self-tan often looks orange on me. A natural-looking colour is one of the main features I look for in a product.

Fake Bake Golden Faux Glo Bronzer (Matte Medium Instant Tan Lotion, Wash-Off)

Fake Bake products are free from parabens, artificial preservatives and are non-comedogenic, so they won’t clog pores.

Fake Bake Bronzer Instant Self-Tan

Best for: An instant fix, when you don’t have hours to wait for the colour to develop.

Suitable for: Fair, medium and darker skin types.

Texture: Non-sticky, lightweight lotion that applies easily.

Absorption: Absorbs very quickly with no residue stickiness. You need to blend pretty fast though and don’t have to wait too long before getting dressed.

Smell: Smells a little sweet on application but the smell is neither over-powering nor lingering.

Colour: The lotion is a dark colour but becomes a perfect sun-kissed, natural-looking tan on application.

Time for the colour to develop: Instant – this is essentially makeup so don’t shower after application.

Overall: The perfect quick fix that washes off. I’ll be sure to always have this in my cupboard in the event of an emergency.

Fake Bake Flawless Coconut Tanning Serum for Face & Body

Fake Bake Flawless Tanning Serum

Best for: Face and body. A beauty and bronzing hybrid!

Suitable for: Fair, medium and darker skin types.

Texture: Lightweight serum that rubs smoothly into the skin.

Absorption: Fake Bake Flawless takes a little more time than the Bronzer to absorb completely (about 10 minutes). However, it eventually dries very nicely without residue stickiness.

Smell: Initially smells like coconut but the smell is subtle and fades quickly after removing the excess colour once its developed (after your first shower). Then you don’t even notice much of a smell at all. 

Colour: The serum is a dark colour but softens into a natural, sun-kissed tan on application. My first application achieved the perfect subtle tan I’m usually after. I decided to try the 2nd application after showering on day 2 to test the outcome. The tan deepened nicely without appearing too dark and fake.

Time for the colour to develop: Although this is not an “instant” product, I did notice some colour almost immediately. However, this product takes 4-6 hours to fully develop so don’t shower before then. 

Overall: I love this product, especially since it contains anti-ageing ingredients, like hyaluronic and silk amino acids. This is my current product of choice for the rest of the summer.

Dr. Organic Moroccan Glow Self-Tan Mousse

Dr. Organic Moroccan Glow is made using a blend of bioactive, natural and organic ingredients including organic Argan Oil, and is rich in vitamins, antioxidants and essential fatty acids that are vital for the skin’s health.

Dr.Organic Moroccan Glow Self-Tan Mousse

Best for: Girls who prefer a mousse.

Available in: Light, medium and dark.

Texture: Super light mousse that rubs in smoothly and is not messy at all.

Absorption: It absorbs pretty quickly but remains a little sticky for quite a while after application but this doesn’t stop you from dressing.

Smell: I think it has a pleasant smell like no other self-tan I’ve ever used. (It’s been described as everything from cinnamon to fresh lemongrass and summery.) The usual “fake tan smell” lingers imperceptibly underneath.

Colour: The mousse comes in 3 colours. I decided to try “Light” and got a lovely, very light, sun-kissed colour. Very natural and not at all orange. Next time I’ll use Medium for my skin tone to achieve a little more of a tan.

Time for the colour to develop: While the packaging says “instant”, it isn’t. Like most self-tan products, the colour takes about 4 hours to fully develop.

Overall: This is another good product and ticks all the boxes if you’re concerned about the use of largely “safe”, natural and organic ingredients.  The mousse is great and not at all messy and achieves a nice, natural tan.

Michelle’s Reviews:

I have very light skin and self-tan easily looks fake on me, so I prefer to use products where colour builds gradually and I can control the shade. Hubby also hates the “self-tan smell” so I had to hunt for quite some time to find my favourites. 

Palmer’s Natural Bronze Body Lotion

Palmer's Natural Bronze Gradual Tanning Moisturiser

Best for: Women who want a rich moisturiser with a fast developing tan.

Suitable for: Fair and medium skin tones.

Texture: A medium textured lotion.

Absorption: Because of the richness of the product it takes a little longer to absorb and dry.

Smell: The cocoa butter in this product gives it a lingering smell of cocoa and vanilla. Although it can be a bit much after a while, Hubby kinda likes that I smell like a beachy cupcake! It fades after a shower.

Colour: A gorgeous golden and natural tan develops which you can intensify with more applications.

Time for the colour to develop: This product develops after about 2-4 hours.

Overall: If you don’t mind the cocoa smell this product is a winner, and it’s very affordable.  Although it is supposed to be a “gradual tanner” one application gives you quite a bit of colour. 

Tan-Luxe Illuminating Self-Tan Drops

Tan-Luxe Self-Tan Drops

Best for: A tailor-made colour.

Available in: Light to Medium and Medium to Dark colours.

Texture: One mixes these drops into a lotion or cream of your choice.

Absorption: Absorption depends on the cream or lotion that you choose. I find this product works best with a thick lotion.

Smell: Very little smell but I do pick up a subtle biscuity tinge which fades after a shower.

Colour: The great thing about this product is its versatility. Mix 4- 8 drops per body part into your favourite body lotion.

Time for the colour to develop: about 2- 4 hours.

Overall: This product is expensive but it will last you the whole summer. I like the adaptability of the colour but the application can get a little finicky. You need to scoop some body lotion into your hand and then squirt the right amount of drops into it. Then these need to be mixed before applying. If you don’t do a good job of mixing the drops into your body lotion you’ll get streaks. I occasionally had a bathroom-drama taking place where the dropper would slip out of my hand and I’d be crawling on the floor trying to retrieve the pricey golden elixir. Not a pretty sight! There is a pre-mixed formula called The Gradual, which I might prefer, and if I ever want to tan my face, I’ll probably use the face illuminating drops which will allow me to tailor-make the intensity of the shade. 

Decleor Aroma Confort Gradual Glow Hydrating Body Milk

Decleor Aroma Confort Gradual Glow

Best for: An all-summer tan that you apply like a body lotion.

Suitable for: Fair skin.

Texture: A light cream.

Absorption: The same as a normal body lotion (5 mins or less).

Smell: Decleor products are infused with aromatherapy oils and this product smells floral on the application and doesn’t have any hint of “self-tan smell”.

Colour: The colour of this product builds over time. You’ll get a faint hint of colour after the first application and you can build it until you achieve the right shade. 

Time for the colour to develop: 4-6 hours.

Overall: This is my absolute favourite self-tan which I’ve been using for years. The best part is that you can use it daily as a moisturiser.  The tan intensifies like it would if you were tanning while on holiday. Then, once you’ve achieved the colour you want, skip a day or two and use a normal body cream before using Decleor Aroma Confort again. A bonus is that it doesn’t streak because you’re applying multiple layers of it. 



Close My Cart
Close Wishlist
Recently Viewed Close