Avoid any tango disasters with our guide to the perfect spray tan
Summer is now upon us, not that you’d know it from the weather.
And with little prospect of a real tan under our sodden skies, it’s the time of year many women will be considering faking it – by heading off for a spray tan to perfect that golden summer glow ahead of holidays or for a special occasion.
With so many spray tans now on the market, we headed off to test some of the most popular ones available in salons in Manchester.
And of course faking it is the safer way to getting that golden look without baking your skin over the summer months.
We’ve tested out which spray tans are the best for those who prefer a natural glow, right through to those who want to really make an impact with their bronzed limbs.
But for anyone out there not initiated in the ritual of the spray tan, there are some golden rules to follow before heading to a salon for the first time.
For preparation really is key to getting the most out of your fake tan.
All salons recommend that you exfoliate your body thoroughly the day before your tan and moisturise dry areas like your elbows, knees and ankles, and if you are planning to shave then do it at least 24 hours before the tan.
On the day of the tan itself it’s recommended to shower only – and do not apply any moisturiser.
Remember to wear loose dark clothes when you head for your tan, and dark coloured underwear. With most spray tans, the “guide colour” that develops straight away will wash off in the morning, so don’t worry if you are going a scary shade of oompa loompa straight after the tan. Although many of the newer tans suggest the colour and smell aren’t as bad as they used to be, I’ve never had a spray tan yet that doesn’t make you embarrassed to be seen in public for the six hours or so afterwards as it develops!
We’ve tested four leading brands in the spray tan booth, aiming to deliver a verdict on smell, how long it lasts and also the all important tango rating – letting you know how dark a tan you are likely to be left with.
TAN TESTED: Xen-Tan
THE LOWDOWN: Developed to try to combat the distinctive “bad odour” of traditonal tans. That, and the natural tan, has catapulted it into the major league of tanning.
SMELL: Surprisingly good. It’s one of the few tans that doesn’t have that expected biscuit smell, it’s rather more chocolatey. And it doesn’t seem to leave a lingering odour on your bed sheets.
HOW LONG DOES THE TAN LAST? Five days
HOW DOES IT FADE? It did break up a little, but overall a good glow remained throughout.
TANGO RATING: 3/5, a good mid-range golden colour
OVERALL RATING: 3/5
BEST FOR…Those who hate fake tan smells.
TAN TESTED: Sienna X
THE LOWDOWN: One of the few tans to offer three different “strengths” of colour depending on your skin tone. So for anyone wanting to really go for glow, this is your tan.
SMELL: The same old biscuity smell.
HOW LONG DOES THE TAN LAST? A full eight days, pretty impressive
HOW DOES IT FADE? It does break up a little unevenly
TANGO RATING: 4/5, the darkest I think I’ve ever gone with a fake tan, and I only tested the starter colour!
OVERALL RATING: 4/5
BEST FOR…Making an impact with a dark, long-lasting tan.
TAN TESTED: Fake Bake
THE LOWDOWN: Another long-established brand that aims, despite its name, to produce a more natural result of tan.
PRICE: £20, although the salon also offers half price spray tans on a Friday.
SMELL: There was a slight odour immediately after application, but it was not unpleasant and it faded within a couple of hours. The smell had gone completely after showering. It also leaves only a light residue after tanning.
HOW LONG DOES THE TAN LAST? Five days but it depends on how often you shower.
HOW DOES IT FADE? Faded naturally and evenly, like a real tan, with no patchy elbows.
TANGO RATING: 1/5, the look was very natural and one friend even asked if I had been on holiday because she was that convinced it was a real tan.
OVERALL RATING: 4/5
BEST FOR…A sun-kissed look.
TAN TESTED: Suntana
THE LOWDOWN: Not a know brand but has good feedback. In this salon they had Sienna X or Suntana. This solution has 4 different strengths.
SMELL: Choose from Coconut, Cherry, Chocolate or Blackberry. I had Coconut and it smelt devine!
HOW LONG DOES THE TAN LAST: I got 7 days
HOW DOES IT FADE: Faded evenly and naturally. No patches
TANGO RAITING: 1/5 I often got asked where I had been! No one could believe it was fake!
OVERALL RAITING: 4/5
BEST FOR… A natural looking tan