He-Shi Fake Tan Review: Mousse, Liquid, Gel & Face Balm

When it comes to fake tan, He-Shi is what you would called an OG! It was the first tan ever made in Ireland, back in 2004, and I did not know that until right now! Did you know He-Shi was Irish? I love that!

He-Shi has a broad range of product types and shades including liquids, gels, mousses, face tan, body shimmers, bronzers, you name it! I’ve tried the He-Shi mousse, gel, liquid and face tan* and so here’s how I got on…

Note: The below contains some affiliate links.

Preparation is Key!

I say this in every tan related blog post… if you don’t prep your skin properly before you tan, it doesn’t matter what tan you use, it won’t turn out the way it could! Read my top tanning tips here.

He-Shi Formula

He-Shi tans are made from 100% natural DHA (the thing that makes tan, tan :p) and they’re paraben and alcohol free. All tans have a guide colour which is essential if you want to be streak and patch free! It also means you can slap it on and head straight out the door if you need to (I’ve been there!).

Does it smell?”, is what I will no doubt be asked and although the brand claims it doesn’t, I still got a “tan smell” from it albeit not too bad! I have yet to find a developing tan that doesn’t smell because it’s actually the DHA that smells and all developing tans contain that (although He-Shi uses a natural DHA).

One of my favourite things about He-Shi is how quick drying the formulas are. I really hate sticky tan (hence why I love my Glow Dry so much!) and so the fact that He-Shi instantly absorbs into the skin is a god send!

With the risk of repeating myself, all of the formulas wore off perfectly. They didn’t go grubby or scaly and when it was time for them to come off, they gave me no hassle… even the Ultra Dark!

He-Shi Face & Body Tanning Gel in Medium

I don’t think I have ever tried a tanning gel before, have you? But I was pleasantly surprised by this. Again, you can see the colour when you’re applying it and it absorbs quickly. Like the Medium Mousse, it is a gorgeous golden colour and I found this to be darker than the mousse and liquid on my skin (everyone’s skin takes to different formulas differently).

I don’t usually put tan on my face unless it is specific for my face but since it says face tan on the bottle, I had to give it a try (see the risks I take for you lot? :p). Well, it was fab! Most importantly, I didn’t break out!

If you have dry skin, I think this could be your tanning BFF! It is very hydrating on the skin and doesn’t stick to dry patches. If you’ve oily skin however, I’m not sure how well this would absorb and would recommend going for the mousse or my favourite, the liquid.

Purchase here.

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He-Shi Express Liquid Tan in Medium

Sticking with their promise of always being innovative, rather than opting for a lotion, He-Shi developed a liquid.

The best way to describe it is like water. It sounds messy but the top of the bottle makes it really easy to manage. I have to say, the liquid is my favourite of all the formulas. I find it ridiculously easy to apply and it does not feel in any way sticky. Again, it has a colour guide and it’s ready to wear straight way.

Purchase here.

The Medium shade was too light for me in the liquid too but it comes in Dark as well as Ultra Dark and oh my god, let’s talk about the Ultra Dark…

he-shi, he-shi tan, tan goals, Irish tan, Irish brand

He-Shi Express Liquid Tan in Ultra Dark


As you know, I am a big fan of Dripping Gold (I’ve written a full blog post here) and despite trialling many tans over the last few months, nothing has come close… until I used the He-Shi Liquid Tan in Ultra Dark.

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The colour is just absolute perfection. I know Ultra Dark sounds scary but honestly, this is just total and utter perfection! I looked like I just had a spray tan and I was nervous washing it off because usually with dark tans, half of them go down the drain, but not this one. Remember the liquid also comes in Medium and Dark and so you can still go with this formula even if you don’t fancy being mahogany.

The image below shows my colour before, straight after application and after I washed the tan off the next morning!

Usually dark tans wear off grubby on me, just because I am blue and the contrast is obvious, but not this one! This one wore off so evenly and came away with a good scrub when it was time.

I’m regularly asked what tan should someone wear going on holidays. It’s a hard one because everybody’s skin is so different but if I was going away tomorrow, I would be bathing in this tonight!


Purchase here.

he-shi, he-shi tan, tan goals, Irish tan, Irish brand

He-Shi Overnight Ageless Tanning Balm

Another beaut of a product. You know, I never wore tan on my face up until this year because it is so sensitive, it breaks out and also clings to my dry patches. The Sosu Dripping Gold Wonder Water (check out my full review here) changed that for me and I so, off I went to try out more face tans.

The difference with the He-Shi Tanning Balm though is this. I do not need to apply a bucket load of moisture to my skin before hand AND it contains anti-again ingredients. A face tan that also hydrates your skin and works it’s anti-ageing magic overnight? Is that not the best combination?

he-shi, he-shi tan, tan goals, Irish tan, Irish brand, face tan

No filter but this was taken on the very flattering front camera on a Samsung phone

The bottle says that it is gradual, and it is buildable, but after the first application you will see that glow! It’s beautiful and suitable for even the most sensitive skins amongst us 🙂 The photo above is my colour after using the balm 2 nights in a row.

Purchase here.

he-shi, he-shi tan, tan goals, Irish tan, Irish brand, face tan

He-Shi Gold Foaming Mousse in Medium

A beautiful light, golden mousse that gives a golden colour instantly. It glided on, absorbed straight away and I had no streaks or patches. I got a good 3 days out of it and the wear off was everything you want from a tan (not scaly and scruffy looking!). The only thing is that I wish I had gone for the darker shade, I found it too light even for my blue skin.

The Medium shade is really light and so if you prefer a darker tan, go for the Dark shade or my personal favourite Ultra Dark. The colour you see when you’re applying it, is the colour it will be after you wash it off. So if you think it’s too light, apply another layer or opt for the Medium gel.

Purchase here.

And so my tan trials continue! I’m really enjoying them actually and I hope you are too. What is your favourite tan? What should I try next, let me know… I’m on a mission!

Thanks for reading, as always!


  1. Mim
    November 13th, 2020 / 21:17

    I used the Tanning Balm and loved it, so I bought the Face and Body Tanning Gel … what a difference and what a disappointment!! For starters, people need to know that this is NOT a gel,
    it is pure liquid – like water – I tried to give this product the benefit of 3 tries, and no matter how much you shake the tube/bottle, the GREEN liquid pours everywhere… literally pours. I destroyed by bed linen and towels using this. Then I bought the mitt, thinking that this would somehow make a difference to the result .. it didn’t!!!

    Not matter how much you exfoliate beforehand, no matter what mitt or glove you use, not matter how much time you leave it to dry before clothing (and I waited over an hour before getting dressed the 3rd time I used it!!) this LIQUID streaks awfully, The results for me … a regular self-tan user … were the worst ever. I think it is important that both the negative and positive reviews are made known .. this did not work for me at all … but I think it is important that this is NOT advertised as a ‘gel’ because it quite simply is not!!! It literally pours from the tube/bottle and will run-off your mitt/glove like water. It stains everything irrepairably.

    Please, post this, people need to know that this product has negative points.
    Thank You

    • November 13th, 2020 / 21:55

      Hey Mairead! Thanks so much for taking the time to share your experience. All reviews are valuable, whether they’re positive or negative, so they’re all welcomed here. That is awful ;( From what you’re describing, especially the green part, it’s likely the DHA in that bottle was gone off. Mine was a chocolate brown, gel formula. I would definitely contact the brand and/ or retailer and tell them. Thanks again for sharing and, if you contact them, I hope they look after you, because that’s not right. Keep us updated!

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