Tan: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Tan is something I get asked about a lot and considering I’ve tried most and I’m never short of an opinion, I thought it would be a good idea to tell you about the ones I like, the ones I love and the ones I didn’t like at all.

The Perfect Tan

Some people like their tan really dark but I have typical Irish skin, pale with freckles, so I look ridiculous if I’m too dark. For me, the perfect tan is a natural golden brown, it doesn’t streak or go patchy, and washes off well. It’s also very important how it sits on my hands and feet and it’s a very big plus if it doesn’t smell like curry noodles! With that in mind, read my opinion on tans I’ve tried below!

Oh and before we start, please know that it doesn’t matter what tan you try if you’re skin is not prepped correctly! Read my guide on how to apply the perfect false tan here.

Bellamianta

Formula: Lotion, Mousse and Spray
Type: Developing
Shade: Medium

I had heard so much about Bellamianta so I decided to try the spray tan for my hens. I was so happy with it that I went ahead and booked it for my wedding. You can see from this picture that it was still perfect the next day, even after another shower.

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I hadn’t tried the DIY version at that stage and considering I loved the colour of the tan, I purchased the mousse. I wasn’t disappointed, it’s the perfect shade and wears off nicely (although it doesn’t last as long as I’d like) and isn’t strong smelling.

Then for Christmas, my nanny bought me a Bellamianta gift set which came with the lotion and a double sided mitt (which is a game changer by the way!) and so I gave that a try. It turns out that the lotion is even nicer than the mousse. Update: I got a bad bottle of this tan since. It was completely solidified and green!


Price
: €19.95 from Meaghers Pharmacy. Buy it here.

Sosu Dripping Gold Tan

My new favourite tan… as much as some people don’t like to hear that :p Read my full review here.

Bondi Sands

Formula: Mousse
Type: Developing
Shade: Light to Medium and Dark

If you’re looking for a natural tan that washes off well, look no further! This smells amazing when you put it on but the smell of coconuts does fade as the tan develops. It has a fab guide colour so you can see exactly what you’re doing, which means you won’t get streaks or patches!

However, in my opinion, this tan washes off too well. It’s the perfect colour when you first apply it but a lot of it washes off the first time.

Price: €22.99 from Boots. Buy it here.

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B Bold

Formula: Lotion
Type: Developing
Shade: Medium

This will be a controversial one. When I asked my Instagram followers what their favourite tan was, so many said B Bold! I used this once and never tried it again… until recently.

Let’s start with the positives. It has a perfect guide colour, develops nicely and doesn’t have a really strong tan smell.

The lotion is difficult to apply in that it doesn’t blend easily on my skin. This means that there is a risk of streaks unless you’re really good at applying tan! I found it extremely hard to wash off as it was stuck to areas like my ankles, heels, wrists and elbows.

Iconic Bronze Dark Mousse

Formula: Mousse and Lotion
Type: Developing
Shade: Dark

OK so I definitely have 3 favourite tans right now.  Dripping Gold, Bellamianta and Iconic Bronze. There is a big difference in price though with Iconic Bronze being the cheapest of all 3.

In terms of performance, this tan holds its own. It applies so easily due to its water based formula, has a perfect guide colour (see leg picture below :p), blends easily and wears off evenly. It’s enriched with sunflower oil so your skin feels hydrated not dry.

The best part is that it develops in 2 to 6 hours! So you can apply the same day that you’re going out (and avoid ruining your bedclothes!).

I truly love this tan and will purchase it over and over again. That’s big thing these days since there are so many tans on the market.

Price: €12 and you can buy it here or in pharmacies and Penneys nationwide.

bPerfect

Formula: Mousse
Type: Developing
Shade: Dark Watermelon

I wore the bPerfect Dark Watermelon tan on my trip to Marrakech and absolutely loved it! I raved about it in this post here. However, I tried it again recently and I just found it so hard to work with. Spraying the tan directly onto the mitt was messy and it didn’t blend as easily as I remembered. Now, they say tan has a short shelf like once it’s opened, so I will need to test this again using a fresh bottle. I might try the mousse formula too. I’ll keep you updated.

Price: €25 and you can buy it here.

Cocoa Brown 1 Hour Tan

Formula: Mousse
Type: Developing
Shade: Medium

Cocoa Brown is a grand tan. It’s a nice colour but it doesn’t wear off great and I find that it always turns the mitt green! Sometimes, I even see a green hue in areas like elbows and arm pits (weird writing that word lol!).

Catwalk HQ Lotion & Mousse

Formula: Mousse
Type: Developing
Shade: Medium

Karen from Lovely Girly Bits gave me this to try at an event I was at recently (how kind is that!). It’s stunning and you should absolutely believe the hype. It’s moisturising, olive toned, long lasting and wears off well. I tried the dark shade and it was too dark for my grey skin but the Medium is perfect!

Price: €25  and you can buy it here.

St. Moritz

Formula: Mousse
Type: Developing
Shade: Medium

I like the formula of the St. Moritz mousse, it’s more watery than other mousses I have tried so it’s really easy to apply. It doesn’t streak or go patchy and washes off well. This is another one that has a green/olive hue off of it.

I chopped off my head in the below picture because the lightening made it look like I had no eyebrows, which is not a good look for anyone!

Price: €4.99 from Boots. Buy it here.

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He-Shi

Formula: Mousse
Type: Developing
Shade: Medium

This was on special for €16 so I picked it up to try it (for the sake of this blog post actually!). The bottle noted that it was ‘Instant’ and so I left it until the morning of ‘The Irish Beauty Show’ to apply it. It wasn’t instant, I think what they meant was that you could see the tan when you were applying it. When it did eventually develop, I found it to be orange, especially on my ankles, heels and hands. I haven’t tried it again since.

St. Tropez Gradual Tan

Formula: Lotion
Type: Gradual
Shade: Light to Medium

This is my favourite, and in fact the only, gradual tan that I use.  I try to avoid the sun when I’m away so I always apply fake tan before I go and then top it up with this tan during the holiday. Read my tanning tips for holidays here.

This is a beautiful colour, it doesn’t streak (even though you can’t see it when you’re applying it) and washes off evenly. Also, it doesn’t smell!

The ‘Light to Medium’ shade is very natural. I would say too natural, if you like to look like you’re wearing tan but, I think it’s a perfect colour for during the colder months. It’s buildable too meaning it gets darker the more consecutive days you apply it.

The ‘Medium to Dark’ shade is also fab and dark enough after just one application and I wear this shade during the summer and while on holidays also. This tan is a lot cheaper than any other of the St. Tropez tans and I can’t see why. It’s a hidden gem!

Price: It’s on special for €11 in boots at the moment. Buy it here.

Sunkissed

Formula: Mousse
Type: Developing
Shade: Medium to Dark

I got sent this product ahead of our ‘Cocktails and Blogs’ night. I liked it but it was too dark for me so if I am re-purchasing, I would go for the Light to Medium shade. In saying that, when I washed it off for the second time it was much nicer. It washed off well but maybe too well because I think it was too light then (picture below).

It smelled nice when I first applied it but like the Bondi Sands, the nice smell faded as the tan developed. I must try it again because my sister in law said it is the best tan she has ever used.

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Rimmel Sunshimmer BB Skin Perfector

Formula: Lotion
Type: Instant
Shade: Light

This is hands down the best instant tan that I’ve ever used. I always have a bottle, it’s a staple beauty product for me. I was always a fan of the original sun shimmer and in fact, I bought the BB version by accident one day and I haven’t used the original since.

This looks like foundation (like the Sally Hansen) and gives great coverage. It’s a beautiful shade and my skin looks flawless with it. I would never use another tan again if this one didn’t speckle with a drop of rain. I wear it in the day time if I’m going somewhere but I could never where it in the night time going out due to Irish weather and drunk people spilling drinks!

Price: €8.99 from Boots. Buy it here.

Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs

Formula: Lotion
Type: Instant
Shade: Light

I know this tan is just for legs but I had heard a couple of bloggers say that they wear it all over so I tried it and HATED it! It’s like a foundation in terms of the formula. It is so easily transferred that my clothes, the bedroom where I applied it and anywhere that I sat before I left the house was destroyed with tan.

I would not recommend you to try this if you’re wearing white or bright coloured clothes. What I will say though is that this is a gift for those tanning disasters!

White to Brown Instant Tan

Formula: Mousse
Type: Developing
Shade: Medium

This tan is a nice alternative to Rimmel Sunshimmer. It has a good colour pay off, blends easily and lasts well. What more would you want!

Price: About €5 and you can but it in McCabes Pharmacy.

Followers Favourites

Just to prove that opinion’s differ when it comes to tan… I asked my Instagram Followers to tell me their all time favourite tan and I received hundreds of responses!  Like skincare, tan reacts differently with everyone’s skin, and what works for me, might not work for you and vice versa. Here are my Instagram follower’s top 5 tans. As you can see, we don’t agree on some :p

1. Bellamianta

2. Iconic Bronze

3. bPerfect

4. Vita Liberata

5. b bold

There you have it… my thoughts on every tan that (I remember) I’ve tried.  I’ll keep you updated on my tan trials and tribulations on Facebook and Instagram.

7 Comments

  1. Eileen
    August 20th, 2018 / 22:13

    I love bondi sands dry oil at the moment such a gorgeous colour tan. Perfect wear off.

    • August 20th, 2018 / 22:21

      I have heard that amazing and I know I would live it. On my list xx

    • August 20th, 2018 / 22:22

      I have heard that is amazing and I know I would love it. On my list xx

  2. Sandra
    April 16th, 2017 / 22:47

    You should really ad crazy angel to the next tan blog it’s amazing and will never let you down.
    Pleasent smell.
    Golden colour.
    Wears beautifully
    Log lasting.

    • livealavishlife
      April 16th, 2017 / 22:48

      Oh I’ve heard that actually!! I’ll have to do a Part 2 haha thank you xx

    • Sandra
      April 16th, 2017 / 22:50

      Contact me to have a demo!

    • livealavishlife
      April 16th, 2017 / 22:53

      I can only see “Sandra” and no details haha can you mail me on Social Media or even email Live-lavishly@outlook.com? Thank you xx

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A Lifestyle Blog by Carly Colgan Bates