Top tips for self-tanning during lockdown

Comments (0) Beauty, Fashion


Going anywhere nice this year? Not only is it a question that very few people can ask right now, we can’t even rely on our hairdressers to quiz us about possible holiday destinations. However, blue skies are certainly above us and wherever you are grabbing some sunshine, you may be looking down at pasty limbs and wishing for something a little warmer when it comes to your complexion, too. Of course, if you happen to be Marianne, the star of cult BBC drama Normal People, you can waft about beautifully in sundresses with perfectly pale limbs.

WORDS: Nancy Buckland Kirk

Back to the real world. Several years ago I worked on a campaign about skin cancer with a major charity, and it completely changed my attitude to sitting in the sun. I’m not averse to a cheeky afternoon in the garden, but I am vigilant about SPF and also not burning. I am also a self tanning convert as a result. Self tan is no longer fake tan, and orange, streaky ankles are definitely a thing of the past. 2020 innovations mean you can have an even, top-to-toe glow.

To talk all things tanning I caught up with good friend, Claire Lambert, who I met nearly a decade ago via my travels around the beauty world. Claire was just starting out in the industry at the time and since then has built up her own business. Having worked with so many brands Claire decided to put her expertise to good use, and formulate her own products. I thought this was so brave to do just as lockdown started, but little did we know at the time that demand for self tanning ranges would sky rocket! Claire has always impressed me with her go-to attitude and innovative spirit. Here’s what she told me when we had our Zoom chat…

Claire, tell me more about launching a brand new brand during lockdown!

Having created a solid reputation for my tanning and brand, I decided I wanted to create my very own line of self tan. So I choose all of my favourite ingredients and all of my clients’ favourite aspects from each and every tan that I have worked with and I started a new, ultimate collection for the real glow-getters! Bringing real insider expertise to a self tan range!

I first started preparations and planning for my own range of self tans months before lockdown. I had a photo/ video shoot planned and booked, and a launch event, too. Things were happening! Then lockdown occurred and I had to alter, but not halt, my plans. But on a positive note, it has given me the chance and the time to fully immerse myself full time into my brand and building its online presence as I’m unable to be out and about tanning my clients right now. It will also ensure that my clients will still be able to get their LV tans at home as we still don’t know how long the current restrictions will last.

Tell me your top tips for self tanning at home…

Preparation is key! Always make sure you have fully prepped your skin ready for a fresh tan. Exfoliate your skin, and moisturise areas like knees, ankles, hands and elbows to ensure you get the best results. It always goes without saying that a self tan does not protect your skin when you are outdoors so when you are ready to go, don’t forget your SPF. Oil-free mist formulations are brilliant at keeping your self tan looking fabulous!

With Claire’s tips at the ready I tried out some of my faves and a few new formulas and these are definitely the pick of the current crop of at-home formulations.

Fake Bake Flawless Self Tan Liquid (£20)

self-tanning, Fake Bake

I know that colourless, tanning waters are very much a thing but I like a colour guide.  Flawless has sold over a million bottles all over the world and with good reason. There are now a whole range of tans in the Flawless stable but this remains my favourite. It is so lightweight and spritzes on easily, and you just glide it over the skin using the mitt provided. It is brilliant if you are new to tanning and gives a beautifully subtle result. There is also a Darker version, if you are feeling brave! I always get compliments when I have used this one, too.

James Read Rose Glow Face Tan Mist (£18)

self-tanning, James Read

James is an industry expert and when he launches a product, it has to be extraordinary to make the cut. This literally works like a face mist, but with the added bonus that you wake up the next day with a gorgeous glow. Facial tanners used to be quite heavy and drying, but this is as light as air and as it is packed full of hyaluronic acid, so it’s brilliant hydrating. A little goes a long way, so it’s also superb value. QVC is the place to be for this one, too!

Tan Luxe Super Glow Body Self Tan Serum (£35)

self-tanning, Tan Luxe

This is one for the skincare obsessives. Absolutely packed with hyaluronic acids and moisturise supporters, this is a must-have for sensitive skins, too. It has a gradual effect and so is really for you if you are into a subtle glow. Luxury in a bottle.

Sun Believable Bronze Me Wash-Off Gradual Tan (£16)

self-tanning, Sun Believable

This is my self tanning quick fix. You literally apply this gel and leave it to develop, wash it off and you have a gorgeous glow. If you want to dial up the shade, just leave it on a little longer. It’s suitable for face and body and works really well if you already have a hint of colour from the sun.

Tan by LV (£15.99 for Dark/£17.99 for Ultra Dark – available from June)

self-tanning, Tan by LV

This new range of self tan mousses are formulated with nature in mind, enriched with moisturising antioxidants and hydrating oils including cacao seed butter and rosa canina fruit oil and are formulated with 100% natural DHA, so people can feel confident getting their glow on knowing that the skin loving ingredients benefit their skin too! These vegan-friendly tans are fast-acting and fast drying with colour guide technology to tailor your desired tan to your skin tone, developing into a smooth, natural, deep tan. I’m super-impressed with what Claire has achieved, and I felt really honoured to be one of the first to try Tan by LV.

I’m so passionate about skincare and in 2020 it’s really important to keep underlining the safe sun message. There is no point at all in spending a fortune on your skin and then letting it burn in the sun. Modern technology means you can go for a glow up in a bottle, and then enhance it with your own magic. That’s when luxurious bronzers and highlighters come into play.

The best thing is that you get to choose, and the secret is between us. Don’t try kidding anyone you’ve just got back from St. Barth’s, though. This year, you are going to have to tell a whole new story.


James Read at QVC

Sun Believable at

Nancy Buckland Kirk

About the author: Nancy Buckland Kirk is a writer with a keen interest in fashion and beauty and a career which has spanned modelling, teaching and spreading the word about leading beauty brands.

Related read: Nancy Buckland Kirk on why we’ve not yet reached the point in a lock-down at which it’s acceptable for your other half to raid the skincare goodies on the posh shelf

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