Despite numerous requests, I have been reluctant to post a fake tan review because honestly - I’m not a huge fan of the stuff! Firstly, I just can't be bothered using it and secondly, pretty much every fake tan I’ve tried has that distinctive funky-fake-tan-smell, because of the active ingredient dihydroxyacetone (DHA). Though, just because I'm not an avid fan of something, it doesn't mean there isn't a place for it! Fake tan is great for those who may not be able to see the sun as often as they like (or need) to feel radiantly sun-kissed and I also appreciate that when special occasions arise, its nice to have the option of a quick and easy healthy glow! So we've reviewed the best natural options on the market for YOU! 

* Luckily I have an amazing, kick-ass assistant, Neela, who has a fair bit of experience with fake tans - so she put her hand up to trial the below for me and report back with the results! 

Image - beauty heaven

Image - beauty heaven

Before the reviews - lets first understand a few things about fake tan's main active ingredient DHA:

When applied to the skin DHA causes a chemical reaction with amino acids in the surface cells of the skin producing a darkening effect. So there's very few on the market that don't use this ingredient (though I've found one, listed below!). 

While many people believe that DHA is completely safe to use, recent studies suggest it has the potential to cause genetic alterations and DNA damage. Further research needs to be done into its long-term effects, but throw caution to the wind ladies!

If you're going to use fake tan it is so important that you choose a natural option using ideally NO DHA or NATURAL DHA over SYNTHETIC DHA. The main benefit of using a naturally derived DHA is that its made to react in the top layers of our dead skin cells, meaning it is not as likely to end up in our bloodstream - unlike the chemical DHA'S.

Many mainstream fake tans contain synthetic DHA as well as a whole raft of other toxins such as parabens, formaldehyde, petrochemicals, and artificial fragrances - carcinogens anyone?

Certified organic tans, on the other hand, use a DHA derived from natural ingredients and have none of the other nasties.  TICK.

HOT TIP: Don't forget to exfoliate before you tan. See my post on all natural scrubs HERE

1. TanOrganic Self Tan

THE LOWDOWN: Overall this one was pretty good! Not only is it certified organic and super nourishing, it develops into a deep tan and doesn’t feel overly heavy or sticky on the skin. The consistency, however, is rather watery making it a bit tricky to apply. It’s lightly tinted and gives very minimal scent. I would definitely use it again! 

COLOUR: develops into a medium-deep tan.

SCENT: claims to be scent free and smells SO good when applied. However, I found there was a very faint fake tan smell after a couple of hours, still SO MUCH better than any of the mainstream brands!

DEVELOPING TIME: 8 hours - best applied overnight. 



Divine Naturally Bronze Fake Tan

THE LOW DOWN:  This gentle formulation is suitable for both the body and the face and builds gradually to provide a smooth and even coverage. It contains no synthetic ingredients and is certified organic and cruelty free. It contains Aloe Vera, Shea Butter and Coconut Oil which are highly hydrating for the skin.

COLOUR: Light to medium tan, gives a really natural glow. Great for those with lighter skin tones as it doesn't have any orange undertone. Develops in 6hrs and last a couple of days. 

SCENT:  It is naturally scented with pure Rose Geranium essential oil and Calendula, though it's quite mild - not too much fake tan scent either (a big tick from me!). Probably my favourite of the lot for my light to medium skin-type!


2. Eco Tan Invisible Tan

THE LOWDOWN: Eco Tan Invisible tan contains no synthetic ingredients, is certified organic, cruelty free and vegan friendly. It has a creamy, moisturising texture and easy is to apply. It seems to be the most well known natural fake tan on the market and as far as I've tried, it develops into the strongest/darkest colour. 

COLOUR: Medium tan, a tad on the orange side. Perhaps best for those who already have a base tan (maybe not ideal for the super fair skin tones?)

SCENT: It does have soft notes of Roseflower, though you can definitely smell the fake tan once it develops. Again - still much better than the mainstream brands!!




3. Lavera Self-Tanning Lotion

THE LOWDOWN: Lavera tan is fast developing (3-4 hours) and contains organic lavender, aloe vera and rose water so it smelt pretty darn good when being applied. It’s really nourishing on the skin, however, it goes on clear and I found it hard to tell if I’d applied it evenly. It was also quite light in colour. I didn’t notice a big difference in my tan - so this could be great for those with a fairer skin tones. If you want a darker tan, perhaps apply a couple of coats and allow it to develop overnight?

COLOUR: I found the colour quite light and would recommend applying a second coat coat to get the desired effect.

SCENT: It smells really delish when applying though a hint of the fake tan smell came through after about an hour.

DEVELOPING TIME: I left it 4 hours as suggested on the package but leaving it longer would probably have built a deeper tan.



4. Prtty Peaushun Skin Tight Body Lotion

THE LOWDOWN: This isn’t actually a fake tan, it’s a tinted body moisturiser which means it’s free from DHA and known toxins such as Parabens and Petrochemicals! While it’s only for single use and washes off in the shower,  it's made with beautiful natural ingredients including Avocado, Pomelo and Jojoba Oil, that work to firm, tighten and smooth the skin. Really great if your looking for a light glow without the fuss, the smell and the mess of a serious fake tan.

COLOUR: Available in four shades so you can choose the one that right for you!

SCENT: Interestingly enough, although this doesn't include DHA, it still has a rather strong scent that I can't quite put my finger on!

DEVELOPING TIME: instant, though its quite faint. It gives more of a glow rather than tan. Ideal for special occassions but not a replacement for fake tan. 

HOW LONG DOES IT LAST: washes off in the shower - single use only. 


5. Haut's Caramel Tan

THE LOWDOWN: (Em reviewed this one!). This stuff is the bees knees because it contains absolutely no DHA. Nada! It's also all natural, organic, vegan friendly, cruelty free, incredibly hydrating on the skin AND suitable for use on the face (So as you can imagine, I WAS SERIOUSLY EXCITED WHEN I FOUND THIS!) It is easy to apply and develops into a natural looking, light tan. No streaks, no smell and no nasties! This is hands down my pick of the bunch as its the most 'natural' in application, appearance and formula! 

HAUTE Caramel Self Tan

COLOUR: Light to medium tan when built

SCENT: No DHA = no fake tan smell. Its seriously awesome!

DEVELOPING TIME: I left it on overnight and woke up to a lightly tanned face (you can also use on the body). Nothing over the top, just a beautiful bronze hue. I never thought I would say this about a fake tan BUT, I'M IN LOVE!

HOW LONG DOES IT LAST: It depends how often you're washing your face and body, though I think it's fair to say 2-4 days. 

BONUS - It also contains red raspberry seed oil which is a toxin-free, full-spectrum, natural SPF with wonderful anti-ageing properties!


Do you have any favourite natural fake tans? If so, we'd love to hear about them in the comments below..