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The Only Self-Tanner That Makes People Think I’ve Actually Been on Holiday

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Main image – Bare By Vogue

Don’t you just love the feeling of coming back from holiday? Well, not the bit when the holiday is over, that’s completely devastating. 

But the feeling of your skin being so glowy and downright golden that you don’t need to wear any base as well as everyone commenting on how ‘well’ (read: tanned) you look? My confidence levels when ‘looking well’ go up by at least 99%.

In my world though, holidays abroad don’t happen all that often, mainly because of the two extra humans we brought into the world who just so happen to double our flight costs. So when it comes to looking sun kissed, I have to use my imagination until the warmer weather arrives.

But what do you do when it gets to the end of spring in the UK, and you still haven’t been blessed with any hint of warmth? You take matters into your own hands, that’s what. Cue: Bare By Vogue Self Tan Foam AKA my new best friend. 


Image – Courtesy of writer


You can tell by now that this bottle of sunshine has been a hit for me in recent weeks. But what with the same old blustery weather forecasted over here for the foreseeable, let me tell you why it has saved my see-through skin sanity. So that it might do the same for yours.


Ease of use

I’ve tried a lot of fake tans in my 18 years as a beauty editor and there have certainly been highs and lows. 

Most liquid tans I’ve tried, for example, have been real lows. As soon as they come into contact with my skin they stay there. They don’t budge. So there is no simple way of blending them into my skin for an even finish. In fact, most of them just stain it and dry it out. And don’t get my started on how many times a liquid tan has splashed onto my cream carpet. 

The highs though have been the foams. They’re usually nice and light and are really easy to blend using a tanning mitt. And the Bare by Vogue mousse is no exception.  When I first tried it, I noticed its ease of use straight away, how beautifully it glided over my skin and, unlike those runny liquids, how simple it was to move and blend.


Winning formula

It comes in three shades – ultra dark, dark and medium. I have fair-ish skin, so I went for the medium shade which turned out to be perfect. Along with a plethora of other ingredients, it contains things like goji berry, chamomile, grapefruit and pomegranate, promising to boost both the skin’s health and glow. 

It also promises to make skin smoother, plumper and firmer. Hmm. I’m not sure fake tan can really do that – can it? An overall tan can, of course, make skin look more even but in my opinion it’s the scrub you use beforehand that makes it smooth and firm.

Anyway, I’m willing to let it slide. Because I don’t buy fake tan for the purpose of firmer skin, just a really nice glowing tan please. And my first impressions of this were nothing but glowing. You notice an instant guide colour on your skin, it doesn’t look or feel dry, and I have to say, I didn’t hate the smell either.  


Image – Bare By Vogue


All hail the tanning brands who are actually listening to us when we say we don’t want to smell like biscuits! Don’t get me wrong, the smell of this one is a little sickly sweet. But when you think about the alternatives, which would you prefer? And it really isn’t overbearing at all. 


The results

The packaging says you’ll notice a rich, natural looking colour within 4-8 hours but, honestly, I noticed within one. I can happily apply this in the morning if I’ve got a bit of extra time and feel glowy and tanned for the rest of the day (just don’t wash your hands for a while after application…)

It’s not overly sticky but make sure you wait a while before wearing clothes as it can transfer (come on, what instant fake tan doesn’t?). I often get out of the shower, dry my skin, apply the tan, then wrap a towel around me while I blow dry my hair and do my makeup. This leaves plenty of time for it to dry on my skin (plus the hairdryer doubles up as a tan-drier too!)

If I apply it in the evening and then go to bed, I wake up feeling like a bronzed goddess. I mean, wow. It gives a seriously natural golden colour and honestly? It’s the self-tanner I’ve received the most comments on. 

“Have you been away?” “Wow you’re looking well!” “How do you look so naturally tanned?” As opposed to the usual “have you done a fake tan?” comment, which is what I get with other tanners. 

Yup, Bare by Vogue Self Tan Foam is my new secret weapon. Only, it’s not so secret because there is no way I could get a tan like that in such an icy cold UK spring. So, honesty is the best policy here. But once they know it’s a self-tan and not just my natural spring hue (I wish!), they want to know where they can get some too. 

And as a beauty editor, it says a lot about a tanner when you’ve got a link to it saved in your phone ready to copy, paste and send to a friend via WhatsApp. Why search it up on Google every day when you can just retrieve it quickly from your notes?! It sounds cocky but it’s not me, it’s the tan!

And finally, I rarely streak with this tanner. Whether that’s because of the formula or because how to apply a streak-free tan has been drilled into me after years of writing about it, I don’t know. But the trick is to use a moisturiser on your dry bits, pre-tan – elbows, knuckles, toes, heels, wrists, knees etc – and apply only the excess tan there and you should get ‘glowing’ results. 


What other users are saying

It seems lots of people agree with me about its natural finish. Andrea on says “one of the best tans I’ve ever used, goes on nicely and looks very natural. It has a pleasant smell.” And Tracey Smith on Amazon says, “amazing colour, goes on easily and not sticky once applied.”


Overall value for money

The great thing about a tanning mousse is that a little goes a long way, so your bottle could last a while if you’re not applying it every single day or you’re just saving it for special occasions. 

At £29.75 though, it is at the higher end of what I would like to spend on a fake tan. But it’s cheaper than a lot of other tanners that are, in my opinion, not this good. And dare I say it, it’s way cheaper than a flight to the south of France. Sunny weather is always guaranteed with this option…


The takeaway

Let’s face it, self-tanning is the safest way to glow whether it’s hot outside or not. And I strongly recommend you give this one a try. 

It never dries my skin out, it doesn’t have the scent of oatmeal, biscuits, curry, or any other well-known fake tan fragrances and it provides the finish everyone’s always searching for. 

No orangey colour. No uneven patches or streaks. Just a natural, even, golden glow that makes people do that ‘has she been away?’ double take. It’s one big confidence boost in a mousse and I’ve officially added it to my personal ‘must-have-in-stock-at-all-times’ checklist.


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Beauty Editor

The former Beauty Editor of Glamour UK, Philippa has been a beauty and lifestyle journalist for over 16 years, picking up countless tips and tricks from makeup artists, hair stylists, dermatologists and celebrities. In that time she’s written for names like Cosmopolitan, The Sunday Times Style, The Telegraph, Grazia, Refinery 29 and Byrdie. Philippa lives in the UK with her husband, two children and their hyperactive cockapoo, Paddy.

Expertise: Makeup, hair care
Education: Oxford Brookes University

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