Fake tan and I have a bit of a love-hate relationship. You see, I love the glowing, just-got-off-a-boat in Mykonos complexion fake tan offers, but over the years I’ve struggled to find one that delivers exactly the right colour, while also not leaving behind that synonymous sticky feeling and signature ‘fake tan’ smell we all know too well. Plus, one that doesn’t require me to scrub myself dry to eventually get back to my natural base.

But, considering I hadn’t been anywhere that was going to give me a naturally bronzed tan in well over 12 months, coupled with our social calendars beginning to fill up again as we head out into the world, it was time to really consider adding a fake tan back into my beauty routine mix.

Someone suggested I try Vacay Body, a skin-loving, vegan and cruelty-free tan that promises to give off a natural, sun-kissed glow. Okay, I needed to learn more. The brand, which has legions of loyal fans that swear by its results, guarantees to “solve your DIY tanning woes” and leave results that look natural, believable and will have strangers asking—“did you just get back from vacation?” If that vacation was the comfort of my couch, then I could safely answer that as a yes, because I was about to put Vacay Body to the test.

Jumping back into the world of fake tan, I figured where better to start than with Vacay Body’s Bronzed Goddess Bundle, which consists of the brand’s best-selling tanning products, including their Self Tan Mousse (I opted for Medium/Dark considering I have a naturally olive skin tone); Self Tanning Drops, which are designed to be added to moisturiser or serum; 2-in-1 Gradual & Tan Extender Mousse to prolong the life of your tan; and of course, an Application Mitt.

I’m sure all of us are pretty well versed in the art of self-tanning, but for those who feel a little out of practice, below is a step-by-step guide of how the brand suggests getting the best results.

Also, a note ahead of applying, if you’ve got some lingering tan still on your skin from a previous application, Vacay Body suggests using their Prep & Prime Cleansing Mousse to create the perfect starting point for your next fresh coat.

STEP ONE: Apply Vacay Body’s Self Tan Mousse in your desired colour to dry, freshly cleansed, lightly exfoliated skin with the Application Mitt using “long, sweeping circular motions.” Note, Vacay Body suggests to use sparingly across areas the tan may attach to the skin, including the knuckles, knees, ankles and elbows.

STEP TWO: Leave on for 2 - 3 hours for a medium tan, or for 6 - 8 for a deeper tan, before showering in lukewarm water without soaps and scrubs.

STEP THREE: Use a moisturiser or Vacay Body’s Gradual Tanning Mousse daily to prolong and maintain your tan.

NOTE: Vacay Body’s products do not contain SPF, so you will still need to be applying your daily sunscreen on top of your fresh coat of tan.

From the get-go, it’s clear that just a little of Vacay Body’s Self Tanning Mousse goes a long way. This particular product from the range is built with a green base, which you can think of as a ‘one-size-fits-all’ when it comes to tans, a base colour that will allow the formula to blend in well with most skin types and tones for a natural finish.

It’s velvety and light and dries incredibly quickly, a huge win in my books, as I don’t like to mess about and wait around in my bathroom until it’s safe to put on post-tan clothes (dark colours, always), and that sticky feeling only lasted as long as it took to dry. Another huge win.

We’ve also come a long way since lathering up a mousse all over our bodies and face, and instead of applying the mousse across your sensitive skin, that’s where the brand’s Illuminating Face Tanning Drops come in, formulated with skincare and tanning ingredients that’ll leave as natural a finish as the mousse. Or, as Vacay Body describes, so there’s “no more face fake tan disasters.” Its formula is specifically made for that sensitive area in mind, with ingredients like hyaluronic acid, Kakadu plum and vitamin C to ensure you get a hydrated, plump complexion to boot.

I personally added it to my moisturiser and applied it as I normally would. This ensures you get a glowing finish with absolutely no streaks, and honestly, I’ve been a fan of self-tanning drops for a while, and this one certainly stacks up as leaving healthy, fresh-looking skin in its wake. Just be sure to wash your hands immediately after.

Because I wanted a natural coat, after three hours I hopped back in the shower to finish up the process (you can leave it on for longer if you’re wanting a deeper finish). I was impressed, it really did feel like I had just arrived home from a tropical vacay, and not like I’d been stuck in a nationwide lockdown for months. It also didn’t stick to the dry areas like you’d expect, like under the armpits and ankles, so that’s a big plus.

All in all, if you’re after a tan that’s natural, or “believable”, Vacay Body certainly lives up to what it promises, and no word of a lie, a friend of mine the day after I’d applied my first coat genuinely asked, ”Where did you get this colour?”, so I’d say that’s all the proof I need.


This article was brought to you by Her Black Book for Vacay Body.

Main Image Credit: @hondroutwins & @jahna_barraclough