It’s denim shorts season but, after a long, cold winter, we’re not quite prepared. We need to fake that summer glow, but should we get it from a can or a spray tan salon? And how can we make it last? Consider this your definitive guide to faux tans.

Gradual tans

The ultimate entry point when it comes to the fake tan game: gradual tanner. As the name suggests, these products apply a light layer of tan to your skin – enough to brighten your complexion, without any fear of achieving ‘Oompa Loompa’ status. The other great thing about gradual tans is that they’re buildable. Each day you apply them, the more the colour you will see. This is particularly helpful when it comes to tanning your face, as you can go slow until you achieve the result you want.

One of the biggest names in gradual tan is EcoTan by Sonya Driver. Their Face Tan Water is the OG organic self-tanner for your face, neck and décolletage. It’s a global fan favourite for good reason – not only will it help you achieve a sunkissed glow, but it is also brilliantly formulated to clear blemishes and reduce the appearance of redness. An even, golden glow (sans sun exposure) that’s also good for your skin? It’s a game changer. Just look at the before and after photos below…

At-home spray tans

When it comes to self-tanning, not all products are created equal. Once upon a time, we were limited to aerosol cans that left our bathrooms looking like a crime scene. Now, thankfully, there are plenty of options available to us. While you may still prefer the classic “spray” of a spray tan, for newbies, we recommend a foam or mousse version. Not only are mousses easier to apply to your skin (and only your skin) but they offer an even finish when applied correctly.

Did you know that at-home tans come in different colours, like red, green and even violet? Don’t worry – it’s relatively simple to sort out which one will be the best fit for you. People with fair skin that doesn’t naturally tan easily should opt for a red-based tan, while green-based tans will work on just about every other skin tone. As for violet-based tans, these deliver a much darker finish. Maybe steer clear of those ones if you’re fair and only looking to go a bit darker than your natural skin tones.

As beauty expert Alexandra Tennant explained to haven, you’ll also want to invest in a good mitt. This will help your hands stay tan-free and allow you to work the tan into your skin in small, circular motions, promising a natural finish. As far as determining how long to leave your tan on for and how to go about applying a second coat (try to stop there to avoid looking like an Oompa Loompa), simply follow the instructions on the packaging of your chosen spray tan and you can’t go wrong.

  1. Bondi Sands self tanning foam, $19.99, www.priceline.com.au 
  2. St Tropez bronzing mousse, $29.97, www.chemistwarehouse.com.au 
  3. Minetan violet-based tan, $29.99, au.shop.minetanbodyskin.com 

For a no-fail guide to applying your own tan – and making it last – head here.

In-salon spray tans

If you don’t have the time or the energy for self tan, you may want to consider paying a visit to one of the many tanning locations around town. They’re popping up all the time, and getting more and more luxurious, too.

But before you pay a visit to one, it’s a good idea to come prepared. Head here to read our chat with the founder of leading Brisbane tanning salon, Lush Tan Beauty, Keely Gerbanas.

Lush Tan & Brows, New Farm
The Lush team specialise in spray tans – and you can totally tell – but they’ve also branched out into a whole range of other beauty treatments. If you’re looking for a place to top up your tan, paint your nails and pluck your brows, this is it.

Tan Lounge, Fortitude Valley and Burleigh Heads
It’s a favourite for influencers, and for good reason – at Tan Lounge, you can indulge in the ultimate salon experience and walk out with the tan of your dreams. And Don’t worry Gold Coast, this isn’t just for Brisbanites – Tan Lounge has just opened at Burleigh!

Bella Bronze Tan, Mermaid Beach
Looking for the best spray tan on the Gold Coast? You’ll find it at Bella Bronze – they literally hold the award for it! If you fall in love (we promise, you will) you can book a multi-pack of spray tans that will see you through summer.



haven is all about family, life and style in Brisbane's inner city suburbs, the Gold Coast, south to Byron Bay. We have been keeping parents in the know for over eight years, with fun, fresh and helpful stories that they can take tips from or treasure in their own library.