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Can you tell SHE'S FAKING IT? The line between reality and illusion is even more blurred this summer with the latest bronzing breakthroughs. Who needs sunshine?

Tan trend: SUPER? FAST

You never know when the sun's coming out and your tights are coming off, so a high-five for super-speedy tans. 'One hour' tans such as St Tropez Express Mousse, PS33, use accelerators that push the tan deeper and faster into the skin. 'It's perfect for a bespoke finish,' says St Tropez's tanning expert Jules Heptonstall. 'Leave it on for an hour for a subtle golden lift, two hours for a medium glow and up to three hours for a rich bronze. And it spares your sheets because you wash it off before bedtime.' Express tans deepen for 8 hours after application so the colour you see after showering isn't the final result.

Tan trend: TANNING OIL

Fake tan and oil were traditionally as compatible as chip butties and WeightWatchers - nothing strips tan faster than an aromatherapy bath. However, 2014 will go down in beauty history as the year of the oil tan, with St Tropez Luxe Dry Oil, PS25, leading the pack. The secret? A clever dual-phase formula that combines fake tan with the super-silky feel of body oil. 'It leaves skin unbelievably soft,' says Jules.

Forget tanning mitts: oil tans are best applied with bare hands. Just wash your palms straight afterwards.

Tan trend: ANTI?

AGEING

A fake tan is a safe tan, but its DHA can make skin temporarily dry, says Jules. 'So try a hydrating self-tan for the face, or mix body tan with facial moisturiser.' Fake Bake is launching The Face, PS22, an anti-ageing facial tan with wrinkle-smoothing matrixyl. Or why not nourish and tan your face at the same time by mixing some Clarins Radiance-Plus Glow Booster, PS18, into your fave night cream.

Tan trend: ULTRA DARK

The month-in-the-Maldives look was huge on the spring catwalks: 'I did five coats of tan at the Topshop show,' says Jules. 'There's so much neon going on, and an ultra-dark tan makes bright colours pop.'

Thankfully, new advances are making the trend easier to pull off: for instance, Lancaster's Intense Melting Delight, PS26, combines DHA with melanin for a deep tan minus the orange undertones. 'You need to moisturise more with dark tans because of the higher level of DHA, so try switching to body butter,' advises Jules.

Don't want to use a dedicated dark tan? Just apply your usual tan two days in a row, says Jules.

Tan trend: THE BARGAINS

The luxury brands have really had to up their game this year because there's another tanning revolution taking place - this time at the tills. There are new names cropping up across the high street, promising a low-cost tan that won't look cheap. Premium brand Vita Liberata has just launched

NKD SKN, where the Tinted Tan

Liquid costs a tenner at Superdrug; and over at Poundland you can snap up the entire Anovia range (primer, tan and instant bronzer) for a fiver.

Tan trend: INSTANT HIT

Wash-off body bronzers were once the poor relation to self-tan, but this summer's instant tans boast the kind of spec previously reserved for face products.

Rimmel Sunshimmer Instant Tan BB, PS6.99, is just like a perfecting foundation for body, while Cocoa Brown Lovely Legs, PS8.99, uses blur cream-style trickery to disguise pores and flaws.

Pro-tan tips

These extra touches make all the difference, says St Tropez's tan man Jules Before tanning, always moisturise backs of hands, knees, heels and elbows to stop them going too dark.

Apply tan from the ankles up using a mitt. Always use a sweeping rather than circular motion; this way the finish is much more even.

Save hands and feet until last, using whatever's left on the tanning mitt. Claw your hands and feet, then lightly pat on a smidge of tan.

Wipe palms and nails afterwards. Also dab a rolled flannel over wrists and up forearms so you don't get a dodgy 'tan sleeve'.

Exfoliate daily with St Tropez Tan Optimiser Body Polish, PS15.39, from day three of your tan so that the colour fades evenly.

If you tan weekly, use St Tropez Instant Tan, PS10, on days five and six. It'll top up your glow while letting your self tan fade underneath.

NB: St Tropez is available nationwide. Visit www.st-tropez.com for stockist details. : Model wears bikini by Panache (www.panache-lingerie.com).
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 4, 2014
Words:716
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