6 easy ways to get an instant summer glow without fake tan

Sheets too expensive to mess up with self-tanner? Try these instead

Beauty Crew Beauty Writer / June 03 2024

Tanning products have come a LONG way. While we’ve all battled with streaks, bad smells and Geordie Shore-worthy orange hues in the past, the new advanced formulas now deliver faster results, easier application and more choice for your end result. 

But while a fake tan is one sure-fire way to nab that summer holiday glow, sometimes you’re short on time/can’t be bothered/just not up for wrecking those really nice sheets with a self-tanning formula. For times like these, you need some low-maintenance glow-up options that will get you there with zero commitment. And we know just the products for the job. 

Here are six ways to nab instantly sun-kissed skin without the hassle of self-tanner.


Body shimmer

If you don’t want to go the whole hog on the tanning front, a shimmery body oil is where it’s at. The endota Organics™ Jojoba & Coconut Dry Shimmer Oil is probably the closest thing to sunshine in a bottle. Containing a blend of naturally derived oils (it won’t just make your skin glow, but it also helps keep it hydrated), this dry shimmer oil will give you a subtle and natural bronzed sheen without the annoying greasiness. Mix a couple of drops with your everyday foundation or apply it over your body for an all-over glow. The best part? You can just rinse it off at the end of the day.



For an effortless, natural tan without the shine, try dusting on a lightweight bronzer, like Yves Saint Laurent Les Sahariennes Bronzing Stones Sun-Kissed Glow Creator. Using a large brush, focus on the high points of your face, like your cheekbones and temples (pretty much apply it wherever the sun naturally hits your face). Dust some bronzer down the front of your legs, arms and the décolletage for a head-to-toe radiance-boosting glow.


Body highlighter

Pull off that Insta-worthy glass skin look with a highlighter like Bondi Sands GLO Lights. Available in Pearl, Gold and Bronze, these multitasking highlighters seamlessly melt into your skin for a luminescent, high-impact glow. Remember, highlighter on your shins works just like highlighter on your cheekbones to accentuate your best features! Mix the liquid highlighter with your body moisturiser or simply apply it down the centre of your legs to make them not only look slimmer, but to give them a natural-looking tan, too.


Bright nail polish

While we all know a pop of nail colour can brighten your entire makeup look, you might not realise that it can also make you look more tanned – no matter how pale you may be, a bright nail polish can work wonders on your complexion. Red and yellow-toned colours, in particular, have the ability to accentuate warm tones in the skin and make you look extra tan. Think colours like coral (we like Essie Braziliant), raspberry pink, neon orange and sunny yellow hues (don’t forget to do your toes, too!).



Looking more tanned can be as simple as going up a shade in your usual foundation. If this looks a little intense, simply add a couple of drops of a darker foundation shade to your regular base and blend it around the outside of your face to enhance your features. Using a contouring brush, work it around your cheekbones, your jawline and the natural contours of your face to create the illusion of a tanned glow. Try L’Oréal Paris Infallible 24H Fresh Foundation – it’s a lightweight dewy formula that is perfect for those warm summer days.


Sunscreen with a shimmer

Get your sun protection and shimmer on with a multitasking goodie like Ella Baché Great SPF50 Sunglow Spray. This vacay-ready tinted spray will leave your skin with a dewy finish and a hint of shimmer. Plus, it’s rich in skin-loving antioxidants for silky smooth, hydrated skin. On top of that, it provides two-hour water resistance. What a champ. 

Are you a die-hard self-tanner? Check out 13 of the best self-tanners that are about to become your new go-to, and if you’re heading out and in a pinch, the hosts of Get Lippy have just the solutions. Hit play on the ep below to find out their quick fix fake tan tips.

Have you tried any of these instant bronzing products before? Please share with us in the comments section below.

Main image credit: @elyse.knowles

Erin Docherty is a Beauty Writer for BEAUTYcrew, Beauty Editor for Women's Health magazine and a Grooming Writer for Men's Health magazine. She has a keen interest in cosmeceutical skin care and is currently working on minimising her 9-step skin care routine – because ain’t nobody got time for that. When she’s not writing about the latest beauty news, or applying copious amounts of serum, you can find her spending all her money in Sephora.