The best tan accelerators for gorgeous, glowing skin

Ensure you look tanned the safe way with these clever beauty buys
  • We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.
  • From tanning tablets, to tingling lotions, to drops and silky serums – there are plenty of options to boost and prolong your tan

    Even if you’re someone who tans well naturally it’s a struggle to maintain your golden glow. Fortunately, there are an array of tan accelerators to keep us looking sun-kissed for longer.

    We asked celebrity makeup artist & tanner Olivia Todd about the best tan accelerators around, and why they are a safe and healthy alternative to the sun’s rays and sunbeds.

    What are the benefits of tan accelerators?

    “I think tanning accelerators are a great way to build up a beautiful natural looking glow over time,” says Olivia. “If you’re not quite brave enough to opt for a spray tan or tan in a bottle they’re your day-to-day answer to a sun-kissed glow.”

    What’s more, those days of icky sticky tan accelerators are over. “Now, we have plenty of options. New tanning formulas are nothing like their sticky, strong-smelling, orangey-looking predecessors,” adds Olivia. “I prefer lotions and potions partly due to the fact that the kind of tan accelerators you apply are often in the form of  a super luxurious moisturiser or serum.  These make you feel like you’re doing something good and achieving something. Pills work, but from experience they’re easier to forget and you don’t get that same pampering feeling.”

    “When you apply tan accelerators it’s very easy to achieve a streak-free natural looking tan as they don’t contain DHA or pigment,” she says. “They’re also packed with moisture-loving and melanin-boosting ingredients (melanin is pigment in your skin responsible for tanning), which help to hydrate the skin and prevent flaking, peeling and dehydration. Some of the beneficial oils include almond, jojoba, coconut, cocoa butter, which are all great for nourishing the skin.”

    Are tan accelerators safe?

    Tanning in the sun or on a sunbed takes its toll on your skin, often drying it out and fast-forwarding the ageing process,” she says. “Not to mention the added risks that come with subjecting yourself to harmful UV rays.”

    “What I love about tan accelerators is that they help to kick-start the tanning process without the need to bake in the sun all day. It’s important to note, however, that they don’t act as a barrier. This is a common misconception. SPF must always be applied first to protect your skin. Even those that are a 2-in-1 product must be applied in addition to your normal sun protection.”

    Why do you think we love a tan?

    “It’s no secret that a tan makes you look healthier. I think it’s the main reason women love to sport one,” says Olivia. “It’s the ultimate skin booster that covers up uneven skin tone, cellulite, veins and makes you look slimmer. This is why a tan is, for many of us, an essential part of looking and feeling your best. I like to think of it as a way to illuminate your natural beauty, the instant fix that makes you look as though you’ve slept for a week or been on a retreat.”

    So, if you want to keep that life-affirming look for a little longer, keep reading for our recommended tan accelerator beauty buys, including Olivia’s top choices.