Nothing says health, wealth, and happiness like a gorgeous tan – and you don’t have to be cruising the Riviera in your private yacht in order to get one!

From rocking gorgeous sundresses in summer to looking healthy despite the winter gloom, a suntan is always in season; and as a bonus, it will hide any blemishes, smooth out the complexion and make you look slimmer. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to get yourself that gorgeous glow, to suit every budget and schedule.

Natural Sun

A natural suntan can be truly beautiful, especially if you get it at the seaside or by a pool, as water makes the tan darker, and that much more even.

Being out in the sun also provides your body with much-needed vitamin D, for healthy bones, nerves and muscles, and fresh air.

This kind of tan also lasts a lot longer than the spray and cream versions. But remember that the natural sun is only good in moderation!

It’s important to tan gradually, so if you’re in a really hot climate, avoid being in direct sunlight at midday. If you try to go from Snow White to Grecian goddess in one day, you’re going to end up with a very painful sunburn instead: not only is it unsightly, but regularly burned skin can develop age spots and there is even the chance of skin cancer for those with genetic predispositions.

Spray tanning

If you don’t like sitting out in the sun, or if you’re in the middle of winter with hardly any sunshine in sight for months on end, there’s always the spray-tan option.

For this, you can pick whichever shade suits you best and then head over to the nearest salon for a professional spray tan, or try a tanning spray or cream at home.

This method just adds a tint to your skin, so you don’t have to worry about sunburn, age spots, or cancer.

Bear in mind that this kind of tan tends to come off a lot sooner than a natural tan, and the cream can leave dark marks on your bedding and clothes. Also, you must be careful during the application process, because if not applied correctly, you’ll be left with noticeable, uneven streaks across your skin.

Don’t forget to check how long the spray you use takes to dry – some can stay sticky for several hours afterward.

Melanotan tablets

Melanotan is a synthetic hormone that darkens your complexion by stimulating your natural melatonin. It is a good option for a smudge-free, long-lasting tan without having to expose your skin to the harsh rays of the sun.

These tables are also a lot more affordable than regular salon appointments or messy bottles of tanning creams. The results take a few days to show, but soon your skin will begin to develop the desired golden glow.

It is also a great way to prevent sunburn if you’re planning to head out to the beach, as it darkens your skin in advance. However, make sure you’re taking the real thing. Real, quality tanning tablets will leave you beautifully bronzed – others may leave you looking orange instead.

Salon sunbeds

Tanning salons, and beauty salons offering tanning services, are easy to find and widely available, with a broad price range of services, so you don’t have to buy a plane ticket to get a few rays in the winter gloom.

They are quick and convenient – and you can even get your nails done, while you’re there.

Though there is still the risk of skin spots and cancer associated with natural tanning, recent advances in technology mean that tanning beds work a lot faster than natural sunlight.

Less time spent exposed to direct rays means reduced chance of sunburn, blemishes, or cancer.

Sun beds: standing up

Standing booths are usually roomier than lying down ones, which means that you can move around, and expose different tricky areas of skin as you would naturally in the sun, allowing for a more even and authentic tan.

These also usually work a bit faster than lying down booths, as the bulbs tend to be stronger, which is great when you’re in a hurry, or if you just want to limit exposure to the light. 

Sun beds: lying down

On the other hand, lying down in a tanning bed is much more relaxing, and you still get tanned in a relatively short time. But remember to change your position periodically, as lying in the same position can result in tan creases or missed tricky areas, e.g. under the arms.

Whichever way you choose to tan, remember that moderation is the key to turning heads with your lasting, natural bronzed glow.