fake tan on pale skin

The Best Fake Tan for Pale Skin (On a budget)

the best fake tan for pale skin (on a serious budget!)

[This post on the best fake tan for pale skin was updated in June 2024]

I wasn’t sure whether or not to write a post about the best fake tan for pale skin. I mean, I’ve written a bit before about being pale and proud, and how I don’t think people should feel pressured into changing the colour of their skin just to suit other people’s preferences, and I stand by that. Honestly, I feel like I’m constantly seeing comments about how such-and-such a celebrity “should get a tan”, or how X blogger should have used self tanner before she wore that dress, and it drives me crazy. How could anyone think it could EVER be OK to criticize the colour of someone’s skin? Or tell them they should change it? It depresses the life out of me, and seriously makes me despair for humanity – but that’s possibly another post for another day.

Today, meanwhile, I’m talking about the best fake tan for pale skin – because yes, although I’m perfectly happy with my pale skin, and don’t feel any pressure whatsoever to change it just to please other people, I’m not beyond hitting the (fake tan) bottle occasionally either. When I say “occasionally”, I mean VERY occasionally – I’m much too lazy to keep up any kind of a routine with this, and this week was the first time I’ve used fake tan in over a year, but I happen to think I’ve discovered the best fake tan for pale skin, so I figured I should probably share that piece of information, so the rest of the pale-skinned population can benefit from it too, should they desire.

So, what is this wonder?

It’s Avon Skin So Soft Enhance & Glow Airbrush Tanning Spray, and it’s £5.25 per bottle. Weren’t expecting THAT, were you?

Is this the best fake tan for pale skin?Is this the best fake tan for pale skin?best self tan for pale skin

Yes, the best fake tan for pale skin is available on Amazon, and will set you back just a few pounds.

Avon Skin So Soft Enhance & Glow Airbrush Tanning Spray 150ml, Sun-Kissed Glow, Quick Drying, Easy to Use, Cruelty FreeLike a lot of people, I’ve experimented with various fake tans over the years, ranging from the suspiciously cheap to the eye-wateringly expensive. This one is by far my favourite (which is why I was absolutely AMAZED to find they were still selling it: it’s been a while since I first bought it, and me liking a product is normally a sure sign that it’ll be instantly discontinued), but I’ve been buying this for a couple of years now, and it’s still available, so long may that continue.

The main reason I like this product is that it’s a dry spray – and one of the best ones I’ve ever tried, too. One of my biggest problems with fake tans and gradual tanners is that most of them take forever to sink into the skin, which means that, once you’ve applied them, you have to stand around naked for a while waiting for it to dry, knowing that if you DON’T do this, you’re going to risk a ‘Turin’s shroud’ situation when the tan comes off on your clothes or bedsheets. This product, however, dries pretty much instantly: I’m not exaggerating when I say that I can apply it and then immediately put on my jeans or leggings, and go about my business. Seriously. 

fake tan on pale skinDespite this, the first time I used it, I DIDN’T think it deserved the title of The Best Fake Tan for Pale Skin, because the very first time I used it, it didn’t actually seem to make any difference. Woe! That, however, is because this is very much  gradual tanner. It does take a few days to take effect, and the difference is fairly subtle at first. This is another thing I like about it, though; no, it won’t give you a tan overnight, but when you have skin as pale as mine is, that would be quite weird, really. I prefer to build the colour up slowly, so I can stop when I feel I’ve reached the colour I want, and this product definitely does that. The gradual nature of it means that you do have to start using it in advance if you want to be tanned for a particular trip or event, say (I usually start around  week before), but because it’s so quick and easy to apply, I don’t find that a huge deal, all things considered. Even with repeated use, however, I don’t find the colour to be orange unnatural: it’s still fairly light, which is exactly what I’m looking for – I know I don’t have the patience to maintain a darker tan (And I don’t really think it would suit me, either), so my aim is mostly just to ‘take the glare off’ my pale legs, and give them a little bit of colour, without turning them orange. 

It’s not totally perfect, though: like most fake tans I’ve tried, this product will adhere more to dry skin, so, as with anything else, you’ll want to moisturize your skin beforehand, and pay particular attention to things like knees and elbows, which are more likely to turn orange. With that said, I’ve yet to have a true disaster with this – and I’m notorious for my fake tan disasters –  so while I wouldn’t describe it as foolproof, exactly, it’s probably as close to it as you’ll get at this kind of price. 

So: the best fake tan for pale skin? I think so – although it’s not like I’ve done a conclusive study or anything like that, so if you know of a better one (and it costs less than £5), do tell!

Related: Why am i so pale?

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  • The Other Emma


    Ah boo, won’t be able to get it in Ireland 🙁

    I love Coco Brown tan – there’s a couple of different options which range from barely there all the way up to “have you been baking yourself in an oven” The night to day tan is great. You slap it on, it comes up with a colour straight away so you can go straight out but the lasting colour develops underneath it so when you shower in the morning you’re left with a lovely natural colour.
    There is also a one hour tan – put it on and you can shower an hour later and the colour has developed.
    It’s about €6 so not dear and it’s developed by an Irish woman so no weird orange hue because she understands pale skin and (I am open to correction on this point) I believe she has eczema so wanted to develop a tan that wouldn’t gather in the dry patches caused by it. I have eczema and it’s the only tan that doesn’t do this to me.
    Well worth a go if you can get your hands on it.

    August 27, 2015
  • It doesn’t have The Smell? What is this witchcraft?! And why are there no Asdas near me.

    August 27, 2015
  • I feel your pain, people always laugh at me when I say I’ve put fake tan on just to take the edge off just how white I really am. I never want to look tanned I just don’t want to look glaringly white! I’m definitely going to have to give this one a try, especially at bloomin’ £3.50 AND no bad smell? Win win. Thanks Amber!

    Made In The 1990’s.

    August 27, 2015
  • Ok it costs £7.99 so it’s not cheaper but the Rimmel Sun Shimmer mousse is great. If you ever need another one to try, I’d recommend it. I prefer the mousse over any other form (in light)


    August 27, 2015
  • OOH I always use expensive ones and sometimes they come out disastrously so I don’t think there’s any harm in trying this as I am ghostly pale xxx

    August 27, 2015
  • I’m always pale and glaringly white around the legs and I live in Australia! It looks weird in summer because I keep out of the sun as much as possible.

    August 27, 2015
  • Riya


    I dont really have the patience for a cream to work. i usually get a spray tan. Checkout {REDACTED} – a mobile beauty therapy service. They have insured experienced therapists and come to your home for service.

    October 7, 2015