Mild Mocha or the full David Dickinson, madam? We put fake tan shades on trial

Mild Mocha or the full David Dickinson, madam We put fake tan shades on trial



21:41 GMT, 30 May 2012

This month Superdrug launched a fake tan claiming to be the darkest ever shade available in the UK. The store says demand for the ultra‑bronze effect was driven by fans of TV show The Only Way Is Essex, with women desperate to emulate the year-round creosote skin tones of its stars such as Amy Childs.

But many end up looking more like TV antiques expert David Dickinson. The 6.99 Solait Dark Tan Bronzing Foam contains double the amount of tanning chemical previously available outside beauty salons. But how does it compare to other self-tans on the market

To find out we asked pale-skinned LAURA STOTT to try out ten products with the help of tanning expert James Read, whose celebrity clients include Lady Gaga and Mariah Carey.

Tan-tastic: Laura Stoot after testing fake tans

Tan-tastic Laura after testing different brands on different body parts. She wears Make Believe on upper left arm, Vita Liberata on lower left arm, St Tropez Dark on chest, Sienna X on upper right arm, L'Oreal Sublime on lower right arm, LND on stomach, Zan Tan on right thigh, He-shi on right shin, Superdrug Solait on left shin, and Rodail Brazil on left thigh


Superdrug Solait Dark Tan Bronzing Foam, 6.99 for 150ml: 5/10

LAURA SAYS: 'Oompa Loompa orange is not a shade I've ever aspired to, so I was apprehensive. It's the strongest of all, and far darker than I would ever normally go for.

'When I showered it off the result was a brilliant deep bronze which was much too strong for me. The next day I was convinced it looked WAG orange and patchy on my dry skin. Not a product I'll use again.'

JAMES SAYS: 'It's a fantastic price. The colour guide is dark and it does exactly what it says, so if you want a tropical tan you won't be disappointed. The high level of chemicals means it should be long-lasting and it's very easy to apply.'


St Tropez Dark, 33 for 200ml: 10/10

LAURA SAYS:: 'My sensitive skin has reacted badly to St Tropez in the past, but there was no itching with this. The tan boasts melanin technology that claims to tailor the colour to your skin tone, and it seems to work. I was left with a colour that was dark bronze but incredibly natural looking.'

JAMES SAYS: 'A deep reddish-bronze tan that fades well and should suit every skin tone. A very clear winner.'

Superdrug Solait: 5/10

Superdrug Solait: 5/10

L'Oreal Sublime Bronze: 8/10

L'Oreal Sublime: 8/10

LDN Skins Mousse: 7/10

LDN Skins Mousse: 7/10

Sienna X: 8/10

Sienna X: 8/10


Sienna X Dark Glowing Self Tan, 23.95 200ml: 8/10

LAURA SAYS: 'The colour looked extremely dark on application but developed to a surprisingly natural glow that appeared convincingly sun-kissed. It also left my skin feeling supple.'

JAMES SAYS: 'Great for darker skin tones or pale complexions chasing that “just off the beach” hue.'


LDN Skins Mousse Tone 2, 26 for 200ml: 7/10

LAURA SAYS: 'My tummy does naturally go darker than the rest of my body when I get a tan so I think I could get away with this dark-ish shade.'

JAMES SAYS: 'This product gives a deep but natural colour. The mousse makes it ever so easy to get an even result.'


Zen Tan Absolute Luxe Lotion Ultra Dark, 40 for 236ml: 6/10

LAURA SAYS: 'A chocolate-dark tan that left my skin hydrated. The colour looked good but was quite strong on my pale skin, and the strong vanilla fragrance wasn't my favourite. The price tag is steep but the jumbo bottle is perfect for tan addicts.'

JAMES SAYS: 'Very easy to apply evenly and dries quickly. Best for olive skin.


He-shi Dark Foam, 22.95 for 150ml: 8/10

LAURA SAYS: 'A tinted formula that tans instantly. On the mitt this product was a deep mud-brown and I did panic. However, once applied, the colour is surprisingly good. It is very dark, meaning if you want a natural look it's probably better suited to medium/olive skins.'

JAMES SAYS: 'A subtle fragrance and one of the darkest tans on the market, but the shade isn't over the top TOWIE. May be too strong for English roses.'


Rodial Brazil Dark Tan, 35 for 150ml: 7/10

LAURA SAYS: 'Another caramel brown product that looked scary on application, but I loved the creamy consistency. It was perfect for my dry skin which helped prevent patchy results. Once developed, the resulting colour was one of the lighter shades – not for those who want a deep tan – and gave even results. My only criticism was that it took longer to dry than other products, so allow time before dressing.'

JAMES SAYS: 'A small amount goes a long way, and although slightly sticky it blended nicely. The result was natural and the fragrance was subtle.'

Rodial Brazil Dark Tan: 7/10

Rodial Brazil Dark Tan: 7/10

Make Believe: 6/10

Make Believe: 6/10

St Tropez Dark: 10/10

St Tropez Dark: 10/10


Make Believe Self Tan Lotion Dark (Tone 4), 30 for 200ml: 6/10

LAURA SAYS: 'Lighter than some other tans this was well suited to my skin tone. The end result was a nice medium tone that didn't look orange. Again not one for those who want to look super-tanned, and after two days it faded.'

JAMES SAYS:: 'I like the light formulation of the lotion. It's a nice consistency and not too OTT dark. Very easy to apply and fragrance-free.'


L'Oreal Sublime Bronze Self-tan Gold Mousse, 14.99 for 150ml: 8/10

LAURA SAYS: 'This is close to the golden day. It's fast drying and left my skin soft. Two days later my forearm still looked even and fresh, but not one for those who want a dark tan.'

JAMES SAYS: 'A lovely golden shade suitable for all skin tones. Fool-proof and one of my favourites.'


Vita Liberata Phenomenal Tan Mousse Dark, 37.50 for 200ml: 8/10

LAURA SAYS: 'This deep bronze tan contains 70 per cent organic extracts and felt very moisturising. The makers recommend you apply more layers for a stronger tan, but one was enough for me.'

JAMES SAYS: 'Reapply two or three times to achieve your desired intensity.'