Get Golden Skin without Tanning Beds ...

Golden skin tones never go out of fashion, and many women like to look all year round as though they've just come back from vacation. But tanning in the sun is not a very safe way of getting a tanned look, and tanning beds can have other dangers beside skin damage and cancer (source: independent.co.uk). So how can you get a tanned look without risking your health? Here's how …

1. Instant Tan

For a quick, short-term effect use an instant tan. There are tons of different brands on the market to suit all budgets. They come in different formulations, such as mousse and gel - use whichever you find easiest to apply (mousse will be easiest for large areas such as legs). Instant tans can often be washed off, so are ideal if you just want a golden look for a night out.

2. Self Tan

Self tan is a little more fiddly as it needs to be left for several hours to 'set'. However, it should last longer. Do remember to be careful that it doesn't rub off on clothes or furnishings while developing. Try self-tan if you've got time on your hands; repeat the application regularly to maintain your golden glow.

3. Gradual Tan

These are lotions that have a cumulative effect; although you won't get a really dark tan with them, they'll give you a subtle sun-kissed glow. The advantage of gradual tan lotions is that they often have a very moisturising effect, so are perfect if you have dry skin and need to use a body lotion as well.

4. Bronzer

If you just want a tanned look on your face, go for bronzer. But do be sure not to apply too much, or your face will look like it doesn't belong to your body! Bronzer is easy to apply, and much quicker than using fake tan. Apply it to the areas that would naturally catch the sun, like your cheekbones and along your jawline.

5. Coffee

Yes, apparently you can use coffee to give yourself a tanned look. You'll need to brew a very strong pot of coffee, and when it's cooled add to unscented body lotion. If it works (come back and tell me if it does!), it probably won't last beyond your next shower. But it's got to be safer than using a tanning bed or baking in the sun!

6. Spray Tan

For a really professional look, get a spray tan. It may not be a cheap option, but it's the best way of covering your entire body (it's hard to apply fake tan yourself and get it completely even!). A spray tan will last about a week, so is ideal if you're going on vacation and don't want to look too pale when you arrive (do be cautious if you sunbathe though - don't overdo it and USE PROTECTION)

7. Preparation

Finally, before using any of these fake tan methods you'll need to prepare your body. It should be exfoliated first, or the dead skin cells will stop the tan taking properly. You should also shave your legs the day before, to avoid any sensitive reaction. And avoid going swimming, as the chlorine in swimming pools will make your tan fade faster.

Remember that any fake tan won't protect your skin against the sun, so use the usual precautions of covering up and using an SPF. Do you think we should all just be happy with our skin tone?