Depending on who you ask, alongside sun cream, aftersun, hats and sunglasses, fake tan is up there with one of summer’s most important essentials. And with benefits including glowing skin, enhanced muscle definition, blurring of scars and boosted confidence – all without the risk of UV exposure – it’s easy to see why.
There’s a huge number of brands out there, from St Tropez and St Moritz to Bondi Sands and Isle of Paradise – the latter being the tan of choice for Ryan Gosling, we’ll have you know. But, while all of these brands have lovely sounding names of much sunnier climes, it can often be overwhelming knowing which one to choose.
Unless you’re an avid self-tanner – in which case you’re probably as loyal to one brand as a football fan is to their team – you may be looking for the perfect product to begin your bronzing journey. And we think we may have found it in a rather unlikely place.
Despite offering a range of well-established tanning brands including Hawaiian Tropic, Sienna X and Garnier, high street giant Next has just stepped into the self tan ring. It’s offering up a selection of products including a gradual tanning lotion, tanning mousse, shimmer body oil and all the extras you need to keep your tan lasting longer and looking natural, under the name NX Glow.
So, in true IndyBest fashion, we put it to the test to see what this newcomer was really like compared to our old favourites. Keep reading below to find out which products are definitely strong contenders.
How we tested
At first, there appears to be quite a few products in the NX Glow range, but once you account for the various shades, it actually whittles down the list to just two tanning products, three applicators, one body oil, tan eraser, exfoliation mitt, body scrub and lotion. That makes for quite a straightforward range that’s easy to get your head around.
Using each product as instructed on the label, our tester prepped the skin with the body scrub and exfoliation mitt, tested both tans in every shade applying with the mitt, brush and back applicator, and hydrated the skin with the body lotion intermittently throughout the process. The remover was used to clean up any mistakes – even the best of us can get caught on the tricky bits – and the shimmer oil gave that extra oomph when out-out on the town.
Ease of application, colour, scent and result were all accounted for, and some products certainly fared better than others. For reference, our tester is very pale-skinned, of English/Irish descent and has been a regular self-tanner for around ten years, so they definitely have a good amount of tan testing under their belt. Here’s how the NX Glow range fared...
NX Glow self tan mousse extra dark
Number of shades: Three – light/medium, dark, extra dark
Available in shades light/medium (£14, Next.co.uk), dark (£14, Next.co.uk) and extra dark, our tester jumped in at the lightest shade first. When it comes to self tan, we’d always recommend going for a lighter shade first – especially if this is your first time – then build as desired. Remember, the goal is post-holiday glow, not to look like a different person.
The first thing to note is the scent, as it’s easily one of the best of all tans we’ve come across with an apricot-like aroma. Secondly, although it’s a mousse, there’s no need to shake the product to get it to foam up, it comes out easily every time. And thirdly, it’s incredibly silky, meaning it feels quite luxurious to slather on with the mitt and the guide colour shows exactly what areas have been covered to avoid missing any patches. The result for all shades after being left on for eight hours overnight was a streak-free, natural-looking colour that lasted for around one week.
The light/medium and dark shades weren’t quite dark enough for our tester. Although they took the Edward Cullen-like gleam away, it was giving more one day in the garden rather than two weeks in the Caribbean. Which is why extra dark became our tester’s favourite choice in the end, a surprising result as they’d never gone past a dark shade in any other tan, so do bear in mind it is on the lighter side.
Buy now £14.00, Next.co.uk
NX Glow coconut body scrub
To achieve the perfect tan, preparation is key. Always exfoliate between one to two days before application to ensure dead skin has been removed, lest you be left with a patchy fade or tell-tale cracked desert looking skin.
With a coconut and coffee-like scent, this is another product that had us sniffing away in the shower like a truffle hunting pig. Massaged into wet skin, quartz powder and perlite worked to gently buff while jojoba seed oil added a layer of nourishment. It is on the tackier, soap-like side so definitely needs a thorough rinse afterwards, and although it did a great job on larger areas such as the tummy, legs and chest, we did jump in with a rougher exfoliation mitt for drier areas such as the feet and elbows.
Buy now £8.00, Next.co.uk
Next self tan bed sheet protector
We’ve already reviewed the TikTok famous self tan bed sheet protector in-depth, but included as part of the tanning range we just had to give it another go – and again, we were chuffed. Easy to pop on, it saved our crisp white sheets and pillow during this month of tan testing and it is sure to do the same for many months (if not years) to come.
To echo our fellow tester, we too think it made the tan develop into a deeper colour, probably thanks to the fact it stayed on our bodies rather than on the sheets. And, of course, it can be used with any tanning product, not just the NX Glow range.
Buy now £20.00, Next.co.uk
NX Glow coconut body butter
Hydrating your skin in the days after you self-tan can extend its longevity for a good few days. This body butter is incredibly thick and felt like a real treat to apply each evening thanks to its scent, creamy texture and hydrating effect. Coconut oil and shea butter provide nourishment and hydration, while the scent is similar to the body scrub, giving a coconut frappuccino-like smell we found quite moreish. Just note, as it is so thick, it does take a good five minutes or so to fully absorb so be sure to wait before trying to drag jeans up damp-like thighs.
If you’re after a quick and easy buy for your whole tanning routine, the NX Glow ultimate tan kit includes this body butter, body scrub, tanning mitt and tanning mouse, and you’ll be saving money compared to if buying seperatley too (£26, Next.co.uk).
Buy now £3.00, Next.co.uk
NX Glow tinted body shimmer oil
Available in shades bronze, rose pink gold and champagne gold (our favourite), this body glow oil gave a little extra kick to the glow that was perfect for date nights, summer evenings out or as a little pick me up on grey-skinned kind of days. Acting like a highlighter for the body, tiny glittery specks are massaged into the legs, arms and decolatage for a more radiant finish, but in a very subtle way – you won’t look like a bauble, we promise.
Again, it is incredibly whiffy with a sweet scent that could also be used in place of perfume, for those people getting extra close. Coconut oil and vitamin E work to hydrate and nourish the skin, meaning it’s not just all about the aesthetic either. And interestingly, this is the only product in the range in a glass bottle instead of plastic, making it feel incredibly luxurious on the bathroom shelf too.
Buy now £12.00, Next.co.uk
NX Glow self-tan eraser spray
Even well-versed tanners make mistakes every now and again, whether that’s forgetting to moisturise knees, elbow and feet before, or not washing their hands afterwards – so a good tan eraser is always handy to have in the cupboard. For small, faint mistakes, this one works wonders. Simply spray on to dry skin at least three days after tanning, wait around five minutes and rinse off.
For bigger mistakes you will need to get the exfoliating mitt out, as although this helps a little bit, it’s not quite tough enough to banish big blunders. Glycolic acid and lactic acid work as the key ingredients to eat away at dead skin while coconut oil, vitamin E and aloe leaf juice nourish at the same time. Although it feels gentle when on, it’s always best to do a small patch test beforehand to check for any reactions just in case.
Buy now £10.00, Next.co.uk
NX Glow body brush
To reduce the risk of orange fingers or bright white toes, using a body brush is a great little trick to ensure even coverage over those tricky parts. Long and narrow, this NX Glow brush quickly covers the hands and feet within seconds and is even angled to reach smaller cervices too. The bristles are incredibly soft so we also used them across our face on a couple of occasions as well, making sure to thoroughly wash the brush in between uses with soapy water. You can even use this to apply the body oil across your legs, arms and chest too.
Buy now £6.00, Next.co.uk
The verdict: NX Glow fake tan range
Next’s first fake tan range definitely piqued our testers interest, it’s not everyday a giant retailer steps into new territory. But, with fake tan being a booming business, it’s easy to see why Next may want a slice of the pie.
Overall, the range delivers an even, sunkissed glow that will leave you with that just back from holiday vibe and all at an affordable price point. We personally think that the NX Glow self tan mousse is a great first tan to try for beginners – it’s easy to apply, streak-free and with a gentle colour that won’t highlight any mistakes. For more experienced bronzers after a deeper tan, don’t be scared to jump in at shade extra dark – it feels like a scary step but it’s certainly nowhere near as dark as you may first think.
And we’ll also be adding the NX Glow tinted shimmer oil, coconut body butter and body brush to our bathroom cabinets too. So, we take our sunhats off to Next for this one, showing us all it’s never too late to try your hand at something new.
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