Looking to fake summer, sun-kissed skin? We've got the ultimate budget self-tanning guide in 5 cheap and cheerful steps

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We all love the radiant glow and gorgeous complexion that comes from a little safe sun-loving. However, with limited time abroad and the arctic English weather, us girls are more often than not forced to rely on more superficial means of achieving our sunkissed summer skin.

As a firm believer that you don’t have to spend big to look fabulous, I’ve set up what can only be described as an at home tanning salon to sift my way through the best budget beauty products to ensure the perfect golden glow. After much deliberation, three bars of soap and some Vanish carpet stain remover, I’ve got the results and broken them down into just 5 simple steps - who wants to go to the Bahamas anyway?

1. Prep and prime

Prepping your skin before applying fake tan is absolutely key to ensure you smooth out rough, dry skin and are left with a silky, soft canvas to paint. This Dead Sea Body Scrub with Frankincense Oil , £7.79, is a gorgeously buttery, two-in-one exfoliator and moisturiser that’s formulated with nutrient-rich Dead Sea salts and frankincense aromatherapy oil. When massaged into the skin the grains gently buff away dead skin cells and help to smooth the surface and flush away toxin build up. Meanwhile the miraculous minerals, like purifying sulphur and nourishing calcium, are pumped deep into your skin's pores to bring your body back into balance. With a light and refreshing scent this is the perfect product to leave you velvety soft and deliciously tingly.

If you’re looking to take more of a hands-on approach to buffing your body try the Sanctuary Glowing Skin Exfoliating Gloves , £4. Especially good at promoting circulation these gloves are great for improving skin texture and tone and can be used from your head right down to your tippy toes. Simply lather up and massage away. For a double dose of exfoliation try using the body scrub alongside the gloves for the ultimate baby soft finish.

2. Even stevens

In previous years an old sock was the go-to tool for avoiding the classic beauty faux pas of tangerine palms and stripey knees. Now however, you can turn to more sophisticated means such as the St. Tropez Applicator Mitt  , £5 when applying fake tan.

"A mitt really is the tanning essential,” says St. Tropez tanning expert Jules Heptonstall.  “It is what a makeup brush is to makeup and what a hair brush is to hair. A mitt ensures the product is distributed evenly onto the skin and also stops you from getting tan on your hands - we all know that's not a good look."

Soft and spongy this glove will help to evenly distribute tanning mousse, lotion and sprays onto skin for a perfectly streak-free finish. Apply a small amount directly onto the mitt before sweeping onto skin in long, upward motions. If using a spray, apply directly onto the skin, then use the mitt to smooth over.

3. Tan time

There’s two ways you can go about getting your summer glow and one of them is to take a more gradual approach with a day-on-day tan enhancer such as the L'Oreal Sublime Bronze Gradual Tan 24 Hour Moisturising Lotion , £6.99. Perfect for the more time starved who don’t have as much time to prep and prime skin before hand, this tan allows you to gently build a natural sun-kissed colour (without the biscuity whiff), whilst the added touch of  Hydralium works to hydrate and nourish the skin. Apply as you would a body moisturiser and enjoy as your holiday hew beautifully develops by the day. Just a little tip - don’t be afraid to go a little bolder with the shades.  I’m bordering an albino level of pale skin but the medium tone gave me the perfect level of golden tones.

For those of you looking to achieve an instant bronzed beach babe look then the Sunshimmer Instant Tan with Gradual Glow , £6.99,  in Medium Matte is an absolute hero product. Available in two shades, medium and light, this 2 in 1 tan has a luxuriously creamy texture that melts perfectly onto the skin and leaves an immediate radiant glow. What’s more, this tan also works to build up over time with its colour enhancing after each application. So, even after you wash off the night's gleam, you’ll be left with subtly, sunkissed skin.

Giving a word of warning around tanning your knobbly bits, Jules says: “When doing tricky areas like feet, hands and face, there will be enough residue self tan product already on the mitt to gently do these areas without applying extra self tan.” There’s nothing worse than a partly tangoed torso.

4. Flawless finish

Add a splash of the Marks & Spencer Limited Edition Shimmer Bronzing Oil , £6, for the perfect finishing touch. Like the gorgeous glaze used in a French patisserie, this oil smells divine and leaves skin looking good enough to eat. Easily absorbed it can be applied all over the body and contains tiny flecks of shimmer that work to catch the light to give the perfect all-over radiant glow.

5. Boost the bronze

One of the biggest problems with having a tan (real or fake) is its inevitable fade that can leave skin looking like a blotchy, patchwork quilt. However, the Ambre Solaire After Sun Hydrating Tan Maintainer , £7.14, is just the ticket to prolong flawless looking skin. Unlike normal moisturisers, this soothing, hydrating cream is enriched with glycerol and vitamin E, that works to hydrate and prevent dehydrated skin that gives the crackled effect, whilst the addition of self-tanning ingredient subtly enhances and deepens your tan to help you maintain a radiant glow.

If however, you've already got patches, take a gentle body polish and work in circular motions on the area. Don't over scrub - you're just trying to remove the top layer remember, not the whole tan!