Garnier summer body (here and currently half price) Fake Bake face self tanning lotion (here) St Tropez tan enhancer (here) The Body Shop kabuki brush (here) Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess bronzer (here) Benefit Dew the Hoola (here)
I've done such an about turn on fake tanning this summer and it's funny as long time readers of my blog will remember that I am someone who does NOT fake tan. I've had an on/off sort of thing with it over the years, mainly because I can never seem to get it right; my ankles, wrists and knees always go orange and I'll suddenly see a huge streak on my leg or arm where I've misapplied the product. However, I feel that living in the UK sort of denies you a natural tan as our weather here is so sporadic, and in addition as I have got older I have become a lot more wary of 'real' tanning; as a teenager I never bothered much about sunscreen or protecting my skin but now I try to avoid premature aging by wearing a suncream on my face and not lying out in the sun if I can help it (easily done in a British summer!)
This aside, I love the healthy look a tan gives and I also wear a lot of black, even in the summer, and it looks so much more summery offset with some tanned skin. I've been trying a few products over the last month or so to see which I have got on with the best, so I thought I'd round them up here for other self-tan novices to compare notes!
Gradual tanning lotions are so easy to use and a great alternative to actual fake tan as they are much less obvious. I really like this Garnier one which smells delicious and is easy to apply, doesn't stain clothing and can be built up to your desired shade. I have worked out that using it every couple of days gives the best effect; I was using it daily for a time but the product built up and looked a bit patchy and flaky (never a good look!) I also highly recommend exfoliating before any tanning products touch the skin; I bought some cheap exfoliating gloves which help sweep away dead skin that tanning products like to cling to.
A tan enhancing moisturiser also helps your tan to look fresh for longer and if you were lucky enough to go away and get a real tan, it helps extend it. This one is by St Tropez and is really lovely; it's light and easily absorbed and smells amazing. You only need a small amount and it softens and smoothes the skin, too.
Facial self tanning is such a minefield because the risk of looking like an orange ex-Big Brother contestant is high. Again, I've found that gradual build up is key; I like this Fake Bake facial moisturiser very much (I also posted about it here) and it is dark in the tube so you can see what you're applying, rather than white so you can't and then over-apply. If the idea of this terrifies you, fake it with makeup instead; easy to wash off if you go a little heavy handed. Current favourites are Benefit Dew the Hoola (this sample was FREE with this month's Elle magazine, and is a lovely smoothing cream to add a touch of glow over foundation or onto bare skin) and I also love a powder bronzer, this Estee Lauder one came with a Bronze Goddess gift set and it's lovely, super lightly pigmented and not overly shimmery. I actually like to apply this over my cheeks and down my nose with a kubuki brush, forgoing blusher and using this in it's place, but it would also make a great contour colour.
So, I think I am just about getting to grips with the art of self-tanning; and it is an art, which is why there are professionals to help when you need it! In the meantime, it's definitely worth dabbling in a DIY tanned look, just keep the mantra of a light hand in mind!