The best gradual self-tans

Powered by article titled “The best gradual self-tans” was written by Sali Hughes, for The Guardian on Saturday 25th July 2020 07.00 UTC

While I can see that people of all skin tones mostly look better with a little glow, my own commitment to suntanning is Baby Jane-esque. I’m conscientious about sun protection, bored on the beach, uncomfortable when hot, and completely disinclined to go through the requisite pre-self-tan rigmarole of total body exfoliation and partial moisturisation.

But, counterintuitively, there’s something about this odd summer that lends itself to a little self-tan. The decreased likelihood of wearing makeup, all that spare time, cancelled holidays, a heatwave, the almost fetishistic desire to be outdoors, sitting on grass instead of consuming more Netflix – all have caused me to trial tanning products with unusual verve.

All this week’s recommendations are “gradual tan” lotions – and deliberately so. They are more subtle, forgiving and slapdash; less of a ritual than a classic “fake tan”. They’re rubbed in after showering, just as you would a regular body lotion. The golden colour is undramatic, but builds up as the week progresses.

My bargain pick is the brilliant Garnier Summer Body (£9.99, 400ml). Usefully, it comes in two shades – light and dark (I chose the former) – to cater for different skin tones, and gives a golden glow to all. It has a less than subtle smell of peaches and apricots, but, given the alternative (wet digestives), I didn’t mind at all.

Evolve’s vegan Sunless Glow Body Lotion (£18, 250ml) is my favourite new find, by virtue of being a beautiful luxury body moisturiser first, self-tan second. Its rich shea butter, natural exfoliants and tanners left my dry, flaky limbs as smooth and healthily brown as an egg. It’s exceptionally good, especially if you’re dry. I’ve bought some more.

Less surprising a winner, was Vita Liberata. This brand – maker of the phenomenal Body Blur leg makeup – has yet to put a foot wrong. Their vegan Fabulous Gradual Tan Lotion (£10, 200ml) is typically great, giving a golden brown hue without a trace of orange. It should be said that it’s darker after the first application than the others here, so make sure you first apply plain old body cream to especially dry parts – feet, elbows, knees – to keep the colour even.

Alternatively, you can simply customise your body lotion with Isle of Paradise Hyglo Hyaluronic Self Tan Serum For Body (£19.94, £100ml). I find four to five drops mixed with a generous dollop of moisturiser is enough to leave even my vampiric skin aglow. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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