We have said it before and we shall say it again: the sun is not good for your skin. Honestly, it might as well be a promo girl for premature ageing. That’s why SPF is so important – especially for your face. But while tinted moisturisers with SPF can provide some colour alongside coverage, they simply don’t compare to being tanned (and you’d probably be wearing the wrong shade if they did). So, coupled with the fact that you might only be going on staycation this year, what’s the solution? Self-tanner, obviously. Here are the absolute best.
Call us uptight, but we like to be in control. St. Tropez seem to understand this, since their Self Tan Express Bronzing Mousse comes with the simplest of instructions for controlling the depth of our tan: one hour for light; two hours for medium; three hours for deep (after which point it’s time to relax).
In love and in life, it tends to be the gradual things that are the most reliable. Gradual tan is one of them, particularly when it’s from a brand that’s as respected as TAN-LUXE. Bit by bit, their Illuminating Tanning Lotion will leave you with a glow that is best described as ‘natural’ – exactly the adjective you want to be associated with after a session with self-tanner.
If you like your fake tan with much less plastic, we recommend Isle of Paradise, who have just released refills for all shades of their Self-Tanning Water and Mousse. The water in particular is great for anyone who dislikes the mess of mousse. Simply spray, then pat with a mitt, if at all – we've had good results without. No incriminating streaks or stained sheets.
We love hyaluronic acid serums, so a self-tanner featuring the stuff was always due to be an exciting prospect. Naturally, Amanda Harrington’s Illuminating Bronzing Mousse does not disappoint. Alongside hydration, it also contains green tea extract to energise and bring radiance to the skin.
‘Heavenly Elixir’ seems a bit of a grand name for a self-tanner, but given that this is formulated with a whole host of organic ingredients to make your skin gleam long after your tan has faded, Vita Liberata have earned it. There's bladderwrack to strengthen elasticity and ginkgo biloba to ward off environmental aggressors. Clever, eh?
Streaks? An orange colour that could potentially be categorised as radioactive? The self-tanners in Garnier's Ambre Solaire range hardly know what any of these things mean! We like their Self Tan Body Mist in particular for the following reasons: it dries quickly, it's non-sticky, it doesn't actually smell like self-tanner, it doesn't need to be rubbed in and – best of all – it's enriched with nourishing apricot oil.
In the past, we have gone so far as to call an Omorovicza cleanser the greatest of all, so it stands to reason that their self-tanner is also something to gush over. A gradual tan with a glamorous edge, Glam Glow contains Hungarian thermal water to give your skin the hit of minerals it deserves and – for the sake of your bedding – it won't transfer. No one needs to catch flights for a half-decent tan with this in their bathroom cabinet.
If you're time-poor, Dr Sebagh Self-Tanning Drops could be a revelation. Simply blend a few with your daily moisturiser or serum and watch a glorious but subtle tan develop over time. They also protect the skin against the light that's emitted from the many screens in our lives.
While we obviously wouldn't recommend sunbathing as a means of achieving a tan, it's an undeniably gorgeous activity. The solution is as follows: a self-tanner with SPF, like the Dior Bronze Beautifying Protective Milky Mist Sublime Glow SPF 50. If those adjectives don't sway you, we aren't sure what will. May you have all the joy of sunbathing with none of the damage.
Self-tanning can be daunting. How on earth do we know what we're going to look like? What if we look ridiculous? With Lancaster's Tan Adapt Colour Technology, these fears have little bearing. And the texture of their Self Tanning Jelly blends impeccably.