Glowing skin the safe way
Summer is just around the corner and that means it's time to move away from heavy jumpers into a sunshine-filled summer wardrobe - hurrah! Of course with more skin on show you need to look your summery best, and that can only mean one thing - time to get your tan on. So exfoliators, mitts and precautionary SPFs at the ready, faking a tan has got a whole lot easier. Forget those naughty sunbeds (so 1980s), here are some suggestions that will help first time fakers as well as year-round tan fans like me.
A good scrub is key to achieving an even colour and finish, so before you get over-excited and slap on the Fake Bake, take a shower and scrub for your life. It's damage control for streaky thighs, believe me!
Just be careful of exfoliators that leave a film on your skin such as salt scrubs as these will increase the streakiness. I love Rituals Sunrise Scrub which leaves your skin invigorated and in perfect condition for self tan. For the face, Clarins Gentle Refiner Exfoliating Cream with Microbeads is fantastic and gentle enough for sensitive skin types.
Do pay extra attention to more stubborn areas such as elbows, knees and your feet. It's definitely worth the effort, especially around your heels if you'll be wearing sandals. If like me you worry about the orange palm situation, St Tropez tan application mitt will protect your palms and wrists, and it'll help you to achieve a more even application.
Self tanning solutions
This year self tanning is all about ease, flexibility and fast drying and developing time, so no more muddy transferrable formulas, or standing in front of a hairdryer to dry off!
Fast-drying self tans are just what we need when we've got busy lifestyles to content with. And if speed is what you're after, then I must recommend Clarins Liquid Bronzer Self Tan for face and décolleté - it really is one of the best facial tanners I've ever used. The express application claim is absolutely true; 5 minutes after applying it's been absorbed and I can put on my make-up or night moisturiser. My only advice would be to try applying it with fingertips as I find it easier than the cotton wool recommended on the packaging, and don't forget to wash your hands immediately.
Of course if you're looking for that superfast colour for the body then Fake Bake's 60 self tan is just what you need. It launches at the end of this month, and it claims to dry instantly and develop over the next 60 minutes.
If you're interested in botanical beauty, the new St Tropez Naturals range is excellent, delivering that famous St Tropez colour, but minus the infamous smell thanks to its natural Vegetan organic formula. The self tan milk is especially gorgeous. We now stock Abi-O's self tanning range - she's the hottest tanner amongst celebrity circles (Dancing on Ice), and has created a natural, organic tanning lotion which is paraben and alcohol-free.
Tinted daily moisturisers are great for self tan first timers or the timid tanner, and the St Tropex Everyday gradual tan is perfect! I always fall back on this one as it's so easy to use, gives a wonderful colour, absorbs quickly and is great for layering.
Alternatively if you're looking for a quick colour boost, then wash-off methods are ideal. Fake Bake Faux Glo is one of the best for this as it doesn't streak, and it has a 360 degree angle spray for instant bronze perfection.
Just remember that practice makes perfect, so never fear if you don't get it right the first time. With some of the gradual self tans you can correct with another application, but failing that I've found that funnily enough toothpaste works well at correcting mistakes if you need a quick fix!
To help sustain your glow, daily moisturising and gentle exfoliation will both help the tan to wear off evenly and support the next layer of self tan. A great all over moisturiser for pre and post tanning is L'Occitane's Shea Butter body lotion, as the Shea butter and honey help to hydrate and soften dry skin. Nars body glow oil is beautiful for a shimmering evening finish.
Just a gentle reminder that lobster skin doesn't glow in a good way, so choose a good SPF. Most foundations include an SPF, but double check yours so you know for sure whether you're protected or not - foundations such as Bobbi Brown with SPF15 are perfect.
If you really want to top up your tan outside, there's now a range of clever multi-tasking products to support your skin and keep you looking fabulous such as Dior Capture Totale Sun which not only prolongs your tan but it delays the ageing effects that sun can cause. Or try Estée Lauder's Bronze Goddess Radiant Perfection firming body cream, which creates a lovely base colour while firming your skin.
It's also worth investing in tan extenders for longer results such as Elemis' sunwise tan accelerator; this gem helps to stimulate your skin's natural production of melanin; great to use before and after sun exposure, and as with all Elemis products your skin naturally feels pampered.
Finally, a glamorous touch is always to add a little bronzer to your face and décolletage. For me Guerlain really does the trick; this year's Terracotta 4 Seasons Bronzer is wonderful for bronzed ladies, or the Terracotta Light Sheer for fairer skins.
Whatever you discover works for you, get glowing this summer!