21st July 2020

3 Self Tanning Formulas For Naturally Bronzed Skin

Clarins self tanning cream

Self-tanning is a serious business, and when I say most of my life has been dedicated to perfecting the best safe bronze glow (with no sun worshipping), I’m not joking. I pride myself on my fake golden glow, without UV damage. I’ve had my fair share of tan blunders, of course, which are well-documented on Facebook in my teenage years. But one lesson my fake tan fails have taught me is the difference between a bad, good and exceptional self-tanning formula; gradual tans are my go-to.

So, put your mousse and mitt to one side, and let me introduce to you three exceptional gradual tanning formulas. Each one is fuss-free and ensures no tango undertones, dry skin or streaking sometimes associated with fake tan formulas.

Treading the line between a naturally bronzed goddess, and suspect orange is tricky to master at the best of times, so I promise that each formula in this edit has been chosen because it delivers an incredible summer glow that looks totally natural (just see the before and after shots), and will nourish your skin.

 

1. The Moisturising Self Tan Cream

Clarins Delicious Self Tanning Cream

Swatch image of Clarins Delicious Self Tanning Cream

Model image of Clarins Delicious Self Tanning Cream

Texture: gel lotion
Shade: buildable, deep bronze tan
Guide colour for application: yes, brown
Scent: creamy cocoa
Developing Time: 6 – 8 hours
Hero ingredients: pure cocoa, cocoa butter and aloe vera

The most hydrating of my lineup, Clarins Self Tanning Cream feels like a rich body moisturiser rather than fake tan. The natural finish of this cream will leave people wondering if, in fact, it is real – so be prepared for holiday questions! After you apply, a golden glow comes first, and with re-application, it deepens into a radiant natural brown. It’s great for tactical self-tanners because you can easily apply to the areas that you know people will see, and your tub will last longer as a result.

The Clarins Delicious Self Tanning Cream is just that, delicious! As soon as you pop off the lid, you can smell sweet cocoa, and when you apply, it’s just as heavenly. Unlike most fake tan formulas this isn’t drying; instead, your skin feels hydrated, smooth and softer, and more nourished than before you applied it. The combination of pure cocoa and cocoa butter does more than just add a mouth-watering scent; it nourishes and hydrates skin and fights premature ageing too. This, combined with a little soothing aloe vera, gives this self-tanning formula the feel and results of applying your favourite moisturiser with the addition of an incredible summer glow.

 

Hand image of Lancome Flash Bronzer Transfer-Resistant Self-Tanning Body Lotion

Model image of Lancome Flash Bronzer Transfer-Resistant Self-Tanning Body Lotion

Texture: gel lotion
Shade: buildable, deep golden tan
Guide colour for application: yes, brown
Scent: sweet floral
Developing Time: 4-8 hours
Hero ingredient: antioxidant, vitamin E

If you’re looking for a gradual tan that airs on the golden side, the Lancome Flash Bronzer is your perfect match. The effect of this brown-tinted gel is sun goddess-esque. The best way to describe the finish is like your natural skin tone, but with a soft golden glow. I don’t know about you, but my fake tan pet hate is a stain on my fresh bedding or white clothing; but with transfer-resistant in the name, you may have guessed that it doesn’t happen with this formula. It absorbs easily and has a guide-colour, which is great because you can see exactly where I’ve applied to ensure no dreaded streaks, lines or an uneven finish.

It has a subtle floral scent, which I can say is streets apart from fake tans I’ve used in the past. As well as a sublime glow, the skin is softer and protected against external aggressors thanks to antioxidant vitamin E after applying.

 

3. The Ultra Fine Self Tan Milky Mist

DIOR Bronze Liquid Sun Self-Tanning Water

Hand image of DIOR Bronze Liquid Sun Self-Tanning Water

Model image of DIOR Bronze Liquid Sun Self-Tanning Water

Texture: milky water
Shade: buildable, light golden glow (very natural)
Guide colour for application: no, dewy texture means you can see and feel where you applied.
Scent: creamy floral
Developing Time: 4-8 hours
Hero ingredient: natural DHA, AHA and hyaluronic acid

For me, an impressive spray tan formula has good projection, ultra-fine mist and, of course, a seamless, sunkissed finish – and unsurprisingly, DIOR Bronze has all three. The creme de la creme of self-tanning formulas, the DIOR Bronze Liquid Sun Self-Tanning Water feels premium in every way from its sweet-smelling scent, dry touch and no transfer formula.

Each spray feels light, cooling and dewy on the skin. The spray diffuses a veil of refreshing mist that makes every limb glisten. The finish? A seamless radiant glow that looks so natural that I have to remind myself it’s DIOR and not my genetics. The milky formula’s sweet scent makes it a delight to use, and it doesn’t fall short with skincare benefits. Made using natural DHAs that help deepen the skin tone, smoothing AHA and a hydrating dose of hyaluronic acid it provides the perfect conditions for a long-lasting tan and skin that is comforted after every use.

 

Discover more:

3 Face Products For An Instant & Gradual Tan
6 Ways To Make Your Skin Glow

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