How times change. Barely a decade ago, self-tanning was the online dating of the beauty world – a slightly embarrassing artificial option for those who couldn’t manage to do it for real.
Now though, just as Tinder has become something people just, well, DO, the whole tanning game has lost its tacky tag.
“We don’t use the F word – fake – any more,” says Jules Heptonstall, St Tropez tanning expert. “Formulas are now so good at enhancing how your skin looks and feels, we talk about skin finishing more than self-tanning.”
And we’re happy to confirm it’s now all clever formulas that do a whole lot more than give you a totally natural-looking glow. Think of it as tanning with benefits…
Your every day self-tanner
One of the biggest drawbacks of self tan used to be the dehydrating effect of DHA (the ingredient that makes your skin go brown). However, this year St Tropez has ripped up the rule book with its Gradual Tan Everyday Tinted Body Lotion, £15, which doesn’t just double as a body lotion, it keeps on increasing hydration for 48 hours.
Hello silky legs! And that’s just for starters. As soon as you slap it on, you’ll see an instant bronzing, illuminating AND blip-blurring effect, and it builds into a golden glow over three or four days. If there’s a more discreet confidence booster for the first few days of your holiday, we’re yet to find it.
No mess and no streaks
Saving your sheets this year – both in terms of money and laundry – comes St Moriz Velvet Finish Tanning Gel, £7.99, a soft-feel colourless gel (so no developing streaks) AND a flattering final effect inspired by Instagram filters. Handy for tanning on the go.
Cheat your way with the tantour duo
Move over contour, it’s time for the tantour! Yes, that’s right – using self tan to cheat the appearance of a slimmer, more sculpted body. James Read Tantour Sculpting Duo, £35, is a mineral powder palette you apply using the same rules of regular contouring (light shade to illuminate and enhance areas that naturally hit the sun; dark shade to sculpt out definition).
The difference is, the powder bronzer doubles as a fake tan so the areas you apply it go darker for real over the next four hours. Six-pack despite the holiday buffet? Yeah, why not?
High intensity fix
Your quick fix
The gym set is sold on the benefits of the HIIT class – minimum time, max results – and now the beauty world has squat-jumped onto the trend. Try Sienna X High Intensity 1 Hour Tan, £24.95, which gets you good to glow in as little as an hour.
Just apply, shower after 60 minutes (workout optional!), and watch the bronzing benefits build afterwards.
Reap anti-ageing skin rewards
Facial tanning is a tricky area; it’s lovely to look all glowy and bronzed, but going a day without your regular face moisturiser and/or SPF can make you feel your skin isn’t properly protected.
No need to make that choice now though, if you use Autograph Gradual Tan Glow Boosting Droplets Serum, £12.50, a tanning ‘drip feed’ you mix into your fave skin products – anything from
anti-ageing day or night creams to facial SPFs – to turn them into bronzers while still reaping all the regular skin rewards.
Deeper for longer
Deepen your shade
What’s better than a long weekend in the sun? Easy – a whole week in the sun! For the same feel-good bronzing result. St Tropez has taken its all-time best-seller, the Self Tan Classic Bronzing Mousse, from £21, and improved it so the tan keeps on deepening for the first 24+ hours.
By figuring out a way to get the bronzing reaction happening deeper down in your skin, the final colour ends up even deeper than the initial guide colour, and it stays locked at the same intensity for almost a week, rather than starting to tail off from the three-day mark.
There’s also a new fragrance tech that doesn’t just mask the DHA aroma, it adds in specific ‘happy holidays’ fragrance molecules to match the sunny feeling you get from beautiful, bronzed skin. We. Love.
Only Leonardo Di Caprio has seen more hot celebrity women in the buff than St Tropez’s tanning expert Jules. We asked him to solve our tanning dilemmas…
Top your tan up in the shower
My tan vanishes in the hotel pool!
“Chlorine acts as a mild bleach, so it’s inevitable your tan will fade after swimming,” says Jules. “If you’re going on holiday I’d recommend packing St Tropez Gradual Tan In Shower Tanning Lotion Golden Glow Medium, £14.50 and using it at the end of each day. You just apply it to clean, wet skin, wait three minutes then rinse off, and it’ll start re-boosting your colour while you’re drinking cocktails, then carry on overnight.”
Self tan doesn’t seem to work for me…
We all tan at different rates and that goes for self tan as well as a natural tan. “However, it WILL get there, it just takes longer for some people,” says Jules. “Don’t despair if you look pale when you shower off the guide colour – it’s not because the product doesn’t work for you, it’s because the amino acids in your skin are still reacting with the DHA in the product. It can take 24 hours or more to reach your optimum colour from one tan application.”
My tan never goes on evenly
The most common mistake people make is to rub in their self tan in circular motions, says Jules. “You’ll get a much better result if you sweep it up and down your legs and arms instead, using a mitt,” he says. “You also need to ensure your skin is well moisturised, as your skin can’t absorb the DHA properly and evenly if it’s not hydrated. Drink lots of water and apply a good body moisturiser several hours before tanning – but not immediately before as that will dilute the final result.”
For your ultimate tan, the new St Tropez products are available from Boots nationwide and Boots.com
Model: Montana Bloom at Lenis.
Hair and make-up: Cassie Steward using St Tropez.