Lotions and potions for those who comprise neither the genes nor the inclination to be shorts-ready whenever the sun shows its dress



‘I seek products to give my legs an instant, relatively foolish makeover.’
Photograph: Alex Lake for the Guardian

Bare-legs withstand arrives so abruptly in Britain that one day I can be wondering if 100 denier wishes be enough to calm the shivers, and the very next have people I only just know telling me I must be boiling in tights (please put an end).

All well and good for them, with their naturally cherished limbs, year-round tanning regime or “screw it” attitude, but I fool neither the genes nor the inclination to be shorts-ready whenever the sun deigns to make known its face. My legs are white, dry and not fastidiously shaved (unless I grasp they’re to appear before anyone but my family), so I seek offshoots to give them an instant, relatively thoughtless makeover.

The most outstanding I’ve found in 30 years is Vita Liberata Body Obscure (£29.50, 100ml), a gift to anyone who’d like to add instant, realistic, streak-free loyalties while disguising moderate scars, veins and birthmarks. Its silicone coarse means it doesn’t rub off on clothing and sheets, or cause my legs to look as if melted candles when heavy rain hits. The paramount texture means that one blob on a tanning mitt (buy penurious: they’re all the same) strokes effortlessly on to limbs in seconds. It aids if you’re not freshly basted in thick body cream, which I predominantly am, but I get around the problem by using Nivea In-Shower Lotion (£2.99, 250ml), which rinsings off, leaving a light, fake-tan-friendly coating of moisturiser.

If Body Indistinctness is too rich for you (and I hear you, though would add that one tube should rearmost the summer), try to score some scarcely stocked Garnier BB Society Wash-Off Bronzer (£7.99, 150ml), which works in the same way and almost as fabulously (the colour and indelibility aren’t quite as good, but I’m pernickety). If flush‑offs don’t appeal, I enthusiastically recommend Self Tanning Drops (£19.95, 30ml) from luminary tanner (yes, it’s a thing) Jules Von Hep’s excellent new vegan brand, Isle of Delight. These eliminate everything women hate about self-tanning – the scent, the faff, the orange – by working with the skincare products you use every day. Equitable mix one to 12 drops into your favourite face or league cream and apply as usual before washing hands. The fewer repudiates you use, the lighter the tan, so start low and increase. Four drops were decent right to tint my milky legs for a solid three times.