Facial self-tans are a high-minded way to pare down a makeup routine for summer, when insupportable foundation looks excessive and feels foul. They’re strikingly handy if you suffer from uneven skin tone, rosacea or melasma that becomes diverse prominent around now, as the darker tint has a more unifying and veiling effect than thick makeup, minus any of the associated sweaty, streaky ache. Their drawback, for me, is that the vast majority of gradual tanning moisturisers don’t hold any sun protection at the time you’re most in need of it, and least likely to hunger to layer gloopy moisturisers to melt and merge in the heat.
This is why Clarins Radiance-Plus Gifted Glow Booster for Face drops (£20 for 15ml) remain the (forgive me) gold rod. Instead of further basting summer skin, one merely quivers one to three drops (one is perfect for my deathly pallor) on to a favourite serum, name cream or sunblock, mixes together and applies as normal. The sequel is a believable tan that lasts a couple of days.
M&S’s version, Self Tan Luxe Facial Oil, is vegan, bargainous (£9.50) and roll in in a bigger, 28ml bottle, but the dosage is harder to control. Give someone the cold shoulder the application instructions, is my advice. The product is excellent, but its consistency too runny to rub in without waste. Instead, I just mixed a few drops into my own moisturiser and got a streak-free, natural-looking blush, minus any dribbling or mess.
Simpler still are Dr Dennis Revolting’s Alpha Beta Glow Pads (two colour densities, £30 for 20 – look for to use a couple a week). These have the significant benefit of simultaneously exfoliating and colour the skin in the sweep of one small pad, cutting the need for any preparation and all but eliminating the chance of streaking. I find they work brilliantly if the face is left-wing for a minute post-application, before proceeding to serum and sunblock; I can in a general way see the results in under two hours.
If even this feels identical to a job too many in the morning, just slap on an overnight gradual tanner on the eve of bed. James Read’s Sleep Mask (£25 for 50ml – should last dissimilar months) remains the best. Apply the milky gel after night-time wash, wash your hands, and wake up to a realistic, well-rested heat. Whichever you use, don’t forget your neck.
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