If you are blessed with an English rose complexion then you probably sail through the winter months with a beautiful, glowing skin. However, if you are at the more olive end of the spectrum then you might look back wistfully at your summer holiday photographs and your gently tanned, glowing healthy-looking face. I am that person and have to report that my skin takes on a bit of a green tinge during the winter months. It’s not such a good look and, I think, looks worse as the years pass and the skin ages. Quite a few years ago I was given a sample of a Lancaster face self tanning lotion and used it every couple of nights to alleviate the pasty tinge. It made all the difference at the time, especially as I was trying out platinum blond hair (!), but I did have to be careful about not putting my face on the pillow and of course the smell was pretty strong.
Fake tans have come a long way since then and I made it my mission this year to start trying a few out because it seems like a sensible way forward if you want to get more of a glow. If you look healthier then you will feel better all round and it will contribute to your general self esteem. So here is a round-up of the products I have tried. It isn’t the most extensive of lists – there are only so many products I can try at any one time – so if anyone has an absolute fave that isn’t here then let me know. I’d be delighted to give it a whirl.
St Tropez Self Tan Luxe Facial Oil, RRP: £23
This is billed as a self-indulgent facial oil that provides a natural looking streak-free tan that lasts for up to 5 days but it isn’t (and doesn’t). They say it is clinically proven to moisturise for up to 7 days but trust me, it doesn’t do that either. When I was first trying it out last winter I was sorely disappointed and gave up on it – if you apply it at night then you leave the odd streaky mark on your pillow and wake up with a very thirsty skin. It then washes off completely when you shower/bath/do whatever you do in the morning. Oh, I should also mention that it is as thin as water so applying it is very tricky as it just dribbles through your fingers. I have to admit that having tried so hard to make it work I gave up last winter and have only just started to give it a second chance. After a fair amount of experimentation I think I have found the best way to apply it: Use it in lieu of a serum in the morning before applying moisturiser. As it is so thin you need to apply it in small amounts and I find that I don’t have to worry so much about even distribution as the colour it gives you is so subtle. You will get the slight whiff of fake tan all day long, but by the end of the day you should see a gentle increase in colour. Of course it all comes off when you cleanse your face but at least you won’t look tango’d. The jury is still out on whether I will be re-investing in it when this little bottle comes to an end but I have to admit it is growing on me.
Elemis, Total Glow Bronzing Moisturiser for face, RRP: £31
When I started using this last winter I didn’t think it was having any effect but then quite a few people kept asking me if I had been away so I concluded it obviously was! It is a day cream designed to gradually enhance the complexion building an even, natural looking tan. It contains anti-oxidants and fruit extracts to boost and enrich the skin and you can apply make-up after application. As I said, I wasn’t sure it was having any effect so tried it out two days in a row once but ended up with a streaky fake-tan look. Not good. Maybe I was expecting too much so if you decide to give it a go I would suggest using it every couple of days. I also found it wasn’t nourishing enough for my skin so it might be better suited to younger skin.
James Read, Overnight Tan, Sleep Face Mask Tan, RRP: £25
Whatever reviews you read for this product are all excellent and talk of it in glowing terms and I can see why. You apply it at night instead of a moisturising cream (I have been using it after applying a serum) and it works its magic overnight as you sleep, whilst also treating your skin with its anti-ageing ingredients. It doesn’t have the smell of fake tan and it doesn’t leave marks all over your pillow. Result! The tan you wake up with is very, very subtle and more like a healthy glow but that is probably what we should be aspiring to. I would advise that you don’t use it every night (or you really will look an odd colour) and use it very sparingly, which isn’t easy given the pump action. I didn’t do this one evening and ended up with a most uneven “glow” the next morning. I will most probably be re-stocking when this runs out and I might even try out some of the other products in their range.
Xen-Tan, Face Tanner Luxe daily self-tan, RRP: £19.99
Goodness this is a scary product. As I have quite an olive skin tone I went for the medium/dark one and it is scary because it is heavily tinted. When I tried it out on the back of my hand in the shop it was fine and the tint in it helped me to get an even coverage but when applying it to my face I ended up looking as if I had been smeared in mud, whatever I tried. You are supposed to apply it in the morning and can wear it under make-up if you so choose but it didn’t matter how many times I experimented, I just couldn’t get an even coverage (around the nose is obviously the trickiest contour). I keep telling myself I should give it another go but I am frankly too afraid to look silly. Another negative for this product is that it smells very, very heavily of cookie dough (they say vanilla) and that isn’t really what I want to be smelling of! After a full day of that whiff you either want to raid the biscuit tin or you feel sick.
The bottom line is that you will never achieve that wonderful glow you get during the summer months but pick the right product and you will be able to achieve a colour that is less pallid and pale and wan. My search for that one amazing product continues …..