The best self-tans to give you a sun-kissed glow

Keeping your face in the shade is non-negotiable if you care about your skin, but a sun-kissed glow can still be achieved – no damage necessary – with the new faux-tan formulas. NEWBY HANDS shares her top tips for a super-natural color


The face faux-tans

The newer tanning drops are so easy to use that, for me, they make many tanning creams, gels and sprays obsolete. The beauty of drops is that you can make your ‘tan’ bespoke every time, choosing how much color you mix in with whichever base your skin needs. I’ve found they work with everything from a richer night cream to a light hydrating serum – I’ve even mixed them with my overnight Retin-A. Dr. Sebagh’s version gives a great golden-toned finish; alternatively, Tan-Luxe makes it even easier with its pre-blended Sleep Oil (great to use overnight on dry skin, as self-tan does have a drying effect) or there’s new Super Glow, which blends self-tan with hydrating hyaluronic acid, making it ideal for every skin type.

While perhaps not for the self-tan virgin, if you are confident with your tanning technique, tan ‘contouring’ can really elevate it for summer. Having mixed self-tanning drops with serum and applied the blend all over my face, I wait a minute or two before applying the tiniest bit of neat self-tan for a truly natural contour for the face. Put a drop of self-tan on the back of one hand and, with the fingertips of the other, lightly blend it over the top of your cheekbones, the curve of your forehead (not right into the hair line) and over the bridge of the nose – wherever the sun naturally hits the face. Use just a little with a light touch and follow the contours of your bones to get that just-back-from-the-beach look.

The 2-in-1 wipes

One of the reasons most self-tan formulations have gone from turning skin orange to golden is the addition of tiny amounts of alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA), which gently sloughs off dead skin cells. Using a skin peel pre-tan not only ensures a super-smooth base – self-tan grabs on to any dry patches, making skin look muddy – but it also helps give you the best true-tan color. The clever Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pad combines the two; simply wipe over your face for a light tan that builds with use.

The body self-tan

This is where DIY self-tanning gets tricky, as over-tanned elbows, heels or hands are always a giveaway. My solution is to use gradual tanners for the body, as these give you more control to build up color. And always use a light body lotion over hands and feet first (top and bottom), elbows and knees to stop the tan from clinging on to dry skin. La Mer The Face and Body Gradual Tan and Tan-Luxe The Gradual are my favorites; just remember to give them a good shake before use, as the color can settle in the bottle, giving you a much darker result than you intended.

The makeup glow

Sisley Blur Expert Powder is my new summer obsession, as it gives skin (bare or made-up) the most perfect soft-focus, dewy finish. Use it throughout the day to replace shine with a glitter-free glow – my only gripe is that this little compact comes in only one golden shade that works best for paler to mid-toned skins. The Huda Beauty Tantour range is great for olive and darker skin tones, and doubles up as a bronzer and a contouring cream.


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