Award-Winning Facial Self-Tanners

At last we've had a bit of real sun - but the safest tan is still from a bottle.  So here are the self-tanners our testers believe deserve 'gold stars'... Top of our wishlist for a facial self-tanner is obviously a product that won't deliver a 'Tango' orange tone, but instead looks natural - as if you've had your face in the sun.  Which of course, being diligent followers of our advice about the importance of wearing a sunscreen at all times in summer, you WON'T be doing.  In fact, our tip is always to apply self-tanner at night;  using a wet washcloth on your face in the morning removes any excess, and then apply sun protection on the top (ideally a minimum of SPF30 on holiday, or even in the UK when it's sunny out).  For the YOU Magazine Summer Sun Special, we trialled a couple of dozen facial self-tanners - and these received the most glowing reports from our testers across the 'natural', 'luxury' and 'beauty steal' categories;  as usual, everything went to 10 women...

NATURAL WONDER St. Tropez Self Tan Sensitive Bronzing Lotion St Tropez Sensitive FaceScore: 8/10 This product formerly came under the umbrella of St. Tropez's 'Naturals' range, but they've repositioned it for sensitive skins - so if you loved that product and are mourning it disappearance:  voilà.  And it's a  real technological breakthrough:  even those with eczema and easily irritated skin can experience the natural-looking golden results from this luxurious lotion, which contains naturally derived tanning ingredients.  Although not tinted, it has a subtle iridescence that lets you see where you’ve applied it.  For skincare benefits, they've incorporated grape and blackcurrant seed oil, pomegranate and melon extract.

Comments:  ‘I’m very, very happy with this product: extremely pleasant to use and gave a fantastic, natural-looking result’ • ‘smelt like a moisturiser and gave a pretty, light glow within an hour’ • ‘my husband said the colour was very subtle and looked natural – I am impressed with this’ • 'extremely pleasant to use:  the consistency was just right, sank into the sin nicely and produced a fantastic, natural-looking end result - I'm very, very happy with this product' and would recommend it to all my friends' • 'it surprised me in that it looked and felt like a moisturiser' • '10/10:  easy-peasy to use, just like a moisturiser - and having tried this I have a lot more confidence about using fake tan on my face'.

St. Tropez Self Tan Sensitive Bronzing Lotion/£22 for 50 ml - buy here


LUXURY Rodial Brazilian Tan Face Rodial Brazillian Tan FaceScore: 8/10 Some self-tanners can dry skin out, but Rodial’s actively firms, plumps and moisturises with skincare ingredients (including hyaluronic acid, our fave complexion-quencher) for long-lasting hydration, while the tan develops over four hours.  There’s even a ‘line-blurring’ effect, due to optical pigments.  Rodial say it can be smoothed over a cleansed face and neck daily, but if that takes you to a shade that's a little too straight-from-Rio for your liking, use it every few days.

Comments:  ‘The tint made it easy to apply and the finished result was very natural, no hint of tango!’ • ‘I never let my face tan so this gave a nice healthy natural glow’ • ‘enhanced my skin colour and looked really good’ • ‘people said I looked as if I had been on holiday!’ • 'the gel consistency is easy to apply;  will definitely use this on holiday as I don't let my face go in the sun' • 'I'm not at all a fan of self-tanner and was disappointed when I received this in my testing package, but I'm really happy with the colour and realism of my fake tan, which helped maintain my actual tan on return from holiday' • '

Rodial Brazilian Tan Face/£35 for 40 ml - buy here


BEAUTY STEAL Superdrug Solait Illuminating Facial Bronzing Cream Solait Illuminating Facial Bronzing CreamScore: 6.94/10 Hmmm, not the highest score in its category - but the highest of the more affordable products (there were plenty further down the rankings, NB), and it really is a 'steal'.  This tub (a new addition to Superdrug's bestselling own label range) offers a cream enriched with aloe vera, sweet almond oil and vitamin E, which fakes a subtle tan over two to four hours. It also features light-reflective particles to make skin look instantly healthier.

Comments:  ‘Very pleasant coconut smell, surprisingly good colour for my pale skin and red hair’ • ‘I like the jar container and the product was a treat to use; gave a healthy sun-kissed glow’ • ‘great little pot of self tan cream, not streaks or disasters just a nice gentle build up and the light reflecting particles are flattering’ • 'my expectations for own-brand from Superdrug were low, but I am certainly impressed and am tempted to look at other items they're selling, in future' • 'I much prefer the jar container to using cream from a tube - and the colour, texture and smell of this cream made it quite a treat' • 'I will now use this on a regular basis to give my pale skin a bit of a sun-kissed look'.

Superdrug Solait Illuminating Facial Bronzing Cream/£6.49 for 100 ml - buy here