Award-winning Gradual Tanners
Designed to let you build up the colour you want by applying daily over three days or so (overnight works best for most people), these gradual glow-givers give nervous self-tanners a failsafe way of going golden. St Tropez Gradual Tan Anti-Ageing Plus Multi Action Face
Giving you a gorgeous gradual glow wasn't enough for this award-winning brand so they added an effective moisturiser, plus a powerful peptide to reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles, an algae extract to firm and plump and hyaluronic acid for intense hydration. They recommend apply in firm circular motions – then washing your hands but just don't wash your face for at least four hours after, they warn.
Comments:‘Great product that made feel happy and confident: the slightly pearlescent cream gave a creamy gold tint after eight hours, which became warm caramel after three days' • ‘Looked as if I had been on holiday as it’s the same colour the sun makes me. My husband thought I looked a lot healthier' • ‘I was nervous because I am so fair-skinned but I absolutely loved the sun kissed look I got after the third night’ • ‘Lovely and smooth to apply, with no tackiness – and a fine moisturiser for my very dry sensitive skin'.
St Tropez Gradual Tan Anti-Ageing Plus Multi Action Face/£22 for 50 ml - buy here
As green as its Irish roots, this natural formula features organic DHA (the tanning agent) on a sunflower seed oil base, supported by a positive garden of skin-cherishing botanicals, including shea butter, olive oil and aloe plus fragrant nourishing neroli and also beeswax. Slightly irritatingly, the instructions inside and online say to use a tanning mitt – brilliant for your body but not your face.
Comments: ‘A very happy revelation! Great moisturiser, which gave even natural light golden tan and made my skin looked better. Faded gradually and evenly' • ‘Lovely creamy consistency that is very easy to apply from pump dispenser; sinks in quickly with no tacky residue. Useful size bottle for travelling' • I’d had a minor op just before trying this and was feeling a bit fragile but a friend saw my lovely healthy glow and said ‘Wow! You look great.’ • ‘Two applications for a noticeable colour, three for the shade I was happy with; very nourishing for skin and leaves it in fabulous condition’.
Vita Liberata Luxury Gradual Build Untinted Face Tan Lotion/£35 for 30 ml - buy here
Although it makes no claims to be natural, this multi-award-winning brand has a base of skin-softening sweet almond oil and also includes aloe and cocoa butter. Founded by spray tanning expert Nicola Matthews, this good value pump dispenser comes from a range that emphasises a good finish is all in the prepping: so don't forget to exfoliate and moisturise, preferably for two to three days before. One tester who didn't exfoliate noticed that the colour ‘grabs on to dry patches and leaves darker marks’.
Comments:‘Lovely to use, lovely fragrance, lovely colour and I didn't end up smelling of caramel, which was brilliant' • ‘I was impressed by the natural-looking tan – such a pleasant fragrance and subtle colour. I also used it on my face and loved the healthy-looking glow' • ‘I like gradual tans as I find it easier to get a more natural colour without streaks; this smelt great and was very easy to apply – I just let it sink in for ten minutes before I got into bed. After two applications I had a really natural healthy glow' • ‘Was particularly lovely on my arms. Made me feel healthy and faded evenly'.
Described as a luxury everyday moisturiser with a hint of self-tan, this mostly natural formulation boasts a bunch of skin-boosting benefits, from softening and smoothing to improving skin elasticity and firmness. Beauty Bible testers trialled it as a daily tanner and were impressed.
Comments:‘Very easy to use and the light even gold tan was ideal for my skin; faded evenly with no patches. I felt much better in my summer clothes' • ‘White-ish cream that sinks in almost immediately so I could go straight to bed with no worry about staining the sheets' • ‘I went barelegged after applying this and was happy because I had such nice comments' • ‘Great product that does the job without a fuss. Gave a really realistic tan and felt refreshing on my skin. I am recommending it to friends'.
From a legendary Paris-based company that has just celebrated its 40th anniversary, this ‘melt-in’ creamy daily tanner, although not natural, contains hard-working botanicals including magnolia essential oil to nourish plus delicately scented vanilla extract so your skin smells delicious, feels velvety and gradually becomes gorgeously golden, according to our testers.
Comments:‘Loved the glow it gave immediately; after three applications I had a natural sun-kissed golden body' • ‘Best gradual tanner I have used – I recommend it highly' • ‘Love it, love it, love it: very realistic colour after several coats. It gave me more confidence about the state of my skin and I am actually wearing a short-sleeve top to show off my arms!' • ‘Goes on smoothly, sinks in nicely, is moisturising and doesn't leave you smelling like biscuits…'.
Decleor Aroma Confort Gradual Glow Hydrating Body Milk/£31.50 for 250 ml - buy here
Elle Macpherson, 50, entrepreneurial superwoman
‘Beautiful skin is the best accessory and my must-does are dry skin body brushing to help lumps and bumps, exfoliating to keep skin smooth and moisturising. I developed my battery-powered Rotating Dry Brush to make body brush quicker and easier so it’s simpler to fit into your daily routine.’