Beauty Bible Summer Sun Special: The Best Self-Tanners


Personally, in terms of a 'natural' look, we found we preferred gradual tanners to most self-tanners as it's so much easier to control the results. Having said that, there are times when we want a speedy bronzed effect, and nothing else will do. In that case, you'll want our shortlist below. First, though, our very best self-tanning tips.

1. Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise. All self-tanners are drying, and the product 'clings' to any patches of dryness; that's what can create an uneven result.

2. Use a special self-tan mitt. We found Velvotan's mitts were easiest to use; they prevent your palms from becoming orange and are best for a seamless result.

3. Swipe lightly with a flannel afterwards. Get a damp cloth and very, very lightly run it over heels, toes and ankle-bones, which seem to be most likely to go darker than the rest.

4. Continue to moisturise. Almost all the self-tanners we trialled proved very drying, and can look 'dusty' if you don't lavish skin with a body butter, lotion or oil regularly.

And now, our recommended products...


Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 16.17.32Autograph Self-Tan Luxe Facial Oil/£9.50 – just a few drops smoothed over skin develop into a natural-looking light tan over four hours. In Light/medium only.

Sisley Self Tanning Hydrating Facial Skin Care/£83 for 60 ml  – worth the many, many pounds (if your purse can stretch to it) for the flawless fabulous colour, which develops in about two hours.

Manuka Doctor ApiBronze Age-defying Facial Bronzing Gel/£14.99 for 50ml: this may not look promising when first applied but develops into a pleasing light gold (best for pale skins) in an hour.

Clarins Radiance Glow Booster/£19 for 15 ml – Clarins's self-tanners have always smoothed in beautifully and delivered a glow that truly is radiant; luscious and moisturising and really a great, great colour.

Tan-Luxe Face (Light Medium) Illuminating Self Tan Serum/£35 for 30 ml – it really is, as the name suggests, a facial serum; we found it best to use at night for a really realistic colour by morning.


Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 16.08.25Dr.Organic Moroccan Glow Self Tan Mousse/14.99 for 150 ml – in Light, Medium or Dark, this plant-based, lightweight formula really impressed us with its realistic colour.

Guerlain Terracotta Tinted Self Tanning Gel/£37.50 for 150 ml – everyone who tried this loved this fabulous self-tanner, which gives instant colour that develops into a glorious Riviera tan, even on lower legs which are notoriously difficult to tan.

Vita Liberata pHenomenal 2-3 Week Self Tan Mousse, in Light, Medium and Dark/£37.50 for 125 ml – apply three times (do follow somewhat complicated directions about not showering etc) and they promise the (lovely) colour lasts up to four times longer than usual: most reviewers agree two weeks.