Beauty Clinic: Gradual tanners


Q. I’m off on a beach holiday shortly and in dire need of gradual tanner to gild my pale legs, which usually shelter under jeans. What do you use?

A. No exaggeration, we bless the moment gradual (aka daily) tanners hit the shelves. Self tans (the instant tanners) are fab now compared to the olden days when your skin turned orange and usually stripey, ponged like an old biscuit tin (that was the better ones) and the sheets ended up with the residue. But gradual tans took us on to a gentler phase where we can achieve whiff-less, realistic-looking tans that develop almost in real time.

So our favourites: fair-skinned Jo is a fan of EcoSonya Winter Skin Organic Gradual Tanning Moisturiser, an award-winning Aussie product for face and body, which does what it says on the tin. The base is skin-nourishing and soothing aloe vera, which we love, £26 for 200 ml.

We all love ESPA Naturally Radiant Gradual Tan, which gives a gorgeous natural looking tan. It promises to ‘work intuitively with your skin’s personal biochemistry’ – a bit OTT but whatevs! It really delivers, £35 for 200 ml.

Both those are at the luxe end pricewise but definitely worth it if your budget allows. For a real beauty steal product, try Rimmel Sunshimmer Instant Tan and Gradual Glow, currently £2.99 for 125 ml, which we have just discovered and gives a lovely natural colour.

We can’t think of legs and tanning without mentioning This Works Perfect Legs Skin Miracle, £37 for 120 ml, which hydrates, gives an instant tint (so it’s more make-up than gradual tan) and helps even out what they charmingly call ‘imperfections’.

Finally, at the risk of being boring, may we point out that, good as they are, these products will only work well on carefully prepped skin. So de-fuzz, exfoliate and apply oil or cream a couple of days before you start on tanning. And don't put the product straight on top of body lotion or cream – 'cos it will streak!


Photo by Glen Jackson on Unsplash