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The Gloss Report: Face tanners

March 24th 2014


Spring is here and that means one thing - it's time to fake a sun-kissed glow. Let the Glossy Posse guide you through the best facial tanners

Xen-Tan Face Tanner Luxe


Price £19.99

Buy online www.xen-tan.co.uk

Feedback If you already have olive skin and want to go darker, this is a great tan for you. I tried the medium/dark for the face. It was a great colour for a girls night out or a special occasion - I will definitely be using it again.

I am an avid fake tan user and normally use St Tropez dark or Sienna X. I’m not normally swayed by other brands, however I was highly impressed by this product. It was a good, thick, creamy consistency, was really easy to apply and didn’t streak at all when applied with a mitt.

Usually the big issue with fake tan is the smell, but I have to say this one was quite nice as it smelt like amaretto biscuits!

I actually applied two layers, as I was unaware of how dark it would be in the morning. The results were very effective, so next time I might stick with the one layer!

I left it on overnight and found that it washed off easily in the morning. The colour of the water was more terracotta in colour than the usual dark brown, but I found that even after showering, I still had the clear all-over golden colour that I was hoping for.

Reviewer HS

Score 9/10

Time Bomb Holiday in a Bottle


Price £28

Buy online www.timebombco.com

Feedback Okay, I chickened out. This is not ‘self-tan’ per se; it’s a grey/white cream infused with micro-pigments that burst on contact with the skin, blending into a ‘fortnight in the Caribbean’ glow. Described as ‘liquid sunshine’, the product is available in two shades- ‘Sunkissed’ and ‘Suntanned’. I road tested ‘Suntanned’, which was a tactical tanning error on my part given my Adamms Family colouring.

I have never realistically been suntanned, so using a product promising to get me there was never going to fool anyone. Despite the complexion compatibility issue and with a LOT of blending I can appreciate that this sheer wash of colour would be a welcome boost for those that aren’t lily white like me.

The formula itself is oil-free and incredibly light - it didn’t cling to any blemishes or dry patches as many liquid bronzers and blushers tend to. By itself it doesn’t offer much coverage, it simply lights your face in a flattering manner, meaning that any other make-up applied over the top doesn’t have to work so hard to make you look polished.

While not as pricey as an actual holiday, at £28 this glow-giver isn’t exactly a bargain, although you only need to use a tiny amount at a time and the packaging is very pretty. Plus, there’s none of the mess, smell or staining of conventional self-tan and it’s effect is immediate. Instant gratification ahoy, as long as you have the bank balance to allow for it.

Reviewer AH

Score 7/10

The Organic Pharmacy Self Tan for Face and Body


Price £33.95

Buy online www.theorganicpharmacy.com

Feedback This is perfect if you are a) terrified of self-tan (particularly on your face) and b) really pale. I slathered it on before bed and expected to wake up looking tangoed with an orange pillow so I was pleasantly surprised with my subtle glow and pristine bed sheets.

The colour looks natural and can be built up over time for a darker colour which is ideal for fairer complexions and tan newbies like me. The only downside is the smell does linger and whilst it’s not unpleasant it is a tad overpowering when it’s right under your nose.

Reviewer RM

Score 8/10

L’Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Body & Face Gradual Tan 24 Hour Moisturising Lotion


Price £4.66

Buy Online www.boots.com

Feedback Having been born with a skin tone teetering between translucent and albino, getting a good, even tan has never really been my strong point. As a result I’ve relied heavily on fake bake tanning lotions over the years - in fact, the carpet in my room at home used to be a pale mint colour. It’s now a dirty brown. Enough said.

I’ve always preferred moisturising lotions to sprays, oils or mousses as I find you can get a more even coverage and avoid those tide marks and awful streaks. Plus, as I have dry skin, using a lotion means I can kill two birds with one stone, keeping my skin sleek and hydrated whilst also injecting a little colour back into my cheeks.

Before using the lotion, I washed and exfoliated my face and then applied some cream - about the size of a ten pence piece. When I woke the following morning I was glad to see my face had a subtle and - if I do say so myself - a rather natural looking glow.

My only gripe would be the overwhelming and unavoidable dirty biscuit ‘tan’ smell which really did linger and couldn't be masked, even by a combination of three perfumes. However, at this price and with the successful results I got, I’m definitely willing to overlook it.

Reviewer KR

Score 8/10

St Tropez Gradual Tan Face


Price £14

Buy Online www.boots.com

Feedback If my uni house had a smell in the summer of 2003 it would be St Tropez. Like many people, this was the brand that introduced me to fake tan, and all the biscuit smelling, orange limbs that came with it.

I was expecting that nostalgic feeling, but was pleasantly surprised to find that things have changed quite a bit. The smell is more subtle, as are the results, which were noticable but still very natural.

My delicate skin held up well and I felt a little less pasty after a few glasses of wine with the Gloss team at Liberty and at the Alice Made This pop-up store.

This is a good investment for girls like me, for whom the ‘no make-up look’ honestly consists of almost no make-up.

Reviewer TD

Score 8/10

Rodial Brazilian Tan Clear


Price £39

Buy online www.rodial.co.uk

Feedback Thanks to my celtic heritage, fake tan has always been a beauty staple for me. Trust me when I say I’ve tried everything. I’ve braved orange palms, tiger stripes and dirty-looking elbows, all in the name of beauty and this, ladies, is the best tanner out there.

While it isn’t technically a face tanner, it’s one of the only face and body formulas that doesn’t give you an oil slick on your forehead a few hours after applying. It doesn’t smell bad, it conditions your skin like a dream and it gives just the right amount of colour to make you look ‘well’ not tangoed. Yes, it’s expensive. But you don’t need to use a lot, and I think it’s well worth the investment.

Reviewer LO

Score 10/10

Thalgo Self Tanning Cream


Price £24.50

Buy online www.feelunique.com

Feedback What I love most about this self tan is the incredible ‘summer scent’ it has. It’s very similar to the Thalgo Shimmer Body Oil and thankfully doesn't have the standard biscuit-like self tan aroma. A 2-in-1 product for the face and body, it is suitable for a variety of skin tones and it helps to create a very subtle tan that you can build up in colour to a golden complexion. Even with a very thin layer, the next day my skin looked much more radiant and had a healthy glow, without looking streaky or orange. It doesn’t feel sticky or heavy, and blends effortlessly into the skin. With its addition of aloe vera it also helps to keep the skin moisturised, which I think helps to ensure you get good, even coverage. However, I did find it is still important to properly exfoliate first as it can become uneven and streaky if you do not have a fully prepped base!

Reviewer SM

Score 10/10

Sensai Silky Bronze Self Tanning For Face


Price £55

Buy online www.harrods.com

Feedback I know I know, I’m not exactly in need of a tan am I? That being said, I do miss the glow that an afternoon in the sun provides me with and a certain lift that only a holiday can only really do.

Although wonderfully silky textured and summery in scent, I didn’t notice much of a difference to the tone of my already chocolate-coloured skin. Application was easy and it was refreshingly moisturising, but to reap the full rewards, it’s probably a better fit for those of fairer complexions. Looks like I’ll have to seek my sunshine fix outside or from a spray tan nozzle, rather than out of a bottle for now.

Reviewer AM

Score 5/10

Sisley Self Tanning Hydrating Facial Skincare


Price £81

Buy online www.johnlewis.com

Feedback Hello, my name is Susannah and I am a self tan addict. I love the stuff, and I am fearless about using it. I’m not talking about a ’70s style chocolate colour tan, and I definitely run a mile from anything that says ‘Mahogany’ or ‘Extra Dark’ on it (too brown = dated, too Towie-esque), however, if I don’t have a little bit of a golden glow then I feel positively ill-looking. Therefore I am a fan of everyday gradual tans (St Tropez is amazing for the body as is Sienna X), but for the face, I love this Sisley one. I was put onto it by beauty queen and beauty director of Feel Unique Newby Hands, and haven’t looked back since. It provides a golden glow that’s neither the shade of marmalade, too brown or too stinky. It doesn’t streak and it looks incredibly natural. I apply it twice a week without fail and it’s expensive yes, but in my opinion worth every drop and believe me, a little goes a long way.

Reviewer ST

Score 10/10

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