Of a poll of 1000 women aged between 25-60 by skincare supplement brand Imedeen , 57% listed a tan as the most vital part of their summer beauty look, over hair colour and style, mani pedis and makeup. Given our short, often washed out summers and increased sun safety awareness across the board, a natural tan is a no-no, but that doesn’t stop us coveting a Cali glow (note Cali, not TOWIE). 29% of women preferred a sunkissed look to a deep bronze hue (only 6% favoured full on mahogany), and a natural hint of colour is not only far easier to achieve, it’s even indicative of health and happiness, as Cult Beauty co-founder Alexia Inge emphasises:
“Modern tanning is about being healthy - a ‘glow’ that one has got from jogging in the park and adventure holidays, rather than endless hours on a sunbed. Women-in-the-know are enhancing their complexions with ‘backlighting’ products that enrich rather than hide their skin tone.”
A slightly honeyed complexion made 36% of women feel more confident, however, while 22% perceived themselves as slimmer, so it’s clear there’s a lot to be said for a touch of tan.
So, you've got how to apply fake tan down to a fine art? Once you’ve achieved your desired level of outdoorsy warmth, here’s how to make the most of it:
Add a little lustre
For sultry summer evenings, a smoothing and illuminating dry oil not only allows you to skip sticky body lotion, it also flatters limbs and locks like nothing else. An imperfection blurring, bronze enhancing oil such as NUXE Huile Prodigieuse® d’OR will slip on like silk, deepen a tan that’s there and create a light veil of colour if you’re in need of a legs up in that department. Not only will it light up limbs, it also conditions skin and hair that’s been exposed to the elements. If this all sounds too good to be true, road test going gold by purchasing our Latest in Beauty Summer IT Kit . The enclosed Nuxe dry oil is the stuff of beauty legend; truly magic.
Swim amongst the coral
Not in a snorkelling sense, but at the lipstick counter. Corals certainly aren’t an easy colour family to flirt with, but teamed with a light tan, they bring your complexion to life all the more, so they’re the ideal refresher if you’re jetlagged or had a bit too much “juice” last night. Charlotte Tilbury has created a quintessential coral inspired by Jerry Hall’s iconic Vogue cover shot in Jamaica by Norman Parkinson in 1975 - if 70s heat is your vibe, Matte Revolution 1975 Red , £23, delivers it to you in a bullet. The colour blueprint may be retro, but the formula is futuristic - think light yet intense, matte yet hydrating and bold yet buildable. Oxymoronic beauty is always the cleverest, and Charlotte’s possibly the sharpest tool in the modern day makeup kit.
Warm up to cool down
Another paradox right there, but a product that mimics a youthful rush of blood to the cheeks while actually cooling the skin has to be some kind of magic potion. Bourjois Aqua Cool Blusher is practically that- creamy, refreshing and beautifully dewy, it blends out to create the most transparent, believable blush that I’ve seen in a long time. It’s available in our Latest in Beauty Summer IT Kit , and I advise that you dabble in it. The combination of blusher and bronzed skin is seriously underrated; a hint of pink gives what could otherwise be a wan tan a lift, and if it sinks in seamlessly like this one does, it’ll look both godgiven and gloriously healthy. Speaking of healthy…
With beta carotene that is. Studies conducted by experimental psychologist Ian Stephen of Bristol University have shown that a diet high in beta carotene rich fruit and vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, plums, peppers and greens results in skin being perceived as more attractive by others, thanks to the golden effect that the plant pigments impart to the skin. The natural carotenoid chemicals were judged to have a more alluring effect on the skin than UV rays, although you’ll have to rack up at least a few months of ‘five a day’ feasting to achieve such an organic, lit from within glow. Add a dose of healthy facts and take into account the fact that fruit and veg are packed with anti-ageing antioxidants and you’ll be on the road to supple, luminous skin splendour.
Supplement your summer skin
If you’re struggling to consume all those carotenoids, Imedeen Tan Optimizer , £40.80, is full of them, along with a hefty dose of protective vitamins C and E to fight free radical damage, which is especially vital if your skin is more exposed to the sun. Combined with a rainbow of fruit of vegetables and high SPF, it’ll help to support a genuinely healthy glow. The fact that supermodel of beaming health Christy Turlington is a brand ambassador is encouraging.
Soften the glow
A flat tan is rarely flattering; throw a soft focus glow onto it, however, and you’ve got a recipe for radiance, as tacky as that sounds. Just as a bronzing dry oil brings limbs to life, a light-diffusing powder brings you all the powers of Photoshop in a compact. Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed , £30, is a case in point; available in a range of sunbaked shades, it bigs up your bronzed self while minimising the appearance of blemishes and blotches and diffusing away dullness. It’s Alexia Inge’s pick for luminous, lit up skin, and I rather like it too (I’m dabbling in Rose Gold at the moment).
Add a pop of polish
Nude nails are all very chic and well, but seeing as summer skin has more colour going on in general, fingers and toes deserve a carnival of their own. Brighten up with vivid fuschia Nails Inc Gel Effect Polish in fuchsia Downtown, or cool off with cornflower blue Regents Place. They’re both glossy, made even more so by the fact that they feature in our Get The Gloss x Latest in Beauty Summer IT Kit .
Light up your lids
Lighter days call for lighter lids in my opinion, or lit up lids at least, and given the ego boost that a tan can elicit, you should be bold enough to dip into MAC’s Le Disko collection, namely the Dazzleshadow Eyeshadows , £16 each. The cream to powder pots of spangle are prime playtime material and add a twinkle whether or not you have a tan, but are especially fun to dabble in if you do.
Sunkiss your strands
In this case I’m using ‘sunkiss’ as a verb as it’s perfectly possible to lovingly stroke pieces of light through your own hair- the popularity of L’Oreal Casting Sunkiss Jelly , £5.99, proves it. If you’re not ready for this jelly, ravishing blonde colleagues have reported back on the beach blonde efficacy of John Frieda Sheer Blonde Go Blonder Lightening Shampoo and Conditioner , £5.89 each, and the feedback has been positively glowing for an easy, everyday sun dappled solution that gets its power from the shower, not the sun.
This one’s for the daring, there’s no doubt about it, but drawing on a few freckles here and there will play up a tan, making it look even more natural and youthful. Topshop Freckle Pencil in the aptly named Forever Young , £5, is the tool for the job, just don’t forget to finish with a makeup setting spray to limit slippage. You’re aiming for dot-to-dot, not a hot mess.
A final tan takeaway
As Alexia Inge stressed, trends have thankfully departed from the ‘baking in baby oil’ tanning culture of the past, but it’s still pertinent to bear in mind that the real deal still isn’t ideal, even if you do regularly apply a high SPF- heed Dr Stefanie Williams ’ warning:
“Unfortunately there is no safe way to tan. A tan is our skin’s response to a UV injury. Tanning occurs when the sun’s rays penetrate into the skin’s deeper layers, causing the skin to produce more pigment as a response to the injury (it is desperately trying to protect itself). Every time you tan, you accumulate damage to the skin. And what’s worse is that your skin doesn’t forget. It remembers every hour of sun (back to your childhood) and ‘clocks’ those up over time”.
This is one occasion when fake is always in fashion.
Click here to purchase the Get The Gloss x Latest in Beauty Summer IT Kit