April 10th 2018
Tanning, as a beauty market and aesthetic, is going nowhere. Superdrug reports that its bronzer and fake tan sales are up 80 per cent year on year, and tanning innovations, from waters to oils to sheet masks, are coming at us thick and fast. If only Coco Chanel had known that such inventions as one-minute in-shower tans and gradual glow drops would become commonplace in our bathrooms when she made tanning ‘trendy’ in the 1920s. In the pursuit of a safe, believable and speedy tan, the following bronzing boosters soothe, smooth and moisturise as they glow. Note that none of them contain SPF- there’s no ‘healthy’ tan unless it’s a from a bottle (and even then it can cause sensitivity), so load up on SPF 30 and above if you’re venturing outdoors.
Gatineau Tan Accelerating Lotion, £49 for 400ml, is a lightweight sun prep and aftersun lotion in one- it contains a peptide that aims to stimulate the skin’s natural production of melanin, therefore helping you build an even layer of colour. The brand recommend that you commence use at least a fortnight before a holiday for a noticeable result, but tanning factor aside, the vitamin E, calming allantoin and emollient grapeseed oil in the formula help to quench and repair skin post sun exposure, or anytime really. It’s pricey, but you get a lot for your dosh, and it keeps skin in tip top condition in the face of sun, sea and sand. Or in my case, sweaty commutes, aircon and lunch breaks in the park.
Fair skinned Celts like I will appreciate the all-over-glow that Elemis Tan Accelerator, £25 for 125ml, delivers- I worked up to an impressively warm tan over the course of a few weeks (that’ll probably be the small amount of DHA in the formula), but it does contain a melanin activating amino acid (tyrosine) to boost your skin’s natural melanin synthesis. On the nourishment front you’ve got a plant-oil cocktail going on here, namely jojoba oil, macadamia nut oil, ylang ylang flower oil and coriander seed oil, plus shea butter for intensive moisture.
Lancaster is a brand known almost solely for its beachy smelling, high performance suncare, and the reformulated Tan Maximizer, £29 for 400ml, promises to prolong the natural melanin release in your skin, making your colour last for up to a month. Many slather it on for its reparative abilities alone- it’s light yet deeply hydrating and helps to prevent peeling if you have caught the sun (if you’re in that unfortunate situation, here’s your sunburn coping strategy). A safe bet, particularly if it encourages you to spend fewer hours in the sun seeing as you’ve already got a good glow going on.
Ultrasun After Sun Tan Booster, £24 for 150ml, contains a 2% DHA formula to guarantee a glow, with a cooling formula and allantoin and glycerin to help your skin hold onto moisture. It absorbs in seconds and feels silky on the skin, although while it’s free of mineral oils and preservatives, be aware that it contains a fair bit of alcohol and is perfumed too, which might put you off if you’ve got sensitive skin in particular.
Hylamide Glow Booster, £20 for 10ml, gives off the gentlest of glows, with a raspberry derived sugar acting as the tanning agent rather than DHA, which can provoke reactions for some of us, or can simply be a bit stinky. A few drops of this mixed with moisturiser will foster melanin production and make your skin look more radiant over time (it took longer than the stated 2-3 days for me to perceive a difference), and the peptide heavy formula helps skin to retain firmness and bounce. It’s also unbelievably easy to add into your daily skincare routine, and lasts for months- you only need a few drops at a time.
Clearly I can’t get enough of the genius tanning drops, but for fake tan phobes, having more control over your colour is a key selling point. Tan Luxe Tan Booster, £42 for 30ml, is a little overpriced in my opinion, but it does deliver a beautiful golden colour in just a few days, and smells of raspberries rather than that telltale soggy biscuit DHA scent (it contains a very small amount of DHA, but it shouldn’t cause issues). The melanin activator complex gives your natural colour a bronze injection, and glycerin and aloe vera bring a bit of moisture to the table, although this is a ‘mix with your moisturiser’ situation so you shouldn’t need the reinforcements.
There’s no pill, food or supplement that will protect you against the harmful effects of the sun- high SPF and staying in the shade are the only shields, and even they’re not foolproof, so you should never, ever view the likes of Imedeen Tan Optimizer, £35.99 for 60 capsules, as a licence to bake. The capsules do deliver antioxidant vitamins C and E to help to fortify cells in the face of free radicals, but the tanning element is down to the fact that the tablets contain lycopene, beta-carotene and lutein, all of which are responsible for the yellow, red and orange pigments found in the likes of peppers, tomatoes and sweet potatoes, and can produce a golden colour in the skin. A good few beauty editors I know swear that taking these at least a month before a beach break results in lightly bronzed skin, without the harmful sunlounger sessions of old. They’re not magic beans, and always consult your GP before buying any nutritional supplements, but they could give you a vitamin boost and an inner glow, although I’d argue that eating a sweet potato is more enjoyable.
Follow Anna on Instagram