Spring is in full fling here in the southern hemisphere, so it’s time to gradually turn up that tanning dial as we start to unveil more flesh. Gradual tanning formulas that are rich in moisturising ingredients and blended with some light active tanning agents are a cinch to apply with a low risk, buildable approach to colour, whilst also conditioning the skin. Beauticater Julie Wakely (who also happens to be a former Beauty Therapist and Blogger) has naturally fair skin but loves to go bronze, so has become quite the gradual tanner connoisseur.
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“With gradual tanners you are mere days away from silky, spring appropriate skin that’s ready to bare,” says Julie. “Having a paler, sensitive Celtic complexion has led to some tanning disasters in the past, I’ve concluded that a progressive, layered approach with formulas that take my skin tone up a few notches each time perform best.” Here are her pick of the best.
The Wash & Glow
“With an in-shower tanning experience St Tropez may just be changing the way we tan forever. Simply wash with your usual shower gel then turn the water off and get to slathering this rich, creamy formula on. Working on the principle that warm, wet skin is more absorbent this innovative formula is designed so the tanning agent, DHA won’t dissolve on contact with wet skin instead allowing the optimum amount of DHA to be absorbed in 3 minutes to kick-start a subtle colour change. The velvety formula lathers slightly as you massage it all over your wet skin, the scent is subtle - a very distant citrus freshness. Next the hard bit: standing still and braving the chilly morning air while I let the formula set to work. I find an electric toothbrush and a thorough teeth clean or a face massage with a cleansing brush usually distracts me. After waiting the full three minutes it is time to rinse. My skin is left feeling soft and comfortable thanks to sweet almond oil negating the need for moisturiser. There is no residual stickiness, no lingering scent and the colour that developed was extremely subtle which I built on throughout the week to a gentle golden-based glow.”
The Nourish & Glow
“I couldn’t believe how such a moisturising formulation can feel so light on the skin. Rich in aloe vera juice this quenching lotion feels like a body lotion first, tanner second. On first use, I appreciated how quickly and fluidly this could be applied and how a small pump amply catered for each limb. Certified organic, this natural formulation is free from all nasties and uses antioxidant superfood cacao as the tanning agent. The colour that develops is extremely natural with caramel undertones that after two or three applications leave me with a truly credible tan that couldn’t be further from ‘winter skin’!”
The Dress & Glow
Jergens Natural Glow Foaming Daily Moisturiser, Fair to Medium
“As spring heats up I’ll be reaching for this deliciously whipped moisturising mousse to amp my glow up a notch. The formula dries instantly with no stickiness to deal with or downtime before getting dressed. I can affirm that the ‘seven years in development odour-reducing technology’ (as the company claims) really works and passed my numerous arm-sniffing tests throughout the day. The colour builds easily and the tone seems to mimic what my skin really looks like after a few weeks in the sun and fades evenly with no patchiness making it the low maintenance tanning option.”
The Spray & Glow
A member of the Palmer’s Rapid Moisture spray lotion range this ‘tan in a can’ is the perfect way to keep skin beautifully supple and soft, while warming up your skin tone. The winning feature for me is that ultra-light, continuous spray function which allows me to lightly mist each limb with ease - even those hard to reach places when the hubby is not around to lend a hand! I love how hydrated the cocoa butter, vitamin E and coconut oil formula makes my skin feel, while he loves the moreish chocolatey gourmand scent. I’m also impressed with the bronze undertones that develop over a few days, safely away from anything resembling orange.
The Protect & Glow
Having recently moved interstate from Sydney to the Gold Coast, this tanner holds a special place in my heart and tends to make me a little nostalgic for Sydney’s Eastern beaches every time I reach for it, but that’s not the only reason I like it. The pump bottle provides convenient and quick access to the aloe-based milk that is just so easy to work with. The comforting lactic scent delicately resides somewhere between vanilla and milk chocolate and the fact that it also offers an SPF 15 makes it the easy choice for those days when I know I will be out and about between meetings and errands and will need some intermittent UV protection.
Story by Julie Wakely