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In a move that is completely off brand for me, I recently became obsessed with the idea of using a gradual face and body tanner to help make myself look a bit less peaky whilst stuck indoors throughout lockdown. As I’m not usually into tanning I came at it from a place of complete naivety, but I knew that I didn’t want a messy affair so the gentler process of a gradual tanning product seemed the way to go. I ended up going through a bit of an ordeal with it all, and tried as many as my budget would allow to find those that weren’t a) too expensive, b) too smelly, or c) too orange. Thank god for sales and travel sizes.
Rather than bore you with everything that didn’t work, I’m going to get straight to the point and give you the heads up about those I liked the most for face and body – because of course I couldn’t find just one that covered both. Then I need to give you a huge warning about one that I think is borderline dangerous for those with sensitive skin so should be avoided.
Best Gradual Tan For Face
The best facial gradual tan for pale skin came as a surprise for me. I knew I might struggle with finding a product that would fulfil all of the criteria I outlined above and also not cause my sensitive skin to break out. After some struggling in that regard, I came across the concept of tanning drops that you just add to your regular facial moisturiser. This was the perfect solution! The best quality to cost ratio I found was the Self Tan Glow Booster Serum from good old M&S which has worked wonders on my daylight deprived, grey looking skin with absolutely no orangey tones.
I pop 3 drops into my moisturiser every other day and it makes me look pretty normal and happy, but also like maybe I know a delicious secret. I like it. If you want a more or less noticeable result then you can play around with the amount of drops you put in or the frequency with which you use it.
Best Gradual Tan For Body
I tried so many of these and in the end that one I love the most came to me as a recommendation from my Mum. Wish I’d just asked her first, I could have saved A LOT of messing about. Dove Visible Glow Self Tan [affiliate link] in Fair to Medium hits the cost / quality sweet spot incredibly well so wins my top recommendation as the best body gradual tan for pale skin. The smell is perfectly fine, any product with tanning ingredients is going to give off a slight biscuity odour but this is definitely one of the better ones. It also doesn’t leave any orange marks on white clothes or sheets, but I’d avoid using white towels.
I use this after exfoliating in the bath every second day and it keeps me looking human and alive, which is what I’m after. If you are also pale but would like a more noticeably tanned result then you can use it more often, if you aren’t fair skinned then there is a Medium to Dark [affiliate link] option too.
One To Avoid
Clearly I’m speaking form personal experience here but one product I tried gave me such a horrific rash that I need to warn anyone with sensitive skin to consider avoiding it completely. The old classic, Garnier Summer Body, had been working really well for me at first and I especially loved how affordable it was. After about a week of use I broke out in a painful livid red rash across my chest, on my legs and arms, basically everywhere I had been applying the lotion. My skin became raw, it started to crack, weep, and bleed. I stopped using it and the rash slowly started to heal, but in certain areas it was deep enough to leave some scarring behind.
If you google the product name with ‘rash’ after it you’ll find that this can be a problem for a not inconsiderable number of people, but not all. I’d recommend you steer well clear as there are plenty of other brands to try, but as with everything beauty-related that I talk about here: your milage may vary. If you do insist on trying it out then please, please, patch test first.
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