I write a facial self-tanning column once each year and, during its research, my family and friends will invariably look at my uncharacteristically brown or implausibly orange face and say, “Trying out fake tan, are you?” This year, something remarkable happened: they told me I looked well. And, despite a lifetime of believing ghostliness becomes me, I had to agree. All compliments led back to the same two products, used separately, and I won’t pad this out with a third when they were so noticeably ahead of the rest.
I had previously taken the view that Tan-Luxe was a needlessly expensive tanning brand in cool millennial packaging, and I’m still a bit right but, with new Super Glow Hyaluronic Self-Tan Serum (£35, 30ml), it’s appropriate to reclassify it as a proper skincare company that happens to add a small amount of DHA (the naturally derived chemical that reacts with amino acids in skin to produce the brown colour). Because this is a very good-quality hydrating (thanks to hyaluronic acid), moisturising (avocado and chia oils), antioxidant (raspberry oil, blueberry extract) serum for any type, that immediately plumps and smooths as effectively as a non-tanning product at a similar price point. Added to this, it gives a wholly convincing, even glow that beams with good health (tanning addicts will find it too light). It’s truly brilliant.
I’ve always rated M&S Autograph’s Self Tan Luxe Facial Oil (£9.50, 28ml), but it’s not every skin type’s cup of tea. Somehow, they have improved on it: Self Tan Glow Booster Serum (£12.50, 15ml) is added to your existing skincare products to give them tanning capability (I find three drops three times a week ideal), allowing you to tinker with the shade to suit. The technique is so simple and controllable, and the colour so predictably natural, that you cannot screw up. I apply each at night after cleansing, as changing colour over lunch doesn’t much appeal, and I’m nicely, subtly sun-kissed by morning – but you can slot it in whenever you like.
Even if you don’t seek to look as if you’re fresh back from Corsica, do consider the ingenious tip once given to me by my friend Jo: when late home, possibly inebriated and destined to suffer, slug a pint of water and slap on facial tanner as you fall into bed. That tentative morning glance in the mirror becomes a much softer blow.
• Comments on this piece are premoderated to ensure discussion remains on topics raised by the writer. Please be aware there may be a short delay in comments appearing on the site.
This article contains affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if a reader clicks through and makes a purchase. All our journalism is independent and is in no way influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative. By clicking on an affiliate link, you accept that third-party cookies will be set. More information.