From my perspective, fake tan is a bit like the Emperor’s New Clothes crossed with the Russian Roulette of beauty: smelly and hard to use, you have to do so much prep beforehand and then it’s still a game of chance whether you’ll get a decent result. Pah! I just throw my hands up at it and generally refuse to even go there.
I mean, what other cosmetic product expects us to buff and moisturise for days beforehand, then makes us absolutely bloody reek once we apply it? What product, further more, the council for the prosecution asks, has the temerity to accuse the plaintiff of smugly ‘doing it wrong’ when the end result is a streaky tangoed fritemare?
But I totally recognise the fact that there is a need and a desire to take the bare look off pasty limbs. Of course I do, and it’s why we love the bit of bronze so much in this country. So while I might not go for self tanners that develop for all the above reasons, I have no aversion to skin finishers I can slap on for a shot of instant colour.
Commitment-free bronzing is what I’m after. I don’t want to faff about for days – I don’t have time – but sometimes when it’s warm and the legs and arms come out, or, as Lynnie says, you have an Evint, you need a little something to take the bare look off and give skin a bit of a finish and a glow.
I took three instant-result body bronzers I’d been sent as press samples out to Portugal with me last week to test them on legs. I chose a gel, a mousse and a thick cream to see what sort of formula would be the best-performing. The trio under trial were L’Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Self Tanning Gel Tinted and Shimmering for Fair Skin, approx €15, (some name, wha?), ModelCo One Night Tan, from €12.50 and Rockstar Tan Fame, €19.99.
My main criteria for a product like this is I want to be able to wipe and go. One application should deliver discernible colour that’s easy to apply, gives a realistic-looking tan result that’s streak-free and relatively transfer-proof. Plus, it should wash off the next time I take a shower.
L’Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Self Tanning Gel Tinted and Shimmering for Fair Skin
This is a thin tinted gel that spreads quickly and easily – good – but once it’s on, you really can’t see anything – bad. I have really fair legs – they never tan no matter how long I leave them in the sun so I would have thought that the fair version would have had enough colour in it for me. Not so; there was really very little change in tone. In addition, this takes quite a long time to dry as it’s fairly liquid so if you’re not careful you’ll be wiping it off on clothes, furniture, the dog. Definitely the most disappointing of the bunch, though it may fare better applied with a mitt and the darker shade could be an improvement.
Update! Kindly Beaut.ies have pointed out to me that this product does develop – i.e. it contains DHA – so isn’t actually a proper candidate for this test. I was led by the ‘Instant Result’ tag on the packaging but after doing a thorough scrutiny of the tube, actually this is is more like a gradual tanner with a guide colour (the ‘instant’ result, hmmm) that you apply for a few days to build to the desired shade. Clearly, that’s not what I wanted at all, and if I can be confused by the packaging, well – I’m guessing so have lots of others!
ModelCo One Night Tan
A dark, tinted mousse, I was at an instant loss because I didn’t have a mitt and I think that would absolutely be the best way to apply this – most of the colour ended up on my hands and I ended up washing it off and therefore down the sink. Good points are there’s no shimmer and it’s totally non-sticky, drying quickly. But it was difficult to get it to transfer any colour onto legs – I used this twice just to be sure I was doing it justice. It really didn’t do much at all to improve milk bottle matters, so another disappointing thumbs down for Model Co here I’m sorry to say.
Rockstar Tan Fame
Definitely the pick of the bunch. Rockstar Tan really get the whole idea behind skin finishing – i.e. a decent colour result instantly that’s simple to apply and streak free. This is a thick dark cream with quite a dry texture which uses some of the same technology as SPFs do so it ‘clings’ to the skin. Not in a tacky way at all, but in a reassuringly budge-proof manner so you really feel it’ll stay where it’s put. Plus, I could see it on my legs, which is, y’know, exactly what I wanted.
This delivers a good medium bronzey shade, has lots of nice kind-to-skin ingredients, is Irish and is all-round very good at doing what it says it will. Fantastic, reliable stuff, and if you’re into skin finishing, you’ll want a tube of this in your bathroom cabinet.
Have you tried any of the three I trialled? Let us know what you reckon if so in a comment and dish your fave instant skin finishing recommendations too.