WE should be relaxing in glorious sunshine right now, but it’s fair to say this summer’s been a washout so far, with more than its fair share of wind, rain and even flooding.
With sunbathing opportunities so few and far between, it’s time to hit the bottle — the self-tan bottle, that is.
The good news is this year’s also brought, well, a flood of new products that will help you get your glow on in no time.
Whether you’re a self-tan newbie or practically a pro, here are the best ways to fake it this summer...
Think self-tanning involves a tonne of prep, hours slathering on a smelly potion and then a long wait while precariously trying to avoid staining everything you touch?
Think again: The latest crop of express products get the job done in record time.
Sienna X HIT Express Tan, €31.94, is a ‘high intensity’ lotion that washes off after 60 minutes and develops over two to eight hours ( www.feelunique.com plus p&p).
Even faster, NKD SKN Pre-Shower Tan, €16.75, washes off after 10 minutes and can be used every time you shower to grow your glow gradually ( www.superdrug.com ).
And last year’s big tan hit, St Tropez Gradual Tan In Shower Golden Glow, currently reduced to €14.99 from €22.49, is back with a darker medium shade ( www.boots.ie ).
Applied like a shower gel, it gives a deeper tan in just three minutes, and comes with the Kardashian seal of approval.
The active ingredient in most self-tanning products is a chemical form of dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which can dry out the skin.
A new generation of naturally derived actives are revolutionising the sector, however.
Skinny Tan Self-Tan Mousse, €27.65, which uses DHA extracted from the brassica napus plant, has become Superdrug’s fastest-selling tanning product ( www.superdrug.com ).
Dr Organic has launched a range of Moroccan Glow Self- Tan Mousses, €20.89, available in light, medium and dark ( www.hollandandbarrett.com ).
Incredibly simple to use, Tan-Luxe Hydrating Self Tan Water, €30, is a world-first. A clear active-infused liquid that you spray on and don’t even have to rub in; just let it dry and watch the colour develop over two to four hours ( www.qvcuk.com plus p&p).
EASY DOES IT
If it’s the bottles of messy lotion and the difficulty of trying to reach every inch of your body that puts you off at-home bronzing, try one of these clever tools.
PHD Self Tanner Light, €23.70, is a spray that comes with an extendible arm, so you won’t have to bend over or contort yourself to reach those remote spots ( www.phdskincare.co.uk plus p&p).
Similarly, the Got Your Back Tan Applicator Mitt, €17.80, is a reusable velour mitt that’s designed for dispersing product evenly across your back, and comes from the same brand that brought us the post-tan Bronzie jumpsuit, €47.50 ( www.bronzieuk.com plus p&p).
For tanning on the go, Cocoa Brown by Marissa Carter Tanning Wipes,€3.50, are infused with the celeb-favourite glow-giver — perfect for holidays, festivals and pre-night-out touch-ups.
If you don’t want to go the whole hog with a full-body treatment, a touch of customisable ‘fake-up’ on your face will make a world of difference.
Tan-Luxe Illuminating Serum Self Tan Facial Drops, €36.80, is great for beginners. Mix a couple of drops with your usual moisturiser on the back of your hand and apply in the morning or evening to see a touch of tan develop over several days ( www.qvcuk.com plus p&p).
Vita Liberata Self Tanning Anti-Age Serum, €39, is also made for blending with your face cream, and comes with a host of complexion-boosting actives that promote collagen production and skin regeneration ( www.spacenk.com ).
TANNING LOVING CARE
Turning your skin a suitably sun-kissed shade may be the primary goal of these liquid-gold lotions, but a new wave of hybrid products combine tanning effects with skin-protecting properties.
Vita Liberata Marula Dry Oil Self Tan, €49, is the world’s first self-tan with SPF 50, making it safe to use in the sun, and is packed with African marula oil to drench skin with moisture ( www.spacenk.com ).
Dove DermaSpa Summer Revived Light-Medium Gradual Self-Tan Body Lotion, reduced to €4.99 from €9.99, contains the highest levels of moisture-boosting glycerine you can find on the high street, while St Moriz Advanced Pro Formula Gel, €3.49, delivers intense hydration alongside natural-looking colour ( www.boots.ie ).