There is no such thing as a perfect, natural-looking self-tan without gradual tanners. There, we said it. As much as we are obsessed with self-tanning mousses (and trust us when we say we know some really good ones), we’ve learned in life that gradual tanners make the meticulous self-tanning fans very happy – and for good reasons.
Before we dive into that, we’ll back up a bit for those who need a bit of Gradual Tanner 101.
“A gradual what now?”
Gradual tanners get you the same results that tanning mousses do except they develop slower and are kinder on the skin. This is great for newbies who aren’t ready for tanning lotions just yet. These are also a staple for those who want to keep their tan from fading. Gradual tanners can be applied as often as you like and are extremely buildable. Typically, you don’t need to follow the considerations that regular self-tanning has (like exfoliating, following a prescribed downtime before showering, etc). Gradual tanners are also great for getting those spots that you may have left out during your sunless tanning session.
“Interesting. How exactly do I use them?”
If you have your basic skincare routine down (which is typically cleansing and moisturising), you’re pretty much set. A good gradual tanner will have ingredients that are already hydrating for your skin. Just grab your favorite moisturisers (both for face and body), squeeze out an amount into your palm, mix in with a few drops of your gradual tanner, and apply as usual. It’s a pretty basic step that takes no time at all, and the payoff on your appearance and mood is pretty huge.
How much gradual tanner should you use? That depends on your moisturiser and also how your skin handles the formula. We would base this one on trial and error so we encourage to start a bit more conservatively and work from there. Some people prefer having a slight tint that lasts for a day or two, while some are bigger players who opt for a year round glow. Start out small and slow and test out what you feel and look best in.
Some more tips: gradual tanners mixed with moisturisers are best applied on clean, dry skin. Make sure to wash your hands after using to avoid splotches. If you lead a pretty active lifestyle, try doing your application at night so you wake up with a beautiful glow that will get you through the day.
“I’m in. But which gradual tanners do I use?”
Based on experience and research, we crafted two of our favourite ways to glow gradually. The first one is the oil form. We love this because it typically comes in a dropper bottle, which is great for people who can’t break up with their go-to moisturisers. Just mix it in and go.
Make sure that you pick one without harsh chemicals and uses only quality ingredients. Also read reviews to check if the formula is a lightweight and quick-drying one. The last thing you want is to feel sticky when you’re out and about after application.
Our recommendation: Bondi Bodz Afterglow Tanning Drops
The other type comes in a straightforward lotion form. This type of gradual tanner is for the ones that can’t be bothered with all the mixing of products, and would rather just switch out their usuals every now and then. This is also great for those who are not so good with mixing their products together because it ensures a streak-free formula. Typically, the lotion type travels well too since the container is not as fragile as the ones for oils. You may also use a gradual tanning lotion for post-sun care.
Check for quality ingredients to make sure that it is safe even for the most sensitive skin.
Our recommendation: Bondi Bodz Skinsation Gradual Tanning Lotion