Fake it until you make it, especially when it comes to a beautiful glow. True, I love the sun, but it's so infrequent and scarce over here, that I simply have to get my tan from a bottle - or wear trousers because I cannot stand pale limbs sticking out of a summer skirt, at least when the legs are a part of my body.
Since I am painfully picky when it comes to the formulas, anything I put on my skin has to be as natural as possible - or seize its existence - and I find it rather wonderful that we have so many options these days.
Here are my favourite, mosty self-tanners, but also a few little helpers to use as a finishing touch.
1. Sun kiss / Elemental Herbology (£27) is a daily body moisturiser that gives you a build-able sun-kissed glow thanks to eco-certified sugar beet, while nourishing the skin with aloe vera, fig extract, macadamia, shea butter and olive oils. It also contains antioxidant packed green tea and acerola extracts. Lasts for up to a week.
2. Self tan / Organic Pharmacy (£36) is a light cream that can be used on both face and body and is suitable for the most sensitive skin. Just like with the Sun kiss, the tan ingredients are derived from sugar beet. I love the simple and effective formula based on aloe vera, coconut, sesame, shea butter and jojoba oils scented with vanilla bean extract. Simple and clever.
3. Prosun / Melvita (£22) is a bronzer and moisturiser that smells delicious thanks to the vanilla flower and orange floral water. It contains burrito and coconut oils known for their natural SPF properties as well as ability to heal the skin.
4. Bronzing gel / Trilogy (£13) is brilliant because it gives you an instant glow and shimmer, and then gradually develops into a tan.
5. Self tanning lotion / Lavera (£14) is more affordable organic self-tanner that transforms into a medium golden hue within 5 hours after initial application. Contains soothing calendula and aloe leaf juice. And don't panic about the word "fragrance" - it comes from organic essential oils, most likely sandalwood.
6. Phenomenal self tanner / Vita Liberata (£38) comes in different mousse-based formulas for achieving medium or dark hue and can be used for both face and body. Give you an instant glow and takes about 6 hours to develop into a tan that fades evenly, without patches. Contains witch hazel, papaya fruit, litchi, pomegranate and raspberry extracts.
7. Skin deep golden elixir / This Works (£45) is not a self-tanner, but rather a body care that works as a serum and moisturiser while covering the skin with collagen-stimulating 24-carat flakes of real gold. Use it on top of your existent tan. Super simple formula based on coconut and sunflower oils with added vitamin E, aloe vera, chamomile, rose, jasmine, pachouli and bergamot. A real treat.
8. Sun sheen light tan / Institut Esthederm (£29) is a light face cream, especially suitable for girls with pale skin. It does contain fragrance and a couple of other ingredients that may irritate very sensitive skins.
9. Living luminizer / RMS Beauty (£30) is one of my true loves. It's created by Rose-Marie Swift who is the only make-up artist (and creator of make-up) whom I would trust my skin. I use the luminizer to highlight and brighten, on my nose, cupid bow and under the eyebrows - it looks amazing on a tanned skin. In addition you can blend it with un-cover up to create an organic version of Touche Eclat.
10. Organic self tan / TanOrganic (£20) is the one I keep repurchasing. My ultimate glow in a bottle - and here's why.
11. Buriti bronzer / RMS Beauty (£25) is another RMS creation and the only bronzer I'd ever, ever, ever use - both as nature intended and as well as an eye shadow and lipgloss.
12. Skin tight / Prtty Peashun (£33) is a skin perfector loved by every Hollywood star and praised by make-up artists. It can be used on top of your existent tan for added glow or, in case you were in rush and still look pale - to replace your tights by hiding imperfections without staining the clothes. It's a bit like foundation for the body that makes your legs look airbrushed and perfect for the photos.
13. Self tan lotion / Green People (£14) is one of the first organic self-tanners I've ever tried and used for several years. I love the sandalwood fragrance, easy application and simple ingredients. Really good option, especially if you are on a budget. Little goes a long way.
I've also mentioned a few products last week when talking about bikini bodies - if you are curious, follow the link.
Photo source: Edita Vilkeviciute in Numero November 2009 (photography: Solve Sundsbo, styling: Franck Benhamou)