If you’re feeling a bit pasty for summer dresses right now, there’s one sure-fire way to achieve a believable bronzed glow: gradual tanners. Whereas traditional fake tans can easily go wrong and sunbeds expose you to harmful UV rays, modern gradual tanners will add a touch of colour without the risk of orange streaks (or sun damage). So if you want a convincing bronzed glow this summer, see our edit of the ten best gradual tan moisturisers, lotions, and serums currently on the market.
The 10 Best Gradual Tanners:
So rich and creamy, you’ll feel like you’re in a spa when applying it and glow like a Goddess once the colour kicks in. The Gradual Tan Body Moisturiser by ESPA has a subtle build that makes it ideal for beginners. The formula utilises Plant Melanin and tan-accelerating DHA to create an even, longer-lasting natural bronzed glow. Shea Butter and Sweet Almond Oil nourish and hydrate, while Jasmine, Rosewood, and Ylang Ylang delicately scent the skin.
Create a natural-looking glow with Vita Liberata’s Untinted Fabulous Gradual Tanning Lotion. The gentle formula contains aloe vera, witch hazel, and hyaluronic acid, which help hydrate the skin while promoting a sun-kissed tan. The luxurious lotion absorbs quickly to help lock in moisture, gradually revealing a golden bronze tan over 4–8 hours. The best part is that it is colourless and won’t stain clothing or sheets.
The luxurious OSKIA Adaptive Tan Drops work in three phases. The first gives you a healthy glow in 3 to 4 hours. The second increases melanin levels in the skin, resulting in a natural protective tan without exposing the skin to UV rays. The third and final stage results in a deep, long-lasting tan. These tanning drops are ideal for use in the evening and can be mixed with any serum, cream, or oil, with colour developing in 3 to 4 hours.
Build a light, bronzed glow with the He-Shi Day to Day Gradual Tan, a triple-action lotion that’s ideal for fair to medium skin types. Day to Day Gradual Tan is a self-tanner, tan extender, and moisturiser all-in-one. This triple-action lotion evens out the skin tone to create a light bronzy complexion over time. It can also be used to maintain an existing tan or to top up your colour between self tan applications.
Achieve a golden, sun-kissed complexion with this multi-award-winning formula from Tan-Luxe. It works in tandem with your existing skincare; by adding a few drops to your favourite serums and moisturisers for a customised glow. The formula contains skin-boosting Raspberry Seed Oil, Vitamin E, and Aloe Vera, and it helps minimise skin imperfections and unify uneven skin tone without leaving any streaks.
If you’re after a subtle tan, you’ll love the Body Glow by SKINNY TAN Light Lotion, a daily moisturiser enriched with a hint of tan. Formulated with a combination of soothing oils, Aloe Vera and naturally-derived guarana, the moisturiser softens and nourishes skin while gently building light to medium, streak-free colour; just enough for a hint of subtle radiance. Use it in place of your classic moisturiser and enjoy its Coconut and Caramel scent, meaning no fake tan smell.
Can’t give up your moisturiser but still want that super tanned glow? No big deal! Just add the colour-correcting Magic Tanning Drops to your classic moisturiser for a natural, sun-kissed glow with no streaks, no odours, or orange tones. Isle of Paradise likes to do things differently, combining a colour-corrective approach with tanning expertise to give us our “Best Glow Ever.” Plus, the unique SuperBalance complex helps reduce redness and calm the skin.
Discover hydrated, glowing skin with the Bondi Sands Pure Gradual Tanning Milk. The clean and simple formula is fragrance-free and combines the brand’s iconic golden glow with skin-loving hyaluronic acid. It contains Vitamin C and Vitamin E to restore radiance and promote the skin’s ability to repair. Its colourless formula blends effortlessly and won’t transfer onto clothes or bed sheets. This gradual tanner can be built up to create your desired depth and intensity.
Heavenly Tanning Elixir not only smells incredible—the formula is bursting with nourishing, organic ingredients that lock in moisture, leaving your skin feeling super-hydrated and smooth. After waiting a minimum of 8 hours before showering, the result will be beautifully bronzed skin. The tanning elixir slowly releases DHA to deepen your tan for up to 72 hours after application. Best f all, it’s suitable for use on the face and body.
Whether you want to top up an existing tan or create a subtle sun-kissed glow, this certified-organic, customisable bronzing serum is your very own summer in a bottle. The serum contains natural tanning agents that mimic the colour of your own skin’s melanin for an even, natural-looking glow, while coconut water and aloe vera juice ensure skin stays dewy. Enjoy its delectable sweet passion fruit scent that transports you to sunnier climes.