Photo by Minh Pham on Unsplash

My theory is that the best self-tan products have a little red in them. A natural-looking tan isn’t that dayglo orange everyone seems to favour, but a reddy/golden shade.

I also find that for those of us who have sensitive skin and/or rosacea, it’s hard to find a fake tan specifically for the face that doesn’t irritate the skin.

My favourite has always been Clarins Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster for Face (review below), one of the first self-tan drops to be mixed with a moisturiser.

Clarins Self Tanning Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster

But then I received a tiny (10ml) sample of Tan-Luxe Super Glow Hyaluronic Self-Tan Serum in a beauty box and I’m kind of hooked.

Super Glow is the world’s first hyaluronic, superfood, self-tan serum.

Powered by a potent hyaluronic acid complex which effortlessly delivers a streak-free, ultra-nourished glow.

This lightweight yet potent serum is a 3-in-1 hard-working hero that tans, plumps and adds a serious glow to skin for a flawless and natural, healthy tan.

Boasting an antioxidant-rich ingredients list to brighten skin and boost collagen production, this serum also gives a burst of hydration upon application, while cocoa seed extract acts as a shield to protect skin from daily environmental aggressors.


Apply 2-12 drops to the face and décolleté daily, massaging into the skin with circular motions, avoiding the eyes.

Follow with a moisturiser before makeup.

Additional drops will increase depth in colour.


Tan-Luxe has worked hard on the fragrance which I think is very pleasant, there’s barely a whiff of that tell-tale fake tan smell.

I moisturise my skin a good half an hour before I apply the drops. It’s very hard to massage on dry skin that doesn’t have any slip as it dries almost instantly. You can, of course, mix it with moisturiser and then apply it.

If you’re applying it by itself all that’s needed is a drop on the forehead, each cheek, nose, chin and perhaps, 2-3 on the neck and 3 on the chest.

Be aware that the tan develops gradually over time, usually around 2-4 hours. Experiment with how much you apply and start with less.

I thought I hadn’t applied enough as it sank in so fast and doubled up on the drops. I ended up with what looked like a very raw, sunburnt face, that took three long days to fade as it kept developing, this is potent stuff.

There’s a lot of talk about ‘glow’ in the description, but none about the redness in the product, or maybe I’m the only one who’s noticed?

It really works though, as the serum evens out my naturally flushed Celtic complexion skin tone enough that I can go without makeup the next day. The colour is very natural-looking and flattering. Too much of a dark tan on a mature face is very ageing, this hits just the right note.

I felt the skincare benefits the next day when my face seemed less lined and plumped up just the way a real tan works and makes your skin look better. Tan-Luxe seems to have bridged the gap between a self-tan and skincare, a self-tan that hydrates and doesn’t settle into pores.

If you’re looking for something a little more bronzed and glowy, ie you’re under 40, then Tan-Luxe has a range of gorgeous self-tanners.


Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Bronzing Powder

As much as I love this serum, I don’t use it on my neck or chest. My skin is so sensitive I have to be extremely careful and do endless patch tests.

I use a matt bronzing powder instead. Obviously, I love my Guerlain Terracotta bronzer but it broke into a million pieces when I dropped it, so I dug out this old standby.

Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess definitely leans towards bronze instead of red, but it blends my neck and chest seamlessly and is very natural looking. It’s a fine pressed powder, but with a strong pigment. There’s no fallout and you can brush it over your arms and legs for instant realistic colour.

The compact is huge (much easier to swirl your brush in) and it’s £34.00 for 21g at Feel Unique. That’s half the price for double the amount of Guerlain product. It doesn’t transfer onto white clothes either.

It’s only available in Light and Medium shades. I use 01 Light, which ironically seems more akin to a medium shade, yet suits my pale skin.

Unfortunately, it’s getting harder to source and I suspect Estée Lauder might be phasing this one out because they’ve introduced new bronzer compacts with wider colour variations (no bad thing) and a hint of glow.


I use the Lily Lolo Super Kabuki Buffer Brush for application. Made specifically for their mineral powder, it is hands down the best kabuki brush out there. Super-soft synthetic bristles, but densely packed at the base, it actually picks up powder instead of kicking up fine dust. It’s really lovely to use.

Even though it’s called ‘super’ it’s relatively small for a kabuki brush at just over 7cm in length, so takes a little getting used to.

It washes well and keeps its shape – and the biggie, it has never shed a hair. I wouldn’t pay huge money for a kabuki brush, you don’t know how they’ll wash or if they shed until you use them.

My only complaint is that I have to keep it in the original cardboard box to prevent the bristles from splaying and the box is looking a tad gnarly now.

Lily Lolo Super Kabuki Brush


Tan-Luxe Super Glow Body Hyaluronic Self-Tan Serum 30ml £30.60 Look Fantastic * Price drop from £35.00.

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Bronzing Powder 21g £34.00 Feel Unique *

Lily Lolo Super Kabuki Brush £16.50 Feel Unique *

*Affiliate links

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