Beauty Finds

Beauty Test Drive: How to Get a Faux Golden Glow

Go for gold with one of our favourite commitment-free sunless tanners

Heather Marks in the March 2011 issue; Photo by Max Abadian

Heather Marks in the March 2011 issue; Photo by Max Abadian

Nothing complements white like a summer tan, but the price of a natural glow—i.e. skin cancer, leathery texture, wrinkles and sun spots—isn’t worth it. Choose a sunless tanner instead. There are many on the market that give the effect of the real deal without streaking, patchiness or a scary orange tone, and there are several different formulations depending on need. Going out for the night and want a quick hit of colour? Choose a tanner that adds warmth instantly and deepens over a couple of hours. Hoping for a more gradual glow that’s virtually foolproof? Look for a moisturizer that will create a tan over a few days. These two brands, which have a range of products, are our go-tos:


Jergens Natural Glow 3 Days to Glow Moisturizer, $13, at mass market retailers.

For those that are fair, a gradual moisturizer is a safe bet. Jergens has two shades (fair to medium and medium to tan) that impart golden colour that builds the more you apply (but will never reach ultra dark). Be sure to exfoliate well before application and, once the three days are up, reapply every couple of days to maintain the colour. The downside is that it requires a lot of product for upkeep—you have to apply the moisturizer on every part of your body (including tops of feet, hands and the back of the neck) several times a week to maintain the colour, which can get pricey. On the upside: Your skin will be so soft that you won’t have to slather yourself in extra body creams, though you’ll still need sunscreen. Natural Glow Face Daily Moisturizer SPF 20, $13 (major bonus points for sun protection!) was formulated specifically for the face. Apply daily to keep skin even from top to toe and don’t forget to wash your hands and wrists afterwards!


St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse, $38/4 oz. and Tan Applicator Mitt, $8,

Use St. Tropez if you want results fast. The foamy mousse, which smells a little like Mexican hot chocolate, is a deep brown and immediately tans the skin. So long as you don’t miss any patches, it will look even and not at all streaky. The result is a little darker than Jergens and using an applicator mitt is a must because the colour appears so quickly. The bronzing mousse is now available in a travel size, $23, and St. Tropez’s new dark line (a mousse, lotion and spray) is in select salons and spas now.

To enhance your tan and make it gleam, apply a shimmering oil before going out. Also, Nars’ summer collection has a killer lip gloss called Paris Follies ($30, that’s the perfect hue to go with a golden skin tone. The gloss is a little sticky, but the colour payoff—a warm watermelon shade—is amazing and stays in place for a long time. Two other hues we love: Guerlain Maxi Shine Lip Gloss in Prune Zip 471, $34 at, and L’Oréal Colour Riche Caresse Shine Stain Lipcolour in Pink Resistance, $13, at mass market retailers.