How to get a natural glow with gradual tan

AD: This post is in conjunction with Palmer’s. 

Applying and maintaining a fake tan is no quick process as anyone who lives that fake-tan-life will attest. If you you do want to go whole-hog fake tan then this takes a time investment that isn’t for everyone (present company included). But that’s not to say I don’t appreciate a bit of an artificial glow. As someone who has not been blessed with the natural tanning ability, it’s either fake it or accept the pale life.

natural glow gradual tan

Over the years I have dabbled in fake tanning to different levels. From the in-salon full body type, to the latest and greatest of innovations with clear formulas, in shower and all that. The thing I come back to time and time again is the gradual tan. I am a huge fan of the gradual tan and I want to tell you why and share a few tips on how I get a subtle natural glow with gradual tan.

The biggest ‘selling point’ of a gradual tan is the ease of application. But don’t let that be too misleading and lull you into a false sense of security. Yes, it’s quick and easy but you still need to take some time to get it right and avoid fake tan fails such as tanned palms or dark patches on elbows.

The other plus of a gradual tan is that it’s nicely hydrating. So where a ‘full’ fake tan is tan only and you can often feel that skin needs added moisturiser – that you can’t apply until the tan has developed for risk of spoiling the colour – gradual tan ticks this box with tan and moisture in one. This is something the Palmer’s range is especially good at as moisturising is pretty much their ‘thing’ so you know your skin is going to just drink it up.

natural glow with gradual tan

The Palmer’s range includes two gradual tan products. The Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula with Vitamin E Natural Bronze Body Lotion and the Palmer’s Coconut Oil Formula with Vitamin E Natural Bronze Body Lotion. Both offer the same 24 hour moisture and gradual tan benefits for all skin types. Which product is for you will purely be down to personal preference (which in this case is most likely to be the scent of the product). Personally i’m a total sucker for the coconut range so this is my preference of the two but they both feel really lovely and indulgent to use and deliver a great natural colour. So it really is just down to your personal choice.

How to get a natural glow with gradual tan: TIPS

  • Prep like you’re going to do a full fake tan: Ok, so this bit might sound labour intensive but it’s worth doing, especially if you’re post winter hibernation and your skin needs a bit of TLC.
  • SCRUB UP: When it comes to prep the best thing is a good old body scrub. Palmer’s have two great options, the Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Natural Cocoa Body Scrub (with crushed cocoa beans and shea butter) or the Palmer’s Coconut Oil Formula Coconut Sugar Body Scrub. Again, choice is down to personal preference. I would say the Coconut Sugar Scrub is a slightly finer scrub and works perfectly for pre-tan in my opinion. FYI as per usual with Palmer’s, they both smell good enough to eat! (don’t actually try this at home kids…)

Oh and with the scrub, apply this to dry skin not wet for the full scrubby-goodness effect!

  • Pop some moisturiser on your key dry bits: Think elbows, knees, backs of heels, hands and around your feet.
  • Apply the gradual tan. Be thorough with it and make sure you don’t miss any spots. It isn’t tinted so there’s no guide but if in doubt apply all over then apply again and make sure you rub in properly.
  • WASH YOUR HANDS! This is pretty important, as a gradual tan – whilst more subtle – still has that all important tanning effect. So give your hands a wash (top tip, use the scrub from previous steps to make sur you really make sure you’re not ending up with tanned hands – pay special attention to the folds between fingers and dryer areas around your nails).
natural glow with gradual tan

Once you have your base colour this is where gradual tan comes into it’s own and is SO easy to maintain. I tend to apply gradual tan maybe every other day at first to build it up and then drop to every few days or even once a week. Then if I ever want to properly refresh I’ll have a scrub and remove it and start again fresh. The Palmer’s Gradual Tan range is also an excellent want to top up either a ‘full’ fake tan and keep it lasting or maintain a natural glow from a Summer holiday. Not that I’d know what that’s like as a naturally pale skinned shade dweller who mostly covers myself in SPF50 on holiday!

AD: This post is in conjunction with Palmer’s. 

How to get a natural glow with gradual tan pin


    • Jen
      May 17, 2019 / 3:20 pm

      Same, I’ve hopped between the two for ages but the gradual definitely feels more natural!

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