After years and years of being beauty obsessed but shunning fake tanning products for fear of looking like a streaky bit of driftwood (I’m aware how strangely specific that is, but whenever I see badly applied tan, that’s what I think of! Also, Streaky Driftwood; band name…?) I’ve finally caved in recently and jumped feet first into the world of self-tanning, and it’s safe to say I’m a convert. I’ve been trying out lots of different products recently, but a few firm favourites have been found in the He-Shi range, a line of effective, kindly formulated and easy to use products for before, during and after tanning. I’ve got a few products from the range, so I thought I’d talk you through them and point out my essentials.
First up are the products that actually tan, of which I have three; the Overnight Ageless Tanning Balm, the Day to Day Gradual Tan and the Express Liquid Tan. The Overnight Ageless Tanning Balm is the product that really made me take note of the brand as it’s such a star product. As the name suggests, it’s a very moisturising, overnight product that allows you to wake with a beautiful and very natural, glowy tan. Whilst it’s colourless – so you’ll need to be extra careful with application – it blends like a dream and I reach for this the most out of all my tanning products. I use it on my face and neck, although to make things really natural I have two pumps on the back of my hand; one with the product neat and one with the product mixed with a little bit of face cream. I then use the neat product on the places where my face usually catches the sun and the mix everywhere else, as I find this gives a more natural, contoured finish. Having said that, I apply the other tan products neat all over and it’s still a good finish, just a bit more intense.
The Day to Day Gradual Tan is a great product for building up some subtle colour or maintaining an existing tan. It gives much more colour in a single use than other gradual tanners I’ve tried, so you will notice the difference after the first use. This is great if you’re like me and lack the commitment to apply a body product every night, as you only need to apply this every 2-3 nights to achieve and maintain a good colour. Be aware that this is still a fake tan, so you’ll need to be careful with dryer areas and wash your hands thoroughly after use.
The Express Liquid Tan is a dream to use as it contains a great, strong guide colour so you know exactly where you’ve applied it. If you’re afraid of fake tan then this is the product for you as it’s honestly so easy to work with – just make sure you pick up a mitt to use alongside it. This is a medium depth colour which can be layered up if you want a deeper finish. I apply this before bed and wake up to an impressive tan, although it can look a little scary before you’ve washed the guide colour off – I was working a bit of a one person Ebony and Ivory look on my feet this morning! The finish to this is very natural and a great colour all round.
Now on to the add-on products, starting with the Exfoliating Bodywash which is a great preparation product as it contains good scrubby bits alongside a foaming product, meaning you can work it around your body quite easily without the scrubby bits doing a runner. It isn’t absolutely essential for decent tanning – any good body scrub will suffice – but it is a good product.
The Souffle Moisturiser is something I’d advise using alongside your tanning products if you’re prone to dryness or dry patches. I have a lot of dry areas, so I do some careful prep before using fake tan as otherwise the colour can latch on to the dry bits and make them look really dark and obviously fake-tanned, so a bit of prep is definitely needed. A good body cream applied on to dry areas will work as a bit of a barrier for the tan, ensuring a more natural finish. Again, you don’t have to match the body cream to the brand of tanner, but I do find in this case that they’re usually formulated to work well alongside each other, so it doesn’t hurt, but it isn’t essential.
Finally something that is essential, which is the Tanning Mitt. I’ve tried a few mitts that aid tan application (literally you put this on, put the tan on the mitt and it not only applies product evenly, it also saves your hands from staining) with varying degrees of success but this one from He-Shi is extremely good – it’s thin and flexible with a sponge surface, which results in a nice and even application; so far this is the only mitt I’ve been comfortable enough to use on my faced as well as my body. It also washes up really well and is just an all-round great tanning mitt.
In this post here you can see the effects of the gradual tan (after one use) on my shoulders and the overnight face tanner on my face. The He-Shi Tanning range is available at Superdrug or online here – link – where there are some great value starter kits in the Offers page. Prices start at £4.75 for the Tanning Mitt and £21 for the Express Tanning Liquid, although if you just want to try one product, I’d recommend the Day to Day Gradual Tan for £15.50 which is fine for both the face and the body.