New Bronze Age

New Bronze Age

Getting a faux glow has never been easier with the next generation of bespoke self-tanners

Skin finishing is the new term that’s piquing the interest of the beauty industry experts. This phrase heralds a new phase of bronzing products that promise to take tanning to the next level. As with most skincare trends, this latest craze hails from Korea – a country that has garnered a reputation for producing ever more innovative and original products. But what exactly is skin finishing?

The purpose of a skin nisher is to give the skin a natural, beautiful-looking texture. Like BB and CC creams before them, skin nishers rst entered the beauty market primarily as products for the face but are now revolutionising the tanning industry thanks to innovative new formulas and application techniques that infuse skin with a fresh, healthy, natural-looking glow and add a new dimension to your colour application.

They cater for an ever-growing customer base who favour a prescriptive beauty approach tailored to their skin’s colour and speci c needs – something that’s particularly useful for self-tans where a believable-looking colour and an even application are the holy grail.


Jules Heptonstall, Global Ambassador for St. Tropez, who tops up the tans of celebrities Poppy Delevingne, Rita Ora and Millie Mackintosh, says it’s all part of a growing demand to look like the best version of ourselves, which may stem directly from social media. ‘The pressure to look awless and individual has never been so apparent. As well as achieving a golden glow, skin nishing is now about creating shade, depth and adding de nition to our frames – as well as highlighting, strobing, and blurring skin.’ In short, this new generation of skin nishers are to the body what illuminators and contouring products are to the face, enabling you to achieve an Instagram- ready look each and every time.

Not only that, a whole host of groundbreaking ingredients means some emerging formulas even boast the ability to disguise bruises, edit out thread veins and fade scars, and claim to counteract redness and uneven skin tones.

One magic ingredient that keeps cropping up is silicone, which is used to improve skin quality in the long term. Already a staple in foundations and facial primers, it creates a perfect lm over the skin to give the appearance of a smoother, plumper, awless surface. It’s so e ective that St. Tropez has included silicone in its recently launched Gradual Tan Tinted Everyday Body Lotion, £15, which according to Jules, ‘gives the impression of the wearer being more toned.’

As dehydrated skin can look dull, tired and prematurely aged, moisture is key to a awless nish. In response, the market has been ooded with oil-rich formulas that are better absorbed by the dermis, especially when applied to wet skin. Cue Sanctuary Wonder Body, £8, which is infused with grape seed oil to give the skin an intense hydration hit, for an extra-dewy appearance. In addition, it is packed with light di using mineral powders, which are also present in the latest o ering from This Works: Perfect Legs Sculpt & Sheen, £28. These light di using mineral powders work by cleverly catching the light and then re ecting it back o the body, giving the illusion of brighter, smoother skin. It e ectively works like a photographer’s light-board but in luxury moisturiser form. It’s also packed with vitamins A and C to rebuild cells with each application.

The popularity of skin nishers is partly due to its ability to deliver authentic colour, as many of them use natural colouring agents. A key ingredient in This Works Perfect Legs Sculpt & Sheen is caramel, while The Body Shop’s Honey Bronze Shimmering Dry Oil, £16, contains honey. James Read’s Sleep Mask Tan Body, £35, reacts to the skin’s own pH balance for a colour to atter your skin tone. Known in the business as an ‘intelligent tanner’, a similar product is St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse, £21, which, according to Heptonstall, ‘reacts with the tanner’samino acids to develop into a shade that is re ective of the individual.’

Some skin nishers claim to heal the skin too. Dermablend Body, £29.50, contains keratolytic salicylic acid to tackle body blemishes and was originally developed to be used by burns victims and those su ering with extreme scarring. This clever acid can help break down the build up of scar tissue and acts like an anti- in ammatory. It also contains a peach- tone pigment to calm and colour-correct redness. ‘The aim with skin nishing is not to make the skin look darker, it’s to enhance your natural colour,’ says Dermablend make-up artist Claire Ray. ‘Products like this cover everything from cellulite to spider veins, and looks like the wearer’s own skin, plus they are doing good behind the scenes.’ The only thing these wonder products don’t o er is protection against harmful UV rays. They’ll give the impression of long days spent in the sun, but they won’t defend you from it just yet.

Skin Finishing Superstars

1. BEST FOR ENGLISH ROSES Sanctuary Wonder Body, £8
2. BEST FOR FIRST TIMERS St. Tropez Gradual Tinted Tan, £15
3. BEST FOR DARKER SKIN TONES St. Moriz Fast Tan Fast Response Tanning Mist, £6.99
4. BEST FOR COVER UPS Vichy Laboratoires Dermablend Body, £29.50
5. BEST FOR NATURAL INGREDIENTS This Works Perfect Legs Sculpt & Shine, £28
6. BEST FOR GLAM FANS The Body Shop Honey Bronze Shimmering Dry Oil, £16
7. BEST FOR LOW-MAINTENANCE BEAUTY BUFFS James Read Sleep Mask Tan Body, £35
8. BEST FOR MAKE-UP JUNKIES Nars Liquid Laguna Bronzer, £28

Glow to go

PREP IS EVERYTHING: Shower, shave and exfoliate
to achieve the best possible base beforehand.

UV UP: Don’t forget to add an SPF to protect exposed skin from real-life sun rays.

GET YOUR MITT ON: Like a foundation brush,
a mitt will give you more control over colour

USE A FULL- LENGTH MIRROR: Don’t be shy, a
full-length mirror is a self-tanner’s best friend.

LESS IS MORE: Work in layers to build up colour bit by bit.
You can add but you can’t remove.

FINISHING TOUCHES: Post application, use a face wipe to
clean over your nails, between the ngers, wrists, palms, soles of the feet etc.

  • Words: Carly Hobbs

  • Photography: Rex Features