After a run of quite serious facial tanning disasters, I have found a version that leaves a smooth and flawless tint. I was apprehensive about Charlotte Tilbury’s new Overnight Bronze & Glow Mask after some of my more recent – patchy – experiences with tanners, but it has delivered brilliant results three times out of three. A believable, non-orange tan that’s streak-free and doesn’t smell of biscuits.
As regular readers will know, my face-fake-tan of choice is Hylamide Glow, a watery serum that can be applied neat beneath moisturiser or added in drops to your face cream. It gradually adds a hint of colour to the skin (though if you apply it neat, as I do, the results are bigger and faster) and it is virtually foolproof. I think because the product is so light and absorbs so quickly there’s no chance for any residue to migrate to susceptible streaking areas, or sweat off in patches.
And I do think that’s what happens with a lot of facial tanners – it’s not so much the user’s application technique that fails them, it’s the fact that they go to sleep or sit up staring at their iPhone for hours, and the product melts and gathers and sets in odd places. Take last week, for example, when I applied the new Dior Bronze Self-Tanning Jelly; a beautiful, fresh texture and pleasant smell, but I woke up with a dark brown patch under my chin (probably from where I’d had my neck bent over scrolling through my iPhone before bed) and a weird streak at my temple where I think I sweated in the night (nice) and the tanner pooled and developed in its new home.
Anyway, no problems with the Overnight Bronze & Glow Mask: it was my third use last night, and I didn’t have any of my usual sense of trepidation. I normally have to keep fake tan testing to evenings when I know that I have absolutely no reason to leave the house the next day, just in case I wake up looking like a patchy potato, but I seem to have adopted the Charlotte Tilbury Mask into my trusted products inner circle.
I was apprehensive about the “mask” element, mainly because when I think about masks, I think about that very neat application pattern that masks always display on their packaging – a perfect oval of product on the main part of the face, but avoiding the eyes and the hairline. Subconsciously, I think, the idea of a mask doesn’t gel well with the idea of a self-tanner, but there we go. Masks, especially overnight ones, are all the rage. But fear not: you apply this one just like a face cream, albeit more carefully, making sure you’ve covered all areas and blending well into the hairline and under the jaw. I actually take this tanner all the way down (and around) my neck, and onto the chest in the “v” that is usually on show once I’m dressed.
No streaks or patches and, miraculously, no weird smell. I mean there was a hint of it as my head hit the pillow, but I was really tuned into sniffing for that biscuity aroma, knowing that this post was in the making, and I don’t think that a normal (non-obsessed) person would notice any sort of odd scent whatsoever.
The result after one application is – for me, at least – a beautiful, low-key bronze. It’s noticeable but not so much that you do a double-take in the mirror as you blearily do your morning ablutions. Just glowy and summery and perked-up, which is exactly how I want to look first thing.
This stuff isn’t cheap at all – £38 a tube – but for even, trustworthy results it’s worth the splurge. You don’t need a separate moisturiser beneath it (though I used a hydrating serum) and it can be built up to a darker tan over a number of nights if you want a deeper colour. Find it at Cult Beauty here* or – if you want something infinitely more cost effective – the Hylamide Glow is £20 here*.