I Never Sit in the Sun, But These Gradual Tan Products Keep Me Looking Bronzed

There is nothing I love more than sunbathing. I’m ashamed to admit it, but it’s true. The feeling of joy that I get as I lie outside sipping on a cooling spritz as my skin soaks up all of the vitamin D truly can’t be beaten. And boy have I taken advantage of every minute of sun that’s come my way over the years. However, about a year ago, as I hit my mid-20s, years of sun damage started to catch up with me. I started to notice creping on my forehead, pigmentation across my cheeks and spider veins on my nose, and I knew why. 

From then onward, I refuse to sit in the sun for prolonged periods of time, and for the few minutes I do sit out, you better believe I’ve slathered every inch of exposed skin in SPF 50. The problem with this is, however, that I love being tanned. In fact, when I’m not looking my most bronzed and sun-kissed, I really don’t feel like myself. And this causes issues, especially considering I’m really not a huge lover of fake tan.


(Image credit: @LUCYWILLIAMS02)

Don’t get me wrong. As much as I love the feeling I get when looking in the mirror after I have applied fake tan (Bondi Sands Aero, I love you), the fuss and hassle of applying super-dark formulas is just too much. Luckily for me, over the past year or so, the number of products that aim to deliver a natural-looking, bronzing glow with minimal fuss has skyrocketed.

A far cry from the famous Johnson & Johnson Holiday Skin gradual tanning lotion of yesteryear, new and improved formulas contain a whole host of seriously impressive skincare ingredients and leave behind a subtle, yet convincing, golden glow. So for the gradual tan products I use to help keep my tan (and spirits) topped up all year round, keep scrolling.

Next up, this bodycare range is my secret to soft skin, and it smells unbelievable

Freelance Beauty Editor

Shannon Lawlor is a renowned beauty journalist and has contributed to Who What Wear’s beauty content since 2020. As a leading beauty editor, expert and brand consultant, she has over eight years of experience working for some of the industry’s most esteemed titles, including Who What Wear (of course), Glamour UK, Stylist, Refinery29 and Fabulous. Having also worked behind the scenes with some of the industry’s biggest brands and retailers, Shannon has a unique insight into what people really want from their beauty routines. Understanding that beauty lovers seek honest, open and responsible advice, she has it made her mission to demystify the intimidating world of beauty, taking a no-frills approach to the most relatable topics. While Shannon is the first to admit she doesn’t hold the answer to every beauty question out there, she is dedicated to sharing her expert insights in a bid to help. As a self-proclaimed lazy girl, Shannon has an affinity for easy-to-use, foolproof beauty products and has made it her mission to scope out the best of the best. When she’s not working, Shannon is likely soaking in the bath or giving no-holds-barred beauty reviews on Instagram from her bathroom floor.