If you like the idea of using a self-tanner but find them a little daunting
you may be intrigued or perhaps you want a light natural looking tan
or to help pro-long an existing tan?
Well gradual tanners or summer/holiday lotions could be your ideal product.

Basically gradual tanners are body lotions that moisturise 
and add a light bronze tint to the skin which you can build up over the week
or as often as you see fit depending on the deepness of tan you require.
In my experience they are not tinted with a guide colour so I do advise using a tanning mitt
but as they are not as extreme as a normal self tanner streaks are far less noticeable.
Gradual tanners are great to add a light colour to the skin
and you would really have to layer them on to end up anywhere near orange.
If you choose to a gradual tanner before going to bed I do advise sleeping in old sleep wear
that way you avoid staining but in my experience that has yet to happen!

Most gradual tanners come in at least two options - light to medium and medium to dark
some will come in fair, medium and dark so choose accordingly.
I do advise if you are nervous going for the lightest possible option for your skin tone
until you are comfortable with the results and process.
For reference I am naturally (no self tanner and no sunbathing) an NC37 in MAC
and tend to use the medium option or the medium to dark,
which roughly bronzes me to about two shades deeper.

I have selected the four best known gradual tanners on the UK High Street 
and trailed them all, some more than others I have been using the Dove version
for about four years, the others I have dabbled on and off with for over a year too
with the exception of which I was introduced to a few months back.

Dove Summer Glow
I will put my hands high in the air and admit that this my all time favourite gradual tanner.
It is a thick lotion that almost border lines cream in consistency and has a lovely scent,
that does not turn to the nasty scent that I often associate with self tanners.
Dove is really moisturising and applies really evenly, the end result is about 1-2 shades deeper
than my natural skin colour that lasts for around 5 days before fading completely.
When fading it does fade evenly and requires little up keep - I apply this on a Sunday
and maybe top it up on a Wednesday if I can be bothered.
The only downside I have notices with this product is that it does take quite a while to sink in
and fully dry, personally I blame the thickness of the lotion!

Johnson's Holiday Skin
If I remember correctly this was the first tanner of this type to hit the UK market?
I'm pretty sure they marketed it with a slogan about being jealous of all those who naturally have Olive skin
and how this lotion could mimic it and be your little secret? No idea why I recall this but I do haha!
This is my least favourite the scent reminds me of baby wipes and it dries really oddly,
in the creases of your body (elbow bends, behind your knees etc) it flakes 
and crumbles off before it dries fully so you end up with pale patches.
It is a really odd experience to describe but it has happened to me a good few times with various bottles
so I have come to the conclusion it is the formula and not a bad bottle!
If you can get this variation to apply and dry evenly the end result is nice enough
but a little lighter in result than say Dove making it a more natural choice in colour stakes.

Garnier SummerBody
This is the one that has most of the beauty world divided - some love it, some loathe it!
Those that loathe it do have good reason to, I have seen that it caused a nasty rash on some
so I do not recommend this if you have sensitive skin or anything at all of that nature.
Personally I really like it, it smells yummy like apricots and is more of a lotion than the other tanners.
For that reason application is quicker and so is the drying time - crucial when you are chilly!
Much like the Dove version this gives a result of around 2 shades deeper than natural skin tone
what I will say is that it is slightly more golden in colour than most so I would use this sparingly
to avoid the tan turning orange after a few applications.
If using this one I apply it maybe every third day and have encountered no problems
be it fading uneven or turning orange.

L'Oreal NutriSummer Lotion
This is the my newest adventure in the world of self tanners and it is now my second choice
after the Dove option, it would be my favourite had it not been that I have found it hard to source!
The others I have mentioned are readily available in Drug stores, Supermarkets 
and if you arelucky the pound shop from time to time.
But L'Oreal NutriSummer is slightly harder to pick up with me resorting to buying online via Superdrug,
in my experience Supermarkets don't carry it neither does my local Boots or Superdrug.
That aside this is the perfect consistency not to thick but not too thin meaning it glides on
the skin and dries really quickly, it is moisturising with a pleasant smell
and produces a natural tan of around 2 shades deeper than your natural skin tone.
It also has no issues in terms of fading or colour tone.

I hope this post was helpful?

Do you use any gradual tanners if so which ones?