Summer’s a hot topic right now (see what I did there?). But seriously – some of us live for the feeling of the sun on our skin, while others among us yearn for the temperatures to drop to jumper-wearing and candle-lighting lows. I’d say I’m a bit of both: as renewed and joyful as I feel in Autumn, I’m a July baby whose mood can be greatly lifted by the rise of a few degrees. Lazing in the park, on a beach, or in a pub garden with a cold beer in hand are three of my favourite ways to bask in the heat.
One thing I don’t like about summer, though, is the way that the usual expectations of what we should look like seem to intensify, rising with the heat until they’ve reached dizzyingly unattainable heights. For example: as someone who can count the times she shaves over winter on one hand, I resent all of a sudden being expected to be smooth and hairless every day. Factoring additional time into my morning routine so that I can prep and preen is a bit of a bore; getting my skin ready to bare in this season is that bit more hassle than normal, not least if I’m considering slapping on some fake tan.
I’ve touched on my conflicted feelings around tanning before. This summer is the first time I’ve felt less insistent on “getting a tan,” as if it’s some sort of status marker without which I can’t do the season justice. Instead, I’ve been trying my hardest to stay cool and safe in the shade, where I can enjoy being outdoors for much longer. I’m not here to shame anyone who loves getting bronzed; I’d be lying if I said that the sun-kissed look doesn’t still have its appeal. For me, now, it’s all about balance; finding a sun-safe tanning product that doesn’t monopolise my mornings or make me feel like I’m folding to society’s warped beauty standards. And I think I may have found one.
After trying their Sun Drops last year, I was keen to test out some other tanning products from cruelty-free and vegan-friendly brand, Tropic Skin Care. I catch the sun quickly on my arms and back, leading to all sorts of amusing tan marks (if I’m not careful). Where I don’t catch any colour nearly as easily is my legs, so it made all the sense to give Tropic’s Instant Glow Perfecting Leg Serum* a whirl.
This seems like a good time to say that nobody’s legs – thin, fat, dimpled, veined, scarred, or otherwise – need perfecting. Far too often in skincare and cosmetics, products are promoted as cures for a seemingly endless list of flaws. Flaws are fickle: they change over time and through cultures and societies, and the less we pay attention to anyone telling us we ought to do something about our perceived imperfections, the happier we will be in our own skin.
Instant Glow is a tinted serum which “hydrates, protects and evens skin tone.” Coffee butter and vitamins c and e keep legs silky smooth, while gold mica particles add a luminous shimmer. It smells like summer in a bottle – the salty-sweet scent of sand, sea and sun on skin. One pump of liquid bronze per leg does suffice, though you can layer up to a deeper tan if you like. Just make sure you check the weather report first: I’ve been warned on good authority that, as with most tanning products, this doesn’t do well in the rain.
After years of faffing around with gradual tanners, and having never taken the leap to try a spray or mousse tan, I’m delighted to have found a product as easy to apply as this one. While you do have to act rather quickly to avoid getting into a mess, Instant Glow blends out to a smooth and even finish. It starts off as a highly pigmented serum, before its consistency changes to that of a very light cream, which you rub into your legs as you would any other moisturiser, though I tend to avoid drier areas such as my ankles and knees. The result is a very natural, sun-kissed boost for the skin, which takes mere moments to achieve.
As it’s 99.2% naturally derived, Instant Glow – along with all Tropic Skin Care products – carries a best before date. Seeing as this one is good until December 2018, I’m happy to know I’ll get another summer out of it, as well as what’s left of this season. For a city-dwelling gal with no trips to the sea planned for this year, Instant Glow has given me – and my pins – that irresistible summer feeling, quickly and cruelty-freely to boot.
*This post was not sponsored, but I did not have to pay for these products