Now you can paint away your blemishes: Hate stinky, streaky fake tan? The new body make-up creates flawless skin without the faff. CLAIRE COLEMAN puts the best to the test

  • UK retailers are seeing an increase in the demand for body make-up products 
  • Make-up artist Amanda Harrington, says makes sense with changeable weather
  • Claire Coleman puts some of the best-selling products on the market to the test

You can’t really blame us for not being prepped for summer after what seemed like the grimmest May in years.

But now that the sun has finally turned up, fashion is all about shorter skirts, sleeveless tops and generally much more flesh on display… which can be something of a shock to the system for limbs that haven’t seen the light of day for months on end.

Yes, you could go for a fake tan, but often it requires a fair amount of prep, a full-body head-to-toe treatment and hours to develop — all of which is not much help when, exactly five minutes before you walk out the door, you realise your legs could do with a dash of colour.

Step forward the increasingly popular body make-up — which is, exactly as the name suggests, designed to do for your body what cosmetics do for your face.

Claire Coleman puts a selection of the best-selling body make-up products on the market to the test – including Charlotte Tilbury Supermodel Body (pictured) 

There are concealers, foundations and highlighters, all of which don’t just disguise the grey or milk-bottle pallor, but can actually subtly skim over anything from bruises to thread veins, and give a hint of muscular definition.

Furthermore, they require next to no prep, can be applied in seconds, demand very little skill — if you can apply make-up to your face, you can apply it to your body — and come with zero risk of smelling like stale biscuits (a common complaint about fake tan) or ending up with orange palms or streaks that won’t fade for days.

No wonder retailers are seeing a boom in these types of cosmetics.

‘We’ve had a lot of body glow and highlighter-style body products selling very well recently,’ says Alexia Inge, founder of beauty e-tailer Cult Beauty. ‘This seems to be a growing category for us, not just in terms of the number of products, but in terms of the volume we’re selling, with sales of them up 31 per cent in the past year.’

Celebrity make-up artist Amanda Harrington is a huge advocate of using colour on your body in the way you would on your face. She applies a range of tinted products with body brushes, and also thinks it’s perfectly acceptable to only colour the bits you can see.

‘It’s quicker than going for head-to-toe colour and makes so much more sense if the weather is changeable,’ she says.

She also likes to use light and shade to sculpt the body. ‘You can get extra definition by stippling more product under the collarbones to make that area darker,’ she says. ‘Similarly, if you apply more colour around your biceps or triceps, you can create the illusion of more defined muscles. Just make sure you blend well.’

Fancy giving the body make-up trend a go? We put some of the best-selling products on the market through their paces…


Charlotte Tilbury Supermodel Body, £45,

this highlighter, which has a roller-head applicator, is what beauty guru Charlotte Tilbury calls her ‘celebrity limb’ trick.

The idea is that by applying it down the middle of your legs or arms, you get a glossy glow that tricks the brain into thinking your limbs are longer and slimmer than they are. It can be used to highlight the decolletage, too.

It won’t cover anything up, but gives a nice finish to skin, even if it doesn’t add any colour.

Verdict: Adds shine, but I need colour, too. 3/5


Vita Liberata Body Blur Instant HD Skin Finish, from £17.97, thefragrance

Claire said Vita Liberata Body Blur Instant HD Skin Finish (pictured) is like applying a filter to your skin 

This comes in a range of shades and does more than just add colour. It’s a bit like applying a filter to your skin, or wearing very sheer stockings, as it really seems to blur any scars, veins or similar. And once it’s on, it’s on. A bit of colour may rub off on the inside of clothes, but it needs soap and warm water to remove, so there’s no streaking.

Verdict: It’s cult for a reason. 5/5


Vieve Skin Dew, £19,

Claire said Vieve Skin Dew (pictured) creates a gorgeous, glassy finish 

Similar to the Charlotte Tilbury product, this is a liquid shimmer that works on any skin tone to give you a sleek, wet effect — that just stepped out of a pool in St Tropez look.

Make-up artist Jamie Genevieve, who is behind the range, says she uses it ‘anywhere I want a lit-from-within look, including cheeks, brow bone, Cupid’s bow and collar bones.’ It won’t hide much, but it will give you a glow.

Verdict: It creates a gorgeous, glassy finish. 4/5


Estee Lauder Double Wear Maximum Cover Camouflage Makeup for Face and Body SPF 15, £34.50,

Claire said Estee Lauder Double Wear Maximum Cover Camouflage Makeup for Face and Body SPF 15 (pictured) is excellent at covering bruises, pigmentation and even tattoos 

While many products help to disguise any skin blemishes, if you want something more heavy duty, then this matte waterproof concealer is ideal.

The shade range could be better — just 16 colours, yet the iconic Double Wear foundation comes in more than 60. But if you find one that suits you, it’s excellent at covering bruising, pigmentation, and even tattoos.

Verdict: Not great for large areas but good at what it does. 4/5


Fenty Beauty Body Sauce Body Luminizing Tint, £40,

Claire said Fenty Beauty Body Sauce Body Luminizing Tint (pictured) is ideal for instant colour

Available in an impressive seven shades, this body tint from pop star Rihanna’s hugely successful beauty range promises ‘lightweight all-over glow’ and ‘instant body blur’.

I couldn’t fault it on the colour — don’t panic, it comes out looking darker than it ends up, but you do have to rub it in quite vigorously. The Salty Caramel shade left me looking as if I’d spent three weeks in Barbados, while Agave Spice was more two weeks in Santorini.

The hint of shimmer means even if you go for a shade that exactly matches your skin, you’ll get that skin-finishing effect, but I didn’t think it had quite the same blurring effects as the Vita Liberata one.

Verdict: Ideal for instant colour and a great shade range. 4.5/5


Beauty Pie Awesome Bronze Luxe Shimmer Oil Body Balm, £50 or £14.86 for members, (from June 16)

Claire said Beauty Pie Awesome Bronze Luxe Shimmer Oil Body Balm (pictured) is a luxe body cream to enhance skin 

You can imagine slathering on this body cream, which looks like an iridescent chocolate mousse, after a day on the beach or by the pool. Lightweight but moisturising with a vanilla-y, coconut-y scent that transports you to a far-flung island, it leaves skin feeling soft, thanks to ingredients designed to attract moisture to the skin.

There’s a hint of colour — though not loads — and a slight shimmer that is more subtle than the glitter of other products I tried.

Verdict: A luxe body cream to enhance skin — but only a touch of colour. 3/5


This Works Perfect Legs Skin Protector SPF 30, £40,

Claire said This Works Perfect Legs Skin Protector SPF 30 (pictured) protects while also giving colour 

One of the biggest issues with applying make-up to your skin to make it look like you’ve been in the sun, then actually going out into the sun, is that when you wash the make-up off, you’re likely to look red rather than golden, thanks to sunburn.

Ideally you’d do the same as you do with your face and apply sun protection before applying the make-up, but this clever spray offers the best of all worlds.

It’s a broad-spectrum sun cream that’s tinted, meaning you can spritz and go, knowing you’re both tanned and protected. It looks very dark when you first apply it, but rubs in easily, leaving a very subtle wash of colour.

Verdict: Protects while giving colour, and easy to reapply. 4/5


Patrick Ta Major Glow Body Oil, £48,

Claire said Patrick Ta Major Glow Body Oil (pictured) is too glitzy for every day, but fun

Available in three shades — a pale champagne, a warm rose, and a deep bronze — this spray-on oil feels moisturising but not too greasy.

Simply spritz on, then either rub it in by hand or buff it in with a large brush. Developed by a make-up artist who counts supermodels Bella and Gigi Hadid and the Kardashians among his clients, he says this is the last step he uses on celebrities before sending them down the red carpet.

You can see how the glittery sheen it gives would attract the cameras. Subtle it is not — it has quite a heavy, sweet fragrance, and it’s also very definitely glitter rather than shimmer. One for evenings out, rather than every day.

Verdict: Too glitzy for every day, but fun. 3/5 

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