Love it: James Read Coconut Melting Tanning Balm

A few years ago when I was visiting London, a very respected makeup artist friend gave me some sample bottles of his favourite self-tanning products – James Read Tan. He's an incredibly fussy sort so I knew they would be good, just how good pretty much blew my mind.
James Read himself is a self made "tantrepreneur" whose products now regularly sell out on Net-a-Porter and whose skill at creating honey hued limbs is legendary. The go-to guy whenever a celebrity or model needs to take the pallor out of her skin, Read’s client list reads like a Who’s Who of the red carpet, from Mariah Carey to Lady Gaga and Lara Stone. It was inevitable that he would go on to create his own self tanning range, and in 2012 it launched in the UK and in 2015 Down Under thanks to Mecca Cosmetica. Hurrah! 
"I have dreamed of having my own product range from the very first day I started working in the self-tanning industry 11 years ago," he told UK Vogue back at the time of the James Read Tan collection’s release. "I wanted to create a range of luxury products that give the skin a natural, healthy-looking colour, but also protect the wellbeing of the skin by using anti-ageing ingredients in the formulations."
Read worked on the range - which includes fragrance-free liquid, gradual and wash-off tans, as well as an innovative gradual tanning pen - for two years, with the help of former Vogue beauty director Anna-Marie Solowij and her business partner Simon Turnbull. The end result is a carefully curated collection of essentials that are beautifully formulated, highly effective and – most importantly – super easy to use. Read has formulated his products with conditioning ingredients to suit every skin tone in one universal shade, and the possibilities really are endless.
The company is always revealing incredible new innovations, the latest of which is a deliciously moisturising Coconut Melting Tanning Balm. The first of its kind, the balm melts upon contact with the skin to create a natural golden tan. Enriched with 100 per cent organic coconut oil, it is the company’s most natural tan yet, and an absolute winner for those with drier skin like me. There is no need to moisturise like mad and then wash it all off prior to application as the organic coconut oil in the formula gives your skin all the nourishment it needs, and the patented Tantone Technology™ ensures the most natural result for your skin tone. 
As with any self tanner, it is recommended that you exfoliate thoroughly prior to application, and wear the gloves supplied to avoid any staining on the palms. Open the pot and using the spatula provided, give the balm a really good stir to soften. Continue stirring until the balm is smooth, thick and creamy. Then, carefully scoop a little of the creamy balm into the palm of the hand and apply to the skin. Starting at the ankles and working your way up, apply to the body in circular motions. The balm will transform into a super-hydrating oil upon contact with the skin, then leave it to develop for 6-8 hours. 
Over summer it is recommended that you keep the product in the fridge, and if it’s too firm to use let it soften in a bowl of warm water before you get your stir on. Easy, and the end result is subtle but really quite magnificent! 
James Read Coconut Melting Tanning Balm has an RRP of $58.00 and is available at


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