Close Encounters of the Tanned Kind


As I scrubbed the final remnants of orange rustiness from off of my wrists last Monday, exhausted, I was forced to ask myself whether a fake tan was really worth all this effort?

The tell tale signs

With the spring season now upon us, inviting our pallid limbs to come revel in the sunlight, I am among those who feel it necessary to apply an undercoat of bronzer to pasty legs, so as to avoid dazzling any innocent passerby.

However, the choice of product can strongly influence the success of your bogus suntan, not to mention your level of dedication to the prescribed steps of exfoliating and moisturising in the week prior to application, as I found out. What’s more, picking the most effective blend has become quite a problematic task thanks to the wide-spread variety of self tanning concoctions on the market today, ranging from aerosol sprays to tanning towlettes. In spite of this, the beauty of applying fake tan yourself is that you can develop the shade according to your personal taste, be it a light honey or a burnt sienna, minus the need to sit in the garden for hours.

Then again, many fake tanners are aware that the consequences of painting on one too many layers can lead to associations with Geordie Shore-esque stereotypes and worse. Even the Middleton sisters were criticised for overdoing the spray tan at the Royal Wedding last April. The view that anyone with an orange skin tone is ‘common’, and that ‘faking it’ is merely hiding your true self, is still popular on several student forums too; yet this ignores the fact that natural tans are generally more harmful health-wise owing to the damaging affect of UV rays on skin, though this depends on the quantity and intensity of SPF lotions you use. My housemates agreed that as long as a self tan is not noticeably phony, it can reinforce a person’s attractiveness, and not act as a human repellent, though they would not want one themselves.

I have to confess that, despite the odd smells and hassle of waiting for the stickiness to dry, I love having a sun kissed glow, shop-bought or not, evoking thoughts of summer and holidays, in addition to its slimming effect. So, here are some pointers on tanning treatments…

  • For the most natural look, I thoroughly recommend a beauty salon St Tropez spray tan, a similar quality to the Fake Bake brand, which cost me £18 in my home town and lasted just under two weeks. On the downside, there is the awkwardness of stripping down to paper knickers with a complete stranger, but it was definitely worth it for the number of times people would ask where I had been on holiday, and once, to my great pleasure, if I was Italian.
  • Nonetheless, if your budget does not stretch to this, there are some very efficient DIY sprays, such as Ambre Solaire Dry Face Mist (£8.49 for 75ml, Superdrug), which I have used for my body as well and provides a seamless, lovely golden colour.
  • However, streakiness was not avoided with  Soltan Beautiful Bronze Self-Tan Mousse (£6.66 for 150ml, Boots), which exuded quite a strong odour, although I did enjoy smearing the foam  everywhere.
  •  In circumstances which require an immediate faux glow, I would recommend the trashiest looking creation, Rimmel Instant Tan Make Up Light Shimmer/Medium Matte(£5.99 for 125ml, Superdrug). This looks daunting when it first comes out the tube as a rich, dark brown goo but once you get blending your skin is transformed to an impressive bronze.
  • Johnson and Johnson Body Holiday Skin Light/Medium Tan (£5.06 for 250ml, Superdrug) never fails to please as the combination of moisturiser and self tan aids a smoother, longer lasting coverage.
  • And above all, remember to wash your hands afterwards or wear gloves!

For more information on the ‘You’ve been tangoed’ look, check out:

The future's bright, the future's...



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