My favourite feeling in the whole world is having a tan… a bit like the H&M girls above but without the to-die-for body. However, even having that healthy colour and glow makes me feel so much more confident. The tan stream lines the body and instantly makes me feel slimmer, as the light is absorbed by dark skin rather than reflected off your previous paler skin. White clothes look whiter, black looks sexier and bold colours can’t even be worn without a tan. My eyes are greener, those little marks I acquired from naughtily squeezing winter blemishes fade and generally my face is flushed with radiance… oh PLEASE JUST HURRY UP SUMMER!
From that little outburst you can imagine that come October despite all my best attempts to moisturise and cling on to the last of my summer colour, I fall into the depths of depression and urgently need to take action. Since recent statistics on the alarming facts of sun beds (using a sunbed before the age of 35 can increase your risk of melanoma by 75%, see http://www.sunsmart.org.uk/advice-and-prevention/sunbeds/ for more info) I have stopped even the very few I did a year and have invested in several fake tans to achieve a better, safer, bronzed glow. It’s actually a lot more fun too; I love going to bed and waking up like an excited child to see the results!
There are some very simple techniques in order to wake up to as a bronzed glamazon rather than a patchy satsuma. I personally believe, that getting the application right is half the battle. All fake tans essentially do the same job, it just comes down to preference and colour. For example, I still maintain that St Tropez offer the best and most real looking colour out there. However, there are also some great cheaper alternatives, which I have seen great results from.
There is a girl at work (RW) who like me, lives to be tanned. She in fact was my inspiration for this blog, as I started to realise that there are others out there who sink into a completely irrational state of depression when their skin takes a pale turn for the worst. She has an all year round permanent colour, because like myself, she sees it as a fundamental beauty basic. Being the sensible and savvy girl she is, she point blank refuses to use sun beds and in fact was the one to recommended St Tropez praising it for its colour. Being the fake tan guru she is she also offered some great tips for an even colour which I have included in the step-by-step guide.
Step-by-Step Application Guide
My mother knows a thing or two about re-upholstering old pieces of wooden junk and turning them into glorious pieces of furniture. I found myself one Sunday afternoon drawing comparisons between this and my fake tan ritual. In order to get the perfect fake tan, you need to metaphorically follow the same simple steps she does. Sand, stain and polish.
So most people know that the golden rule to a good tan is exfoliation. Follow the simple steps for exfoliating in Winter Skin so that your skin is nicely prepped for your ‘staining’ process, making sure that you have towel dried your body thoroughly. Unlike most advice, at this stage of the prepping, RW advised me NOT to moisturise as she argues that it makes the skin too greasy and less able to absorb the fake tan. I hesitantly put this to the test (I hate breaking tradition) and was actually pleasantly surprised to see an overall better and even colour.
The most vital tip out of all the fake tanning advice I have acquired is invest in a mitt. For as little as £2.99 you can find one of these beauties in all good shops (Superdrug, Boots etc) and you won’t believe the difference it makes. Firstly it hides the mother of all fake tan giveaways, ompah loompa orange hands. Secondly, it allows you to evenly spread the product over a large surface area. I begin by pumping a few squirts of fake tan onto the mitt and evenly spreading it up my arms, and back down again, making sure I’ve evenly rubbed over the elbows, back of arms and over wrists onto the hand. I follow the same careful process over the rest of the body, making sure I get right underneath the boobs as well (a less obvious place for patchiness!).
Once you have covered the entire body, enjoy a good 30 minutes of naked time, allowing it to dry, especially if the colour of the lotion is dark – it’s a great time to potter around your room tidying up the piles of clothes you’ve left draped around from the weekend. Never rush application, but if you don’t have half an hour of naked drying time to spare, whizz a hairdryer over your body! Now, get into bed, put on Made in Chelsea, go to sleep and wait for the morning’s results.
If you’ve carefully followed all of the above advice, fingers crossed, you should wake up with an even natural tan. Hop into the shower, wash of the excess colour, stickiness and that crisps smell that it tends to have and towel dry. As RW advises, NOW is the time for moisturising, which will not only disguise any last traces of that crisp smell (which I weirdly like) but keep the tan looking fresh and the skin feeling soft. If you’re in a rush for work and like me don’t mind the smell of crisps, you can wash off the colour that night. With certain fake tans, I also apply another layer the following evening, (not exfoliating this time as it will remove the previous night’s work) to get a real boost of goldeny gorgeousness!
Fake Tanning the Face
I have always been SO hesitant about fake tanning the face. Until recently I didn’t see the point, as surely that is what a bronzer is for without the perils of a stained, orange, patchy face? I always felt the stakes were too high. If it went wrong and everyone would justifiably point and laugh at me. However with an ever-increasing commitment and loyalty to this blog, I have accepted I at times need to put myself out there and test various techniques and products for the people who take the time out to read it. Anyhow, really not wanting the whole pointing and laughing situation, I knew in this instance I needed to opt for a reputable brand that I trusted. Thus I turned to the mother of fake tanning, St Tropez, and requested their Bronzing Lotion for the Face.
Like with the body, I knew a good exfoliation was key and opted for an oil-free moisturiser, which I made sure, was fully absorbed before applying the fake tan. Frighteningly, this colour was a deep, dark brown however I meticulously followed the instructions and carefully mixed a pea size amount between my hands and blended it onto my face like a moisturiser. I made sure I paid special attention to my hairline, eyebrows and lips. Non-greasy but creamy the tan was easily absorbed easing my fears. I unfortunately didn’t have the little complimentary mitt, so I made sure I vigorously washed my hands directly after. I then went to bed praying I wasn’t going to wake up looking like a cast member of Jordie Shores.
When I did awake the next morning, I was overjoyed to see a radiant, bright face looking back at me in the mirror. The result was a soft, gentle, lightly bronzed colour and glow rather than the fake looking orange I feared. It was also perfectly even, highlighting the quality of the product and the effectiveness of a good pre-exfoliation. Either a great base colour for foundation or just a simple glow for those who dare to bare, this is the new staple piece for my spring make-up bag.
Fake Tans – Tried and Tested
There are many, many fake tans out there to chose from which as I said, essentially do the same job. It just depends what you’re after. I am naturally quite olive skinned so am comfortable with quite a deep, medium colour however I appreciate fairer friends need to go easy and perhaps opt for a lighter or gradual fake tan (I have tried some of those for you too!).
St Tropez Self Tan Classic Bronzing Lotion
Recommended by RW, I decided in order to get her enviable golden tan I needed to invest. At £20.43 for 120ml it is a little dearer than other fake tans, however seeing and hearing that it is the best I decided it was worth the money.
There isn’t much more to stay other than the fact that once you go St Tropez you won’t go back to anything else. A deep but subtle tone you get enough colour from one layer but can easily build it up for a darker tone with another layer. What has surprised me the most is just how long it has lasted. Hooked as I am on having a tan, I expected this to last no longer than two months yet I am on my third and it is still going strong. Combined with the actual quality of the product, St Tropez is excellent value for money. There are many, many alternatives to try from their website, if you are after something a bit softer, gradual or even darker! They also have a wide range of prepping products to choose from. As a complete convert, I can’t wait to try the other products. See http://www.st-tropez.com/ for more information.
Asda Self Tan Gradual Fake Tan
(£3.50 for 200ml)
I personally have never bothered with gradual fake tans as a) I am too impatient and b) I like the back-from-Barbados look rather than the English sun-kissed look. However baring in mind this blog isn’t just for me I have tried out George at Asda’s Gradual Fake Tan. Yes that’s right, Asda for my fake tan. Like me you’re probably thinking really? But you haven’t smelt it yet… IT DOESN’T SMELL LIKE FAKE TAN! It smells like a tropical beach transporting me to happy summer memories.
The colour is perfect for fairer skins, giving a hint of colour that can slowly be built up (I sometimes use it to tie my colour over between St Tropez sessions). For the ultimate test, I have popped some in the post for my fiery-red head friend who has that perfect, porcelain skin but is after a hint of tan before the summer approaches. I will let you know how she gets on.
Garnier Ambre Solaire Original No-Streaks Bronzer Self-Tan Velvety Gel Medium Skin
(£7.13 for 150ml)
Like Asda’s crafty cover up of the crisp smell, Garnier have also attempted to achieve something similar with this delightful apricot smelling gel. The great thing about the gel is that it glides on easily over the skin and you don’t have to worry about staining your bed sheets! The only thing I would say is that with a gel, you can’t see clearly where you’re applying it so take time to make sure you’re covering all areas. A little sticky, this is one that will definitely need a wash off in the morning. The colour is natural yet deep and there is also a lighter option for paler skins.
So, hopefully I have given enough tips, advice, products and prepping information for you to go forth and be a bronzed babe rather than a patchy orange messes. Do let me know how you get on and if along the way you find any miracle fake-tans. RW and I are always on the look out!