I love fake tan and I’m an Essex girl.
There, I said it.
I love the way fake tan smoothes out skin tones, gives you a glow and for me, disguises stretch-marks and makes things seem less wobbly.
Being a ginger and growing up with my mother (also a ginge) lathering on thick white factor 1000 on to my sister (another ginge) and me to play on the beaches of Southend-on-Sea, Espanola, plus any other 80s holiday destination you can think of, the opportunity to fake a golden glow is welcomed with open arms in my family.
Fake tan’s almost shameful reputation is slowly diminishing – along with the orange streaks and biscuity stench – with state of the art formulas and application methods being readily available to buy on the high street. So why do we still find ourselves whispering: ‘It’sss fake!’- in the same hushed tones that we admit that our Alexander Wang style tee is actually from ‘Primarni’?
Weird when you think about it, considering it’s not really that cool anymore to lie like a starfish, drenched in tanning oil, sacrificing ourselves to to the fireball in the sky. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some daylight-repelling loaner- we all need a bit of the vit D – but when you think about what prolonged sun-exposure can do to you and your skin, reaching for the bottle is by far the smarter option.
Whether you’re a fake tan veteran like myself (and my sister, and my mum) or you’re new to the wonder of faking it, there is a perfect self tan product out there for everyone – however slap-dash or lazy you are. Here are Le Blow’s top tanning tips and recommended products to get you summer ready. (Even if the summer never turns up.)
Five tips for fake tanning it…
1. Exfoliate like a badass
I sound like a broken record and probably could do with getting a bit more involved with the loofah myself, but do as I say and not as I do and exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate. And when I say exfoliate, I mean everywhere, not just a quick rub on the thighs and arms.
Give your body full commitment and go to town with a good sugar/salt scrub. For sensitive skin then St Ives Invigorating Apricot Body Scrub 300ml (£5.09 for 300ml) is a good and purse friendly option, whilst Soap and Glory’s Some Like it Hot Thermal Scrub (200ml for £7.34) leaves your skin amazingly soft.
Or, if you have the time/can be arsed then make your own scrub with coconut oil, Maldon sea salt and some essential oil such as lavender – job done and you’ll feel at one with the earth, smug-faced about making your own organic scrub.
2. ALWAYS shave 24 hours before you tan…
…otherwise you’ll get tiny polka dotted, pitted skin on your legs and lady area which will just make you look like you’ve got really awful regrowth… or an STD.
Moisturise straight afterwards with a soothing cream or oil, so that your skin is really nourished. Then just before you apply the tan the following day pop a bit of moisturiser onto especially dry areas such as knees, elbows, ankles and knuckles.
3. Keep palms tan-free
Latex gloves are you best friend when it comes to application safety, kids- no need to scrub your hands raw to insure that it doesn’t develop- don’t bother with over expensive ‘tanning gloves’ the nearest 99p shop will have a surgical gloves (same thing, innit). They might be surgery purple or blue though- but who really cares I ask you?
4. A handy tip
For bronzed hands simply sweep the backs with self tan diluted with a little moisturiser- and don’t leave your thumb out!
5. For a natural, contour-creating tanned face…
…apply diluted tanning solution with moisturiser to the areas where you would tan naturally; or if you’re fair, then where you’ve got freckles. Pay special attention to your temples, the front of your cheeks, your forehead and bridge of your nose.
Girl meets tan // recommended products
1. For the self tan novice:
Garnier Skin Naturals Summer Body Moisturising Lotion, £3.69
This lightweight daily moisturising cream will keep your skin hydrated but also give you a gradual glow- it also smells pretty nice too. Ideal for those with very pale skin.
2. For the slap-dash/person who applies their fake tan pissed on a Friday night when they get in from straight-afterwork-drinks:
L’Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Golden Mousse, £14.99
Give it a good shake, then slap it on. Actually, apply it with more care than that, but you can apply this fairly liberally, and not get it wrong as it leaves an instance colour, washing off in the morning leaving a lovely natural tan.
Apply the next day for a deeper tan and ensure that you add a bit of moisturiser to those rough bits on each application (knees, ankles, elbows, hairline and lady area) as mousse tan can be pretty drying, but it dry’s real quick too so you don’t need to stand in a John Wayne position whilst it dries.
3. Those who pamper/spend AGES in the bathroom (yeah, so that would be me):
St Tropez Self Tan Classic Bronzing Lotion, £30.64
The don of DIY fake tans and Mossy’s go-to tan when she’s not getting a real one on Roberto Cavalli’s yacht. Looks a bit scary poo-like when you apply it and needs care and attention to get the best results but it’s not rocket science.
Smooth, (don’t rub) onto the skin with your 99p shop surgical gloves for a deep, rich tan that screams ‘I’ve been to Fiji’. A cult classic that’s still winning beauty awards since it launched over 15 years ago.
4. For those who mean bronzing business:
The Sienna X Professional Spray Tan
OK, so I’m biased on this one as I’m a qualified spray tan technician at weekends (yeah, I know, I couldn’t be anymore ‘Essex’ if I tried could I?!) but after doing a bit of research on what spray tan I wanted to use when training up, Sienna X provides the most natural finish and smells like coconuts and chocolate.
The tanning agent works with your skin’s natural tanning ability and comes in different percentages, so you can chose how ‘glow’ you wanna go: I recommend 8% for fair to medium skin tones, then 10% for olive skin tones, then anything goes for those who want to be in Towie or Strictly Come Dancing.
Do the normal prep pre tan that you would if you were to do it yourself, don your paper pants and let a Sienna X spray tan techy spray you up! Once you’ve had your spray, wear lose clothing and no bra if poss otherwise you might rub it off before it’s completely dry. A mobile technician with a pop up spray tan tent is best as they are cheaper and you can get tanned in the comfort of your own home, rather than paying premium for a salon treatment which really isn’t worth it in my opinion – and then you have to do the walk of shame/dash to the car looking REALLY BROWN in your old tracky bottoms without seeing anyone; tres stressful, non?
Sleep in the tan making sure you pop an old towel down on the bedsheets to prevent angry partners and mums or whoever does your laundry and come morning, you’ll look like an oompa-loompa! Once you’ve had a good laugh (or cry) jump in the show and gently clean it off and you will have a beautiful, natural, even tan that Gisele and Sienna Miller would be well jel of.