Unless you enjoy the look of prematurely aged skin, or flirting with the possibility of skin cancer, ‘Slip Slop Slap’ is really the only way to roll. That said, some of us still like a bit (or a lot) of colour on our skin, especially in the summer months – and there’s really only one sensible way to get it. In one of the only cases where artificial is most certainly better than the real deal, fake tans are our sunshine in a bottle. They give us the glow without the damage, but gee whiz they take commitment, maintenance and a near master’s degree to perfect.
If you’re a regular self-tanner, you’re sure to identify with these…
You require industrial sized moisturisers: Anyone worth their weight in St Tropez knows that if you fail to moisturise your skin often - and by often I mean at least twice a day – you’re going to look like a patchy, lizard-esque oompa loompa in no time. You buy in bulk and if you could, you’d have a wine barrel sized dispenser of it in your bathroom. Commit to the tan, commit to the moisturiser. For better or worse, in sickness and in health, til winter do you part.
You stink: There’s no getting around it. If you want (safely) bronzed skin, you need to be prepared to stink. There are plenty of self-tanners that claim to be stench-free but in my humble opinion, no brand has actually nailed it. Yeah, you might smell like coconuts while applying it, but give it a few hours and that unmistakable biscuit-meets-BO smell is there and just like a piece of garlic bread, it lingers.
Hands and ankles = The Danger Zone: No matter which method you use, no matter how painstakingly attentive you are, there’s something about nailing the perfect wrist-to-hand and ankle-to foot application that eludes us. Does ANYONE get it right? Is it even possible? Whoever comes up with a solution to this will be a goddamn gazillionaire.
Walking out of the salon is humiliating: Sure, a proper, professional spray tan will give you the most flawless finish (and cover your pesky back, ordinarily unreachable by your own hands) but the walk of shame from salon to car is often embarrassing. Firstly, you look ridic because you are 25 shades darker than your natural colour and secondly, you are not wearing a bra. Your tits are hanging and swinging with every step you take and without a bra barrier, your nipples are probably on high beam and screaming for attention. You try to cross your arms over your chest, but you’re scared you’ll smudge your new tan.
Water is your enemy: After a tanning sesh or a spray tan, you know that water is just as hazardous to you as it was to Gizmo from Gremlins. A fucking disaster. No dishes, no showers, no sweating and definitely no tears.
Sayonara White….anything: White sheets are no longer an option - unless you want to look like you’ve taken a dump on your sheets, sweat all over it and then rubbed it in. Brown is good. Dark patterns are best. There’s a lesson to be learned from those ugly, dark, patterned hotel carpets. They hide everything.
You exfoliate ’til it hurts: You know it. I know it. Dry skin is a fake tan’s kryptonite and this is why you are addicted to scrubbing your skin to within an inch of it’s life. You’ll buy any mitt or cloth that promises smooth skin, because a patchy tan screams “FAKE! SHE’S A FAKE!!!” The aim is to look more Bahamas than Burnt Toast.
The search for the perfect formula is never-ending: Just when you think you’ve found the right tan for you, someone, somewhere, tells you that they’ve discovered THE WORLD’S BEST TAN. So easy. Streak free. Perfect colour. Lasts forever. You’re elated. You buy it. You try it. It sucks. The search for the perfect tan continues…
What’s your best fake tan tip?