If I was asked to name a beauty trend to sum up the last few decades, I’d have to say it was fake tan. In my 15+ years as a beauty writer, I have tried them all. Spray tans, machine tans, home-tans; dark tans, light tans; gradual tans, instant tans…the list is never-ending. But I am not a fan of the fake tan. Scottish, and reasonably fair-haired under all this dye, I learned a few years ago to embrace the skin I’m in, and love the pale. Back in the 1990s, in my 20s, it was a different story – I veered from brightest orange, to palest of pale, and there was photographic evidence too – yep, that’s me in both of those shots!
Fake tan was, in the early to mid 1990s..how can I put this? NOT THAT GOOD!? I went out like that! I have no right to slag anyone off, having walked around Edinburgh that colour. As for the palest of pale goth/vampire look , am not sure if I had been outside in months when that photo was taken! Theses days, I have pale skin, and when I want a bit of colour, I usually use a wash-off tan. Before my wedding, earlier this year, I had a couple of spray tans, but I stayed pale on my wedding day. A combination of the smell, the effort and the upkeep just puts me off. However, like everyone else, I was intrigued by uber-tanning brand St Tropez’s latest launch onto the tanning market – In Shower Gradual Tan (£14.50, boots.com)
Bottles of this were flying off shelves when it launched, and I have heard varying reviews of it. So, I wrestled it from Sindy, and tried it out. It did give me a hint of colour after using it for three days. The old familiar ‘fake tan smell’ was there, but the little hint of colour was nice. It’s not going to give you the deep tan you might want from regular fake tans, right? But, it did give me some pay-off. However… what a pain it is to use. I have no idea what I imagined this tan to be. I have no idea how I thought it might work. But, standing for three minutes, in a cold bathroom, soaking wet is not my idea of fun any say, never mind in the winter! To use this tan you have to shower first, then switch your shower off, rub the tan all over, and then stand, wet and cold, for three minutes, then rinse it all off. Oh yeah, and don’t forget to wash your hands after application, so that meant a very wet me leaning over to my sink at the end of my bath, and hoping that I didn’t slip.
I have come to the conclusion that unless you are a dedicated fake-tanner, unless you really covet a tanned skin, then ALL fake tan is a hassle. There are always, inevitably, bits that get missed. The smell lingers. When it fades, and goes all patchy, it’s just horrible. Sitting in the sun is not good for the skin, we know that. So, fake tanning is safe, and big business. But, I think I’ll live life in the shade, and let my hair and my clothes be the brightest thing about me!