Hi, my name is Sam and I’m a fake tan-aholic.
Yes, I know how it sounds; but please don’t judge me.
I’m most definitely not a Z-list celebrity wannabe who leaves a trail of orange sludge on the collars of tops that I try on in Zara (don’t you just hate that?!). I don’t watch TOWIE (admittedly, only because of a recording clash on my Sky Plus). And my idea of being ‘groomed’ is simply ensuring that I am moisturised, odour-free and have remembered to dress.
However, I cannot, will not, (don’t make me!) live without my self tanner – St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse to be specific.
Fake tan for fair skin
Allow me to explain. I have always been… ‘inflicted’ shall we say, with rather listless, ashen skin. Now, there are 2 key types of pale colouring out there: that of the quintessential English Rose – think peaches and cream complexion, perhaps a smattering of cute-as-a-button freckles, and finished off with an ‘I’ve just ridden to work on my basket fronted bike filled with organic veg and homegrown peonies ‘ outdoors flush.
And then there’s mine. Pasty and pallid, the type that invites well-meaning colleagues and friends to surmise that I must be tired, that I need to stop burning the candle at both ends, when the sad reality is that I’ve already eaten my 5-a-day by mid-morning, drunk my two litres of water and was tucked up in bed last night before The Apprentice had even started.
Being beautifully pale and interesting is all very well if you have opalescent skin like Anne Hathaway, Cate Blanchett and my mother, or the milky dewiness of Liv Tyler’s complexion. However, if, like me, it’s more a case of Snow Wan than Snow White, a little (and I do stress the word little) bit of the old bottled pigment can really brighten whilst hiding a multitude of sins that would otherwise have to be concealed behind too much makeup.
How to apply self tanner on fair skin
We’re talking glowing here, not garish. One thin layer (two at the most!) of the stuff every other day just to create a subtle hint of colour. I tend to put mine on at night and then shower the excess off in the morning, thus eliminating the biscuit-y smell that can occur, and avoiding the peskily obvious build-up around ankles, elbows and digits. Just make sure that you moisturise avidly in between sessions to eliminate dryness. In fact, I find that if I moisturise an hour before putting the tan on (Yes, yes, I know that you’re technically not supposed to!) it forms a slight barrier that allows just enough product to sneakily reach the skin, but not so much that I wake up looking like a Willy Wonka extra. St. Tropez Body Moisturiser, Fake Bake Oil Free Moisturiser and Jason Moisturizing Gel aren’t too thick and are non-oil based, so don’t cause the tan to do that funny dispersing thing it’s prone to if mixed with moisturisers.
And not forgetting of course the importance of exfoliation. Not only is it vital for smoothing the skin in preparation (just imagine all those dry flakes soaking up colour to resemble an over-cooked flapjack – not a great look), but it allows the tan, contrary to what you would expect, to actually last longer. Yes, you are effectively sloughing it off when you exfoliate, but not all of it. Thus your non-natural colour will fade more naturally, and anyway, as you’ll be reapplying your next (thin) layer pretty soon there won’t be time for it to turn patchy.
Don’t over-do it!
A word of warning though – fake tanning can be devastatingly addictive. Believe me, I’ve been there. You want to glow, then you become greedy and want bronzed goddess-ness. Next you want to completely alter the colour of your skin, until finally you find yourself resembling a creosoted garden fence. Remember, tanning gurus advise that you should only go one or two shades darker than your natural colour – much like hair. The mantra should be enhance, enhance, enhance, not change, change, change!
We ashen-looking creatures are never going to resemble Jessica Alba or J-Lo after a week in St. Barts. BUT, all is not lost. We can wake up to a fresh faced, natural and alluring ‘Oh this? I’ve just spent the weekend in the garden’ glow.