I love a good tan; it makes your teeth look whiter, your legs look longer and your outfit look better. I’m often mistaken for a naturally olive skinned individual. But that’s only because I have perfected the art of fake tanning. Circa 2006, fake tan was a contentious beauty product. Fake tanning was often frowned upon as a dirty and tacky thing to do, in a futile attempt to make ones skin darker. With many less than adequate products available, women often abused fake tan and ended up boarder line shades of ‘pumpkin’. The problem was that these products were not that good, and they did terrible things to the skin when they were wearing off – i.e. blotching, drying, even scaling the skin. If you could perfect the fine art of fake tanning a good 10 years ago, you were doing better than most. But today, fake tan has come a long way, and it’s actually a fundamental part of my personal beauty prep for any key social engagement.
I don’t tan naturally. I burn then peel and it’s not a good look. Not to mention what it’s doing to my skin at a cellular level. The fact is, there is nothing healthy about a real tan, and for someone who has a long family history of skin cancer, the risk of developing cancerous moles is frightening. Hence, the reason I started using fake tan many moons ago (when I was about 16). I haven’t looked back. But what I do find interesting is how far fake tanning products have come – both in their quality but also the vast availability of products to consumers at all ends of the $$ scale.
Because fake tan has come so far, I don’t even second guess the weekend ritual of a fake tan session. It’s engrained in the usual preparation, as is anything like washing your hair, shaving your legs and waxing your eyebrows. And the best part about fake tanning these days, is that it actually looks great. There is nothing wrong with faking it (when it comes to a tan), and it’s totally socially acceptable. In fact, I would argue that it’s the only safe way, and therefore the best way to achieve a golden visage.
So What Are The Best Products On The Market?
If you’re on a budget Le Tan all the way. It’s reasonably priced but it’s still a fantastic product. I use both their mousse and spray in the dark shade, although it’s also available in medium. Le Tan offer a plethora of fake tanning products and I’ve tried them all – I still find the mousse and the spray the best. I will also use a spray on my face, neck and décolletage/chest but generally I’ll use the mousse for everywhere else.
When you want the best My favourite pick for self-tanning products is Model Co. I use the spray solution and the mousse (in dark). As mentioned above, I always use the spray for my face and upper body and then the mousse everywhere else as I find it goes on better that way. Model Co is dark, but the products are very good quality and you will get good, even results every time. Read on for application tips.
Legs, Legs, Legs A few hours before an event and after I have had my morning shower from my fake tanning session the night before, I will use Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs. This product is an absolute winner and I can’t recommend it enough. It covers bruises, blemishes and veins, and really does make your legs appear airbrushed. It goes on dry so you don’t have to wait hours before dressing and it doesn’t require any developing time – it’s good to go as soon as you apply it.
For the fake tan devotee If you’re tanning on a regular basis, and you like it dark, even and flawless, invest in some professional solution (that’s actually meant for a spray tan machine). Naked Tan have created amazing products, which come in 4 shades, which come in 1 litre sized bottles. You can get these on eBay for around $110 but it will outlast any regular off-the-self products and you will certainly get your money’s worth. Always apply this solution with a tan mitt (see below). It’s salon strength, so it’s literally like you’ve gone and had a professional spray tan. Naked Tan is also fabulous because it has accelerated developers in the solution, meaning it develops in just 2 hours (instead of 8-10), so if you’re pressed for time you can apply your tan in the morning and wash it off in the afternoon – instead of sleeping in it (it also saves your sheets some abuse!).
Applying It Like A Pro
Always exfoliate the night before you plan on fake tanning. It removes all the dry and dead skin which allows the tan to stick to your skin when it’s applied and means you’ll get a more even, long lasting tan. The key areas to exfoliate are on your knees, elbows, hands and ankles. When applying fake tan to the body, always apply with a fake tan mitt. These mitts are silky smooth and make sure there are no streaks once dried and developed. They also mean you are not left with stained hands. Fake tanning mitts are relatively cheap (you can pick them up in the fake tan aisle at most chemists and supermarkets), and you can use it about 5-10 times before you need to replace it – although you need to hand wash them in between usage.
Don’t shower for at LEAST 8 hours after applying a tanning product. When you have your first shower, moisturise your skin like you’ve just come back from the Sahara Desert. Continue to moisturise each day after tanning to prolong the tan and ensure it doesn’t get dry and flaky.
So maybe you’re already using these products as mentioned above, but if you’re not, give them a go! Making sure you follow my application tips! You can’t go wrong.