For centuries pale skin was considered the ultimate beauty ideal. Fair skin represented how you were wealthy enough to stay inside while the poor toiled outside in the sun. Women were so desperate to be paler that they invested in lead-based powders and poisonous titanium paint to make their skin tone whiter than white.
But as always, beauty ideals change and more and more women are feeling the pressure to have a much desired golden glow these days, I myself are amongst one of them. Generally we are bombarded with olive skinned goddesses including the likes of Emily Ratajowski, Michelle Keegan and Kim Kardashian who all have beautifully bronzed skin tones. Even though I’m fortunate to be blessed with healthy skin I’m also cursed with a very pasty looking complexion and as a result I am always indulging in the fake tans as there is something wonderful when having a golden skin tone. I immediately feel more contoured, camera ready and confident armed with a brown tan!
Here are my experiences of using home self-tans vs a professional spray tan and the results I have found:
First thing first I definitely recommend showering and exfoliating before any fake tan contacting your skin. The shower will cleanse your skin from any impurities and grime leaving your skin ready to be tanned. I recommend the Janjira Thai Lime & Ginger shower gel – it leaves my skin feeling very fresh and fragrant. The exfoliation will ensure the tan will go smoothly on your skin, ensuring you are not left with any rough uneven blotches. If you fail to exfoliate beforehand you may end up with some unevenness on the dryer areas of your skin including your shins and elbows etc. The best shower scrub I have used is the wonderfully natural Odylique Candy Coconut Scrub which contains no nasty plastic microbeads and uses sugar cane and poppy seeds instead.
Home Self Tan
With showering and exfoliation out of the way, you are now ready to get brown! I normally apply a self-tan for a night out or last minute event as its quick and easy with no fuss of booking an appointment – just make sure you always have enough tan in your bottle! Nothing worse than having one brown leg and one pale leg. Always use a tanning mitt to ensure thorough cover, I recommend the Soltan Beautiful Bronze Exfoliating Mitt which is only £2.49 and available from Boots. I personally prefer either a spray or a mousse self tan rather than a lotion or cream. This is mostly because a lotion can be sticky and generally takes longer to dry as it sits on your skin before absorbing. If I don’t have much money to splurge the St Moriz tan is the best tan if you have a small budget. I have used both the medium and dark tans and they work gorgeously.
If I fancy stretching my purse for a little more expensive self-tan the Cocoa Brown mousse (RRP £7.99) is amazing and does last longer. It also has the added bonus of not having a distinct fake tan smell like others. No more biscuit smell!
The downside to using a home self-tan is the hard to reach places that can leave you with lines and an uneven tan. If you are comfortable enough with a friend, roommate or your partner they can always do your back otherwise you are on your own!
Professional Spray Tan
I recently splurged on a professional spray tan in preparation for a summer holiday. I decided to invest as I remember the previous year I went on a hand luggage flight and was unable to take my fake tan! As a result this made me feel insecure to take snaps and get in a bikini as I felt self-conscious about how pale I was and it did taint my holiday experience! To avoid that this time I bit the bullet and went to Urban Beach. An all over spray tan was £35.99 and I was able to pick from 3 shades (I picked the medium shade).
You are given the option to wear flimsy paper underwear or go fully naked. I decided to get my money’s worth and not risk any tan lines so went in my birthday suit – I felt really embarrassed but she reassured me it was nothing she hasn’t seen before! The spray tan took only 30 minutes to complete and my therapist was very discreet and professional.
You must leave the tan to absorb into the skin for at least 8 hours so it’s best to sleep in loose clothing on dark sheets and shower in the morning. If you are going holiday try to resist the temptation to go into the pool for the first two days, as the chlorine will strip your tan more quickly. Even though the treatment only lasts for just over a week, the difference it made to my confidence was phenomenal and I was not afraid to take photos! Everyone commented on how nicely I tanned naturally from my holiday, which was an added bonus! Needless to say I went with it and didn’t reveal it was a spray-tan, shhh!