I’ve been hitting the bottle for about 8 years now. Fake tanning is like an evening ritual for me; it’s a lengthy procedure, but I couldn’t live without it. But why don’t I just embrace my natural skin? Because quite frankly, I’m naturally as white as a sheet. No, I don’t suit it, and I’m not comfortable with being so pale I look transparent; which leads me to the other common question; why don’t I just use the sunbeds? Because my pasty skin is scared of sunlight; I’m so fair I could brave the UV lights for just 6 minutes and I’ll come out looking like a tomato. (And no, it doesn’t develop into a tan.) Not only that, as well as the obvious skin cancer risk I will do anything to keep my skin looking youthful, and I don’t want to end up looking like a leather handbag when I’m 30.
When my tan starts to look patchy from the week before I’ll hop in the shower and use an exfoliant; I’ve just finished using Soap & Glory’s Flake Away so I’ve moved onto using their The Scrub of Your Life. They both have their signature Pink scent however I prefer the Scrub of Your Life as it’s in a tube as opposed to Flake Away; the water from the shower seems to end up in the tub which I find a bit gross!
– This is an important step to tanning as it gets rid of all of the dead skin and it helps to lift off the tan from the previous week.
Once I’ve rinsed the exfoliator off I’ll then put a cleansing body cream on one of my body brushes and scrub off all of my tan; I’m currently using Soap & Glory’s Clean on Me together with The Body Shop’s Round Body Brush. My Soap and Glory Back Brush is good for getting to all of those hard to reach places! (It also looks nice hung up in my shower)
– I like to use a cleansing body cream because it creates a good lather to lift off the tan and it’s also gentle enough to my skin so I’m not feeling red raw after a lot of harsh scrubbing.
Once I’m all rinsed off and out of the shower I’m left with nice, silky smooth skin. I usually like to give my skin a night off from tan and just moisturise but if I don’t have time and I’m needing some colour for a night out, for example, I’ll move straight onto tanning.
I’ve used so many gradual fake tans over the years; from starting out with Johnson’s Holiday Skin Body Lotion (which was streaky, gave me yellow skin and smelled awful the next day) to my days of having a full-time job and being able to afford a luxury bottle like Xen-Tan Dark Lotion, I’ve tried plenty. My all time favourite is the latter; Xen-Tan gave me the perfect colour; olivey bronzed skin and no overwhelming smell of biscuits on my bed sheets. The smell is there a little, but it would be a miracle to find a fake tan that doesn’t have it.
Being at uni I’ve turned to the budget-friendly St Moriz. I’ve tried the Self Tanning Mousse and I found it far too drying on my skin, although its benefit is the drying time. I’ve used St Moriz Dark Lotion for the past year and a half, and I’ve found it’s a good dupe for my beloved Xen-Tan. Yes, the biscuity smell the next day is rather bad, however for £2.99 I can’t really complain.
I like to apply my tan with disposable latex gloves. It might look like I’m performing surgery, but I find gloves are so much better than a tanning mitt; it glides on easily and I can work the tan into my skin without the disadvantage of a mitt soaking up half of the product (as I can’t afford any waste!)
When it comes to my hands and face I’ll use Xen-Tan’s Face Tanner Luxe which is less pricey than the regular lotion (however still rather expensive therefore I don’t use it often) and is gentle on my face. I pop it on my hands as well so they don’t end up scarily dark!
Making it Last
I have two favourite moisturisers I use to keep my tan lasting as long as possible; Nip & Fab’s Dry Skin Fix Body Butter in Coconut Latte and my old faithful, Soap & Glory’s The Righteous Butter. They are both very moisturising, leaving my skin soft and silky, and to top it off, smell delicious.
The skin colour on my chest is naturally a lot lighter than the rest of my body and to even it out if it’s on show during the day I will use St Moriz’s Instant Wash Off Tan in Medium. I also like to use this all over for a night out or special occasion to enhance my tan and I can happily wash it off the next day if I’m feeling too dark. My other all-time favourite is Rimmel’s Sun Shimmer in Medium Shimmer. This gives me a gorgeous shimmery glow and gets used to death when summer comes round and my legs are out more often.
So that’s it! A week later and I’ll be back to exfoliating and tanning all over again; I’m so used to doing it it’s no hassle for me, and I always feel happier and confident with a glow.