This year is really the first on record that I've felt a sudden desire to cover myself in the orange stuff. It's not that I've been a particular fan of embracing my pale skin, more that I've just never made much of an effort to bronze up before. Some would call it low maintenance, others just plain lazy.
My favourite so far? The Cocoa Brown 1 Hour Tan*. The premise of this is the same as the St Tropez Express Tan and the St Moriz Fast Self Tanning Mousse, another one that I've tried my hand with over the past few weeks. After slapping on a layer of mousse, you can leave the colour to develop for around one hour for a light glow, two hours for a medium tan and three hours for something deeper. I was disappointed to find that the St Moriz option didn't make the slightest bit of difference to my skin no matter how long I left it on for. Luckily, the Cocoa Brown 1 Hour Tan has managed to regain my trust in this kind of formula. Left on for around two hours, I'm left with a soft, olive-based tan that is probably the most likely of the bunch to pass for something natural. My only complaint? The morning after application the funky smell is fairly strong and failure to resist the urge to scrub leads to a lot of the colour swirling down the drain earlier than planned. It's pretty great for a couple of days, but you might also want to invest in a gradual tan to keep the shade topped up for longer.
As a fake tan beginner I really didn't want to splurge on something that might just pass as a fad, so I went ahead and bought the miniature version of the Xen Tan Dark Lotion Absolute Luxe. Daunting as it sounds, I'd heard that the natural, olive base of this works particularly well with fair skin. It smells amazing, just like maple syrup. But the results just weren't worth me going out and spending £35+ on a full size bottle. In fact, the colour payoff left me feeling a little disappointed and my bedsheets ended up looking more bronzed than my legs. Lastly I tried the Cocoa Brown Night & Day Tan*, which can be applied in the evening for a medium tan and washed off the following morning to leave a subtle bronze glow. I'm not a big one for nights out (at least not the kind that require a bare leg) so I didn't find I had much use for this. The initial colour is nice and didn't appear patchy or streaky at all, although when I rinsed it off the following morning I didn't find that I was left with much of a glow to work with.