The Fake Tan Diaries: Part I
As I type this, it's the third evening in a row that I've been sat in my underwear, smelling of mouldy biscuits in a desperate bid to add some colour to my legs. I haven't been on holiday in quite a while and it's fair to say that I'm starting this summer pale. Light seems to reflect off my limbs. I wish I was exaggerating.
I've only dabbled in the world of fake tanning very lightly until now. I've tried a few over the years, most of which have been a huge disappointment and have never made a second outing from my bathroom cabinet. Despite starting off with a completely blank canvas, my skin just doesn't seem to take to fake tan. I've tried almost everything, from mousses and lotions to tanning oils and gradual tanners and even the super dark ones don't seem to make much of a difference. The odd patch of colour here and there is really the most that I can hope for, which doesn't bode well when my ultimate aim is to mimic the effects of three weeks in the Caribbean.
From my limited experience, I love having a tan. I admire people who embrace fair skin and I absolutely think it looks beautiful too, but something about my colouring means that I really do seem to look healthier with a bit of colour. I'm determined to find something that works for me, which is why I've decided to start 'The Fake Tan Diaries', where I'll be documenting my experiences with a range of different tanning products over the summer. To start, here's a rundown of a few that I've already given a go...
St Tropez In Shower Gradual Tan
Remember the hype around this last summer? I looked everywhere for a bottle before deciding that the influx of positive reviews was more a reflection of St Tropez's ruthless marketing techniques than the strength of the product itself. I can see the logic behind this one, but after a couple of applications the novelty of spending 5 minutes a day standing in the shower with the water turned off began to fade. It doesn't sound like long, but also consider that you'll be butt naked and freezing cold. I at least expect something in the way of a noticeable result in return for my efforts, but sadly with this I didn't.
Xen-Tan Dark Lotion Absolute Lux
This has definitely risen in price since I first bought it - £40 is a lot for a bottle of tan. Fortunately I only ever invested in the travel size, as despite being touted as an ultra dark lotion it just doesn't do anything for me. It smells and looks a little like toffee when it's first applied, but by morning I'm left with that typical fake tan stench and only a slight hint of colour to show for it. I've heard amazing reviews on this and I'm sure it works for some people, but for me it's incredibly hard to justify the price tag.
Cocoa Brown 1 Hour Tan*
Despite being the cheapest of the bunch, this is probably the formula that I've had the most success with. It's a weightless mousse that leaves a trace of colour during application, allowing you to clearly see any missed patches or streaks. Cocoa Brown are one of many brands to jump on the 'three hour tan' trend and this actually leaves a nice colour on the skin - it just doesn't last. I partially put it down to this having the strongest 'fake tan smell' of all the ones I've tried, as resisting the urge to shower is a big ask even during the 3 hour waiting period.
Bondi Sands Liquid Gold
The latest addition to my collection, Liquid Gold really did seem to work for me the first time I tried it out. Sure, the finish was slightly patchy, but I put it down to a lack of experience and went ahead with a second application a few days later. It's the only fake tan dry oil that I've ever tried and my skin feels incredibly soft whenever I use it, but ever since the first application I've been having real problems achieving a noticeable colour. It may be that I'm just a little too light-handed though so I'm definitely willing to give this another chance - I'll be reporting back soon!