I’ve got to fake it to fit in with this family. Clint turns the wood stain shade of dark mahogany in a matter of hours and it looks like Beau has inherited this gene as well (lucky boy). I, however have to get my fix from a bottle. My love affair with the fake stuff began when I was 18 and I haven’t looked back since. I’m totally addicted. I used self tan when I was pregnant and breastfeeding (the organic stuff, however), and yes there were times when I would wake up after a night of co-sleeping with Beau to see that he was covered with some suspicious looking brown patches too. (See photo evidence below). And whereas I refuse to use sun beds, (they don’t work anyway, I just go freckly), self tan has come a long way in 12 years. Just look at the array of bottles in Boots. No longer orange and streaky, I have a few firm favourites. Some of them are quite expensive, but I have also found a much cheaper budget version that I use regularly as well. It is a love affair that takes a lot of work however, costs a lot of money, and has required me to do lot of washing over the years (white sheets + fake tan = YUCK). So here is what works for me, my application methods and long they these firm favourites *actually* last…for real.
- To start, you need to exfoliate. Everything. Elbows, knees and ankles are the obvious ones but when self tan is starting to peel off, I do a full body scrub. I use a loofah and a body polish; St. Tropez Tan Optimiser to help me do this.
- Next step…moisturise! A few years ago a make up artist introduced me to an amazing oil free moisturiser. The Fake Bake Oil Free Moisturiser does not contain any oil (which would prevent the absorption of self tan), maintains a beautiful aroma, made up of botanicals green tea and ginger, glides beautifully on, and is not sticky or hard to absorb. I do this after exfoliation, and particularly on self tan ‘sticking points’, i.e. elbows, knees and ankles etc.
- And now – the application. A couple of years ago I came across Vita Liberata pHenomenal 2-3 Week Tan (I prefer the mousse). A 2-3 week tan?! I was sceptical. I am sure, on some people it can last this amount of time but with me it lasts a week and a half to 2 weeks at best (with a couple of applications in between). But I love it. It does not smell, is rather kind to the old white bed sheets too and it maintains a pretty convincing ‘oh I’ve just been sitting in the garden’ bronzed colour. It is also free from parabens, perfume and alcohol. Using a mitt, (I can’t believe I used to use my hands?!), I start at the top – on the face (although diluted with moisturiser), and work slowly downwards, circling the mitt as you go. At £37.50 for 125ml however (I always buy it through Amazon though as it’s cheaper) this stuff is pretty expensive, so for legs I have a cheaper alternative. A MUCH cheaper alternative, but almost just as good. At £2.99, St. Moriz Instant Self Tanning Mousse is pretty bloody brilliant. It creates an instant bronzing effect; leaving some residue on white sheets and clothes etc and with more of a biscuity smell than the Vita but at £3, you can’t really complain. The hard bits for me are knees and ankles so always just use a little less here. In fact sometimes I use a self tan body mist (here) on these parts. I always wear an old baggy t-shirt and then leave the colour to develop overnight for a good few hours (6 at least).
- The next step is also really important. And I think for me, it distinguishes from a natural looking even tan to a not so smooth, more obvious one. Overnight, the tan can build up or become a bit uneven in places so I go back to the Oil Free Moisturiser and apply this everywhere. This seals the tan; giving it a fresh (and lovely smelling) look and continues to moisturise throughout the day. It also gets rid of any finger marks (from your cosleeping baby or partner etc), and provides you with a perfect, all over professional self tan. I usually use Johnson’s Baby Lotion on my legs. With the ‘summer’ we have in England, I’m often in jeans so my legs get the short end of the stick. I usually reapply the tan in a couple of days and continue to moisturise throughout.
So that’s what works for me and I would love to hear what works for you too! Until they can develop the gene that turns my partners South African skin into a tanning pill (oh wait, haven’t they done that already?), I will continue to fake it, probably with many streaks, tan marks, and dirty sheets along the way. I told you I was addicted.