I went to Ibiza a couple of weeks ago and whilst it was arguably the best week of my life, there were some beauty issues that I faced. And I came to a rather horrifying conclusion: IT'S BLOODY DIFFICULT TO LOOK GOOD ON HOLIDAY. Most people go on holiday, get a tan, their freckles pop out, their teeth look whiter, their hair gets that gorgeous beachy wave and if nothing else, everyone looks great because they're so bloody relaxed and happy.
WELL, NOT ME! Whilst my mates turned into sexy mermaids my beauty treatments faded and I regressed back into a frizzy pale mess. I did everything I could before I went away to look as groomed as possible. I made the Dukan diet my bitch, weight trained every day, had my eyebrows threaded, smothered myself in fake tan, got eyelash extensions, painted my nails...but as the sun, sand and sea took their toll and everything wore off, the reason for my far-from-perfect appearance came down to one main thing: MY TOTAL AND UTTER INABILITY TO TAN. (There will be more capital letters as this blog progresses, the more angry I get FYI).
It's alright for some... my half Indian friend Helen only needs to stand outside the front door in the depths of Decemeber and her skin will go a gorgeous golden colour. My arabic-blooded mate Ashley laughed as I covered my body in SPF 50 as he sprayed SODDING COOKING OIL onto his olive skin. Even my fair haired light eye blonde ENGLISH buddies caught the sun more than me. The reason for my rage? I'VE GOT ARABIC BLOOD TOO. Was I blessed with sexy Eva Longoria skin? Oh no, the Irish overruled the Lebanese and I turned out whiter than a...really white thing.
I have come to accept over the years that the only way I'm not going to burn is by wearing factor 50 so in the absence of anything resembling a real tan, I have also had to accept that I have no choice but to reluctantly fake tan. Even on holiday. Every day. In 40 degree heat. (God I'm a trooper). I've been wearing fake tan since I was 13 years old and although I hope one day I can ditch the fake tan a la Nicola Roberts and fly the flag for pale skins, in the mean time I'll just use my 10 years of research to share with you my favey fake tans...
You know how fake tan companies always say "NO SMELL!" and then you see your boyfriend back away from you whilst asking what that weird biscuit smell is and then you realise the fake tan giants were lying? Well Vita Liberata aren't. This is a totally stinkless tan. It also dries very quickly and doesn't seem to rub off on your bed sheets/clothing quite so obviously as some of the others.
Some people get spray tans in the morning and then leave it on all day. I've never been able to do that. It usually smells, feels clammy on your skin and you look so freakishly tanned that you resemble some sort of swamp monster.
Vita Liberata changed that for me. It's a gorgeous smooth dark gel which you can happily apply in the morning and leave on your skin to develop without looking terrifyingly dark. It's sold in Boots and is around £20 a bottle (a good tenner cheaper than St Tropez).
You know how fake tan companies always say "LASTS UP TO 7 DAYS" but 2 days later its faded so much it's as if you had never applied it and you know the fake tan giants are lying? Well Xen Tan aren't. This tan lasts for bloody ages. It's obviously not going to be as fresh by the time day 7 rolls around but it hangs around a lot longer than any of the others I've tried. It has a reasonably pleasant smell (not exactly a Tom Ford fragrance but not repulsive either) and I find is most effective when applied before bed time and slept in. You'll wake up looking like Frankie from The Saturdays. (Maybe).
My fake tanning doesn't stop at the overnight developing ones. I also moisturise with a gradual tanner during the day (fighting off the pale is a full-time job). Using a gradual daily tanning moisturiser is a good way to cover up any blotchy bits that are fading badly or perfect for adding a little pop of instant colour on your face. I cannot take credit for discovering this one. My best friend bought it because it was cheap and didn't smell as horrendous as the Johnson's Summer Body (only use that if you enjoy smelling of BO) and in doing so found one of the best gradual tanners on the market. Apply as you would with your normal fake tan (avoiding knees, feet, under arms and any other areas that are dryer) and remember to WASH YOUR HANDS with fairy liquid (hand wash just isn't strong enough). I forgot to the other day and now look like I'm wearing orange gloves.
4) Famous Dave's tanning mitt (I'm not sure who Dave is and why he's famous but if he makes a tanning mit then he can't be all bad)
If you're still applying fake tan with rubber gloves or risking applying it with your own paws, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? IT'S ALL ABOUT THE MITT BITCHES! Actually, I only started using one very recently myself but I'm an immediate convert. It halves the time it takes to tan, it goes on smoother and doesn't stain your hands. After you've finished applying your tan, you can use what remains on the mit to do your hands and feet so they get a lighter coverage than the rest of you. It's a big win.