Roadtesting fake tan. The good, the bad and the tandoori chicken.


Look at your legs. Now look at me. Look back at your legs. Now look back at me. Are you legs white? Mine too. And you know what this means. No, I’m not on a horse but I really need some fake tan before I’m game enough to wear a skirt.

I took a bit of a break from fake tan last year but I’m back on the horse this year. I’m particularly a fan of the facial SPF15 daily moisturisers with a bit of fake tan in them (I talk about them in a video I made about the products I used last year – products have changed a bit, must make new vid).

I don’t have spray tans anymore because I think they suck the bejesus out of your skin and can look manky. But I like a bit of a sunny glow.

In a bid to prevent all of us from looking like Tandoori chickens, MM Site Manager and lover of all things beauty related has been testing out fake tans all over the office.  She writes with very orange hands

By Lana Hirschowitz

As a child born before the time of SPF much of my youth was spent in a snake like state – sunning myself on the stone by the pool and then having my entire outer dermis peel off as I shed my skin. I  never got a tan.  I got burnt, I got freckles and I inflicted some fairly radical sun damage but I never got a tan.

I remember when I was 17  I desperately needed a tan, as you do. Someone I knew, and trusted till that point, suggested I bathe in a bath of tea bags (100 to be precise).  He promised that the tannin would stain my skin a deep and glorious bronze and I would be radiant and evenly tanned.  And yes I did bathe in a giant bath of tea without sugar or milk.  And no I did not get a tan – not even a hint of colour because tannin does not stain skin but it does stain baths.  Trust me .

My pursuit for the perfect tan and my fear for a “real” tan (the sun damage I inflicted was quite intense) has followed me into my adulthood and I really believe that I may have tried every type of fake tan on the market (and some that may have even been recalled).

There are 6 basic variations on the instant tan

Johnson’s Holiday Skin body lotion

Gradual tanners – these are really great moisturisers which provide a little bit of colour with each application

St Tropez bronzing lotion

One Use Tans – instant tan that can be applied mere minutes before going out and washed off that very night.

Mousse – which is meant to be real easy to apply, because of its consistency. The fact that it spreads so easily should also minimize streaks.

Lotions or creams- these are heavier than the mousses and creamier of course but because they can be a bit thick you have to be Cautiously Careful when you do the hard bits – knees, ankles, elbows, hands and wrists.

Gels – which dry really quickly and are easy to apply.  Drying quick sounds good but remember that quick drying means less time to blend.

Fake Bake Xtreme Self-Tanning Gel
ModelCo One Night Tan

Sprays – which you don’t need to blend but you do need space.  You need lots of space covered in old towels or plastic sheeting because aerosol nozzles, however highly advanced, still spray a wider area than you aim at. I tried spray tans to get rid of the uneven application problem and I tanned my bathroom floor.  Must remember to call my mother and tell her that finally her bath and my floor match.

The real answer to all my problems has been found in the salon applied spray tan.  I absolutely love my spray tan and if there was a legal process to unite us until death I would look into it.  I go to a little place up the road from my house, pop into a pair of hideous disposable undies and five minutes later I am a gorgeous shade of golden brown.  Streak free and covered in honey (so to speak) from the top of my head to the bottom of my toes.

Plus because I have been sprayed with an airgun I am literally airbrushed.  I cannot explain the joy this tan brings to me, it makes me feel better, look younger and it even makes my teeth appear whiter.  The place that I go to also uses an organic spray so I am pretty sure it is not doing too much damage to my skin….and it is not prohibitively expensive.

Over to you. What tips and tricks do you have to share?  Is there a fake tan that has worked for you?  What do you recommend? Upload photos of product!