I grew up in South Africa where there was always a never ending array of sunshine. We were continuously bombarded with information regarding sun protection and keeping out of the sun between 11.00am - 4.00pm. In pursuit of the perfect tan I'd disregard all the warnings and do just the opposite - I'd tan without any protection and during the forbidden hours. Whenever I felt like I was just about to pass out all I had to do was just visualise myself with the perfect tan and that kept me baking.
Crazy!!!!!!! Yes I know - however, I have never ever used a sunbed in my life, have never ever considered using one and would absolutely never ever so much as go near one! So perhaps that compensates a bit for my past stupidity...ok maybe just a tiny bit.
These days things have changed. I live in Northern Ireland now so I hardly ever see the sun yet I do wear creams with an SPF of at least 15 during the winter months and higher in the summer.
I do not sunbathe any more - wouldn't be able to get a sun tan even if I tried - Northern Ireland is a great place for skin preservation:) The down side is that I can't seem to embrace being pale and interesting...I need that bit of colour to feel better.
So yes I am still trying to find that perfect tan in a bottle - and I'm sure that a lot of you would probably agree that it is quite hard. There are however a couple of them that I haven't given up on and keep going back to.
Here are my thoughts on some of my faves:
Fake Bake gives a nice, intense natural looking tan that actually does look very realistic - it makes you feel like you've just come back from a holiday.
There is no horrible smell! If a tan gives off that unpleasant tell-tale "I've got fake tan on" scent then I give up on it straight away.
It's also easy to apply as the product itself is very dark and you can see where it's being applied. It doesn't streak and won't turn you orange. Although people say that they get a couple of days wear out of it, to me it is more of an instant or wash off tan as it seems to come completely off once I shower - which is a pity as it's pretty pricey. It comes as a mousse, lotion and spray - I've tried all three and they all provide equally good results. Perhaps this might seem obvious but do use the spray in the shower - I didn't the first time round as I thought that there wouldn't be too much overspray - boy was I wrong! I had to clean the whole bathroom including the floor, walls, furniture and tiles. You have been warned.
Vita Liberata Rich Silken Chocolate
Many celebs had been raving about this one and it was also used on the contestants from the last X Factor - you know Olly, Joe and Stacey - so I thought that I'd give it a go.
The product is also very dark in colour so it's easy to see where it's being applied. I love the consistency of the lotion as it's very smooth and so easy to distribute - probably one of the easiest fake tans to apply. Also a little product goes a long way.
It gives you an instant lovely chocolatey looking tan. It doesn't stink, I'd say that it's scent- free but if you place your nose close to your skin and take a sniff you'll notice that it actually has a very pleasant and fresh scent about it. It dries almost instantly, I'm usually able to get dressed right after application. Just as with Fake Bake it doesn't seem to stay on too well - usually just washes off in the shower. I do feel that it's a great tan for when you need a bronzed glow asap. In addition to this it doesn't seem to be as drying on the skin as other fake tanners tend to be.
St. Moriz Instant Self-tanning mousse
You've probably heard about this one as loads of people have been raving about it and comparing it to the much pricier St Tropez. The first time I noticed it on the shelves of my local semi-chem retailing for around £2.99 I dismissed it simply because I wasn't expecting much for that price. Luckily I came to my senses and purchased a bottle. I gave the mousse a go and then stocked up on more. I love this stuff and I love the price as well!
The mousse is easy to apply and gives you an instant colour which is a lovely and natural looking golden brown. It dries very quickly and doesn't smell. In fact it has a sort of fresh soapy scent to it. The other great thing about it is that it is longer lasting than the above mentioned tans as it seems to stay on for about 2 or 3 days or longer whenever I top up with a self-tanning lotion in between uses. The only down side to it is that I find it to be very drying on the skin. I can only put up with applying it two days in a row max and then I need to replenish lost moisture with a body oil or rich moisturiser. I wish to also mention that I get about 10 full body applications per bottle so this truly is an incredible bargain.
Palmer's Gradual Tanning Moisturiser
This is probably one of my favourite gradual tanners. I love using it on a daily basis in order to maintain a healthy glow and keep my skin moisturised at the same time. It has the usual chocolatey scent to it and a creamy consistency. A couple of months ago I attended a spray tanning course. While waiting around for my turn to get sprayed a lot of girls would come up to me and tell me that my spray tan had come out great. They were really shocked to learn that I was still waiting my turn to face the spray gun and wanted to know what tan I had on. It was in fact Palmer's.
What are your favourite fake tans on the market? Please share!