Now it’s time to consider that with the temperatures slowly warming up bits of us which haven’t seen the light of day for a few months are going to start emerging. While there is nothing wrong with embracing your paleness, I always feel a (fake) tan does me the world of good in summer. A bit of colour just makes you look slimmer, sportier (I think I actually just snorted out loud) and healthier. Also summer brights and crisp whites all look best with a tan.
The things I look for in a tan are a natural colour (not too dark, never orange!), longevity (because I can’t be bothered to do it every third day) and ease of application (no fuss, mess or pussyfooting around).
Step 1: Exfoliate
The secret to getting the best final result is to exfoliate. Firstly, wait a day or two after shaving your legs. Then give your body a good scrub, focusing on the areas which get driest, like your knees and elbows. I always have a tub of the Caribbean Tan Cinnamon & Coconut exfoliator in my cupboard, but the Body Shop scrubs are the ones I use the most. They’re easy to get and come in so many scents. The new Virgin Mojito range is limited edition and coming out soon, so I definitely want to make this my go-to this summer. My special treat exfoliators are the ones from Rain. The scents are natural and unisex and very soothing.
I’m actually less fussy about which tanner I use for my body, as long as it meets the three criteria above. When Spring rolls around I usually like to start with a gradual tan moisturiser, which builds up a very light tan and gets your skin in good condition. I’m pretty lazy about moisturising my body in general, so this kills two birds with one stone. St Tropez (available at Clicks) is the priciest of the three, but worthwhile. My favourite however is the Palmer’s Natural Bronze. It smells like chocolate, the light tan develops quickly and it is under R100 at Dischem.
There are also a variety of formulas to choose from, some that offer an instant tan and others that develop over time. You can also choose between a spritzer, mousse or aerosol. There are even tanning wipes in the range. There’s something for everyone. I like the natural colour that develops, but these do have a ‘self tan’ scent to them. I find the tan in a can only lasts about three uses, whereas I get more uses from the spritzer.
Step 3: Face
As a naturally pale person I have had some trouble in the past with finding a really natural-looking facial tanner. I quite like the Xen Tan Face Tanner Luxe, which has a nice vanilla scent. I like that it’s tinted and gives some instant colour, but the shade isn’t 100% right for me. A long-time favourite of mine is the Clarins Liquid Bronze which you can just swipe on with a cotton pad at night. Everything about it is classy, down to the light, natural shade that you wake up with. My favourite facial tanner to date is the Vita Liberata Deep Face gradual tanner. It is as easy to apply as moisturiser and the colour is incredibly natural. I also love that it is virtually scent-free and fades very naturally too. It’s on the pricey end of the scale, but it is also organic and makes your skin feel so soft.