It seemed appropriate that, whilst I'm away in Florida sunning myself (but probably not tanning, let's be realistic), I post about my first ever experience with fake tan. Yes, you read that correctly! When I was invited by St Tropez for a spray tan (they're conveniently located in a quiet corner of Debenhams in Manchester city centre, or you can find your nearest location here) I was a little dubious and in all honesty I left the idea sitting in my inbox for a while, but after thinking it over I thought 'why not?!' I don't tan naturally and I'm far too frightened to try to fake tan myself (which thankfully saved me from what would probably have been some humiliating prom photos, if I'd tried it), so if I was ever going to see myself with a tan, this was my opportunity.
I'll keep this part brief - I had never had a spray tan before but everything was pretty much as I'd expected. Exfoliate the night before, don't use oil-based moisturiser on the day, remove your make-up and deodorant either before you go or when you get there, then stand in the little pod half naked (you can wear their paper knickers or keep your own on) for a few minutes. It is a little awkward, but the beauty therapists are so used to it that they make you feel as comfortable as is possible in the circumstances.
I got the 'classic' tan, which is the one that you have to leave for 8 hours to develop. This meant sleeping in it (which to my (pleasant) surprise didn't ruin my sheets as much as I had expected, only a few marks!) and watching myself get darker and darker throughout the evening. This part was worrying, but once I washed it all off in the morning it was fine.
I was honestly so pleased with the results of my tan! There were so few imperfections, and I was actually a very nice colour. Here's the important bit for pale people: the way St Tropez works is by adjusting itself according to your natural skin tone, so even though my tan was on for 8+ hours, it didn't carry on developing once it had reached the correct level for my natural colour. The tan itself is also a nice tone, rather than being at all orange or that delightful David Dickinson mahogany. I would say that I was quite noticeably tanned for around 4-5 days after application, but some areas lasted longer. These photos were taken the day after I washed off the tan. My main problem in this area was that the tan on my face faded much more quickly due to more thorough washing and cleansing - I avoided oil based products as advised, but I didn't want to forgo my skincare altogether.
In summary, I Don't think I'll be rushing to tan again any time soon because I just don't think it's very 'me' - I really liked how it looked on my body, but having a tanned face was just rather strange, and you definitely can't do one without the other. Perhaps when summer comes around I'll be tempted, and in the event that I was I would definitely go back to St Tropez!
My Top Tips for Pale Skin Tanning
From my brief tanning experience, my tips for myself next time around (and therefore my tips for any other pale gal thinking of taking this very daunting step) would be:
Follow instructions - exfoliate before your tan, don't shave your legs within 24 hours of your appointment, etc. Simple really!
Make sure you have an oil free moisturiser; if you don't then St Tropez do sell their own and are currently offering a free spray tan when you spend £30 on their products.
Make sure you have some darker foundation ready - I was very fortunate that I had a few foundation sample pots that were too dark for me knocking around, because if I had used my usual shade I would have looked quite ridiculous! You could do this by asking for a sample at a make-up counter after your tan, or going before your tan and asking for something a shade or two darker. The thing I found most difficult about the fading tan was getting my foundation to match it each day, but managed to keep it about right by mixing darker shades with my usual foundation and using more bronzer than I would normally.
I hope this post has been helpful! I'm still going to be embracing pale, but I am now much more open to the idea of a tan than I ever was. If you're pale skinned but tan regularly, do you have any more tips? If you're a tan novice, are you inspired to give it a go?