The trouble with fake tanning

fake tan

Sometimes fake tanning seems like a brilliant idea – a shortcut to looking healthy and glowing – yet in practice its application invariably turns into an absolute bloody nightmare, as Laura Ghafoor explains:

I used to fake tan all the time.

As a student I was rich, not only with funds (thank you, government, my loans were spent wisely) but also time. With 10 hours of lectures a week and a part-time job that provided 13 hours of somewhere to be, I had lots of time for ensuring my hair was sufficiently blonde, my nails perfectly manicured and my skin properly tanned.

I’m less practiced now that I have a real job and rarely have time to enjoy pruning myself (and when I do I often find that I’m in mismatched pyjamas drinking tea and eating microwaved takeaway, because having nothing to do and nowhere to be is such a novelty). But recently I did and I had a nightmare with it. So, here are things that all you ladies (and men, if it floats your boat) that have tanned will, at one point or another, have experienced.

Think of this as sharing it with the group.

You have the perfect tan then you shower and you’re either patchier than the 90s Glenn Close film or back to resembling everyone’s favourite friendly ghost.

You never have any idea how to tan your back. Never have. Never will. You’ve stretched to putting an aerosol can inside a tanning mitt and trying to contort yourself in the bathroom, but there’s still a big patch you can’t reach.

Certain parts of your body absorb the tan at different rates. So your knees and elbows are mahogany while your chest and shins are ‘pine’. Great.

You hope that no-one will notice the varying shades in the dark. Then wonder why on earth you bothered at all.

You lose your fake tan mitt and try to use a sock. Except afterwards your hands resemble Willy Wonker’s mates.

Or worse, you use gloves then have a very definite line separating your above and below the wrist regions (AKA your hand/arm).

You end up smelling like biscuits.

But despite it all, you feel like you belong on Next Top Model with a touch of glow.

There are two morals to this story:

One: It’s what’s on the inside that counts (but a tan does make you look healthier and more movie star-esque).

Two: It’s what’s inside that counts. Inside the bottle. So avoid the cheap shit brands like the plague if you want to stand a cat-in-hell’s chance of not looking like a comedy sketch character this weekend.



Words by Laura Ghafoor.