Ok, so cat’s out of the bag, I’m naturally pale as pale can be. Casper is basically my spirit animal. And whilst I don’t all out hate my fair skin, I do feel for those people who have to see me (sans sunglasses) in those summer months when the only way to survive the Aussie heat is to strip off. I don’t mean getting butt naked but I’m talking about losing the sleeves and pants and opting for singlet and shorts options instead. I’ve never really been able to naturally achieve a tan as I’m lucky enough to have the skin that burns, peels and then reverts back to its pale self with the addition of a few freckles (thanks mum!), so I’ve had to rely on fake tanners when I want to look a little less white. Also, in fairness (ha! #punny) I am a bit of a sucker for protecting my skin so I don’t go out in the sun much and when I do, try to avoid getting burnt at all costs. So with Summer scratching at our heels, I thought what better time to talk about tanning (the fake way!).

I’ve been slapping tan on since the ripe old age of 13. Now hold up! Before you think I was actually socially aware of my pale skin at that age let me clarify that it was actually for dance comps. We ballroom dancers like to go overboard on the tanning side of things and it is just as important as hair or makeup on the big day as those UV lights are not our friends. I used to use a horrid orange stain called ‘Contest Colour’ that was a liquid you basically rolled onto your body with a small foam paint roller (not joking) and then stood around like a starfish ’til it dried and you could apply however many more coats. It was horrible, kids at school used to call me Oompa Loompa which was never my favourite nickname, no matter how fitting! And worse yet it used to take weeks to scrub that stuff off. I tried everything ranging from rubbing cut lemons on myself in the shower, toothpaste, and soaking in the bath and it just wouldn’t budge. When it did eventually start to wear off, you wish it wouldn’t as it would go patchy and horrible and leave your skin so dry and sore. Aaah the things ya do for dancing hey!? But times have changed and luckily now there are brands out there willing to help us pale folk resemble a more bronzed, holiday-y version of ourselves without leaving us looking like burnt oranges. I now have a few go-to favourites that I love and are super easy to both purchase and use and better yet, people don’t realise I’m wearing it! Triple winner!!

First up, it’s a bit of an old fave. Good old Le Tan Fast Tan in Deep Bronze. Le Tan was my first ever fake tan brand  that I used to buy for a ‘non competition’ tan. Meaning I wanted to look like a person, not a dancer with patchy tan feet (you fellow dancing gals know what I’m talkin’ ’bout!) I was probably around 17 and chose Le Tan because it was the cheapest (ha ha don’t judge!) but it actually turned out to be awesome! I usually apply this one with gloves as it’s a type of instant brown moisturiser that develops more colour over time. I also used to use another product by Le Tan which isn’t instant and goes on clear and develops gradually over a few hours, which is nice but I find it too risky not being able to see where I’ve put it! So the bad news, unfortunately this product had been discontinued but they do still have the Fast Tan in a Can version. Le Tan has done a bit of a revamp on its products and now has some new instant and gradual tanners containing Argan Oil or Coconut water. I assume they are very similar to the Fast Tan products they used to stock but now have maybe been slightly improved as I feel like the brand is always changing and upgrading which is nice. Definitely going to give the new products a try as I assume they will be very similar to the Fast Tan but maybe slightly more moisturising. I love the Le Tan products as they are an Aussie brand and are always reasonably priced and never leave me looking orange. Le Tan is stocked at Priceline and their products range from around $8AUD to $20AUD. Extremely reasonable and the colour of this product is great!

Next up is a relatively new tan that I just tried last week and luuuurved (loved). It’s by the brand Vani-T and it’s the Brazilian Bronze Self Tan Mousse. Its Australian made, cruelty free and whats great about it is its ready to go in 1 hour! That shit is speedy!! The consistency is like a brown foam and I applied it with a tanning mitt from the same company. I’d heard a lot about tanning mitts from other dancers and friends but hadn’t really jumped on the bandwagon but NOW I GETCHA! They are awesome and they really buff the tan in beautifully. It was a little tricky doing my back with it, but nothing some contortionist skills can’t handle.. otherwise best to grab a loved one to do it for you 😉 So, you apply it and can simply rinse off an hour later for a light tan, 2 hours later for a medium tan, and 3-4 hours later for a darker tan. I only ever really want a light tan with my red hair, so I washed it off after an hour and a half. Just a note with this stuff, washing off the excess caught me by surprise. I got out of the shower and I looked like streaky bacon.. not the look I was going for. Devo, as I thought it was the tan’s fault (obviously) I went on to apply some moisturiser and realised maybe I hadn’t rinsed it off well enough. I hopped back in the shower and rather than just letting the water hit my skin (which is usually enough) I washed my skin with some body wash and a loofah and that did the trick! No more streaks, just gorgeous glowy skin. You can buy this tan and the mitt online at salonstyle.com for $37.95 and $11.35 respectively. It’s definitely worth a try!

Lastly my absolute favourite tanner, the Bondi Sands Self Tanning Lotion in Dark. This is SUCH a good tan guys, everything from the colour, the smell and the way it wears off is 10 out of 10! Similar to Le Tan I use the product that is instant and I buy the darkest colour. I haven’t tried the light to medium colour but what I do to make the colour less intense is pop it on (with my disposable gloves) and the wash off the excess 2-3 hours later. You can leave the product on for up to 6+ hours. Don’t be alarmed when you first apply this tan though because you will look pretty dirty and green. Also similar to the Le Tan products the Bondi Sands tan’s have a green undertone which is what you want when looking for a self tanner as this is what looks most natural. Anything throwing off too much orange looks fake. It smells like coconuts and when you wash away the excess will leave you looking like a bronzed goddess! The colour is really natural and whats better is the way it fades. It doesn’t at all go patchy and simply fades away like a natural tan (or so I assume?) unlike the previous two tanners I mentioned, which don’t fade badly but are prone to a little bit of patchiness. Bondi Sands has quickly become known as Australia’s number 1 tan and I can see why! It’s available at most pharmacies in Australia and I’ve even seen it in the UK! I bought mine at Priceline here in Oz and it retails at $19.99… BARGAIN!

As a sort of personal tip, I never apply fake tan to my face. This is just a personal preference as I had a pretty awful experience as a 14-year-old after getting spray tanned for a competition and the lady did my face. At first it was just funny because it was so brown but after a couple of days it started to go really patchy and horrible and I was so embarrassed! I remember Mum having to put a bit of foundation on me just to get me to go outside #SCARRED!! From that day I’ve never tanned my face as I feel it’s just as easy to get the face up to scratch with makeup. Otherwise when I’m not made up I’m usually at home where I don’t mind having a brown neck and white face 😉 So it’s totally personal choice, but I’m not a fan.

A few tips and tricks for the novice tanner:

  • Always make sure to exfoliate the skin beforehand. I use some scrubbing gloves and/or my cactus brush from The Body Shop.
  • Tan using disposable gloves or a mitt and go easy on ankles, knees and elbows. If you like you can apply moisturiser to these areas beforehand because they like to go browner than the rest of the body 😉
  • Wear loose or silky garments while tan is developing and relax. An obvious one, but don’t decide to go out for an afternoon jog or participate in any sweaty activity for that manner!
  • STAY AWAY FROM WATER!
  • Once you’ve washed off the excess, make sure to pat dry with a towel and then be sure to apply a HEAVY amount of moisturiser. I love the Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Body Lotion.
  • Keep lightly exfoliating and moisturising throughout the week after tanning and your skin should stay pleasant and lovely and not start to resemble Ayers Rock.. been there!

Well I hope you got something out of this post! Any other fake tans out there that people love? Hit me up below!

Love, Rachelle xx