I love a good tan. Sadly my body doesn’t agree with me. It never has.
Nowhere did I feel this more acutely than during my all-girls school years. While friends would return from a summer in St Tropez with midriffs bronzed to perfection, I’d be slapping on the aloe vera after fish and chips on the English seaside.
Photo by EEPaul
I’d spend days nurturing my skin, working in the aftersun like a French pâtissier with a batch of prized dough.
Then I’d peel, burn and blister. And then I’d start all over again.
Now all you naturally caramel born beauties can shush now. Sure, beauty comes in all different shades. You’ll lecture me on how in many societies, fair is lovely. You’ll tell me how we English roses should embrace the pale.
Bla, bla, bla.
So why does a mocha coloured belly wobble less than an identically sized Colgate white one? How come, nine times out of ten, does a honey hued bikini bod appeal more than a chalky white number?
Perhaps its an optical illusion, a magic trick fooling the pheromones?
Well, if choosing skin colour were as easy as a trip to the paint shop, make mine a chai latte.
Pale screams anaemia, sickness and depravity. A subtle tan seductively whispers refinement, affluence, glamour.
And subtle it must be. Overdo it on the shade card and suddenly you’re transported into Essex acrylic nail and yellow hair extensions territory.
A few years ago I found myself in India for a best friend’s wedding. Adhering to the sari dress code meant I’d have to bear my midriff, but *screams inside* I’d forgotten my favourite body bronzer.
I shopped high and low, from mall to market, from salon to supermarket. Time and again I was asked why on earth I’d want to go brown anyway. Others misunderstood my quest, assuming I wanted to go a shade paler and showed me to the racks of whitening creams. One lady rubbed my belly to see if the white would rub off.
Leave it to the professionals. Photo by rajivvishwa
In the end I emergency dialled a friend who was on a later flight to pick me up something from the airport. The product wasn’t ideal. It smelt of plasticine and left streaks where I worked up a sweat (wannabe Bollywood dancing).
Since then I’ve grown older, wiser and… paler. I’ve shopped around. I’ve tried wipes, sprays, creams and supplements.
Then a beauty journalist friend let me in on this wonder product – Green People Self Tan Lotion. It’s super quick to dry (we’re talking minutes), gives the most gentle natural looking colour I’ve ever come across and doesn’t rub off in blotches if you fancy a bit of Bhangra.
If ever I get invited to a school reunion I’ll be applying this the night before. And yes, I may well have just come from St Tropez, but my tan certainly won’t have.
Green People Self Tan Lotion £18 for 150ml.