As readers of my personal blog know all too well, I suck at applying fake tan. I mean, I say, "I suck" – I’ve had my fair share of good fake tan experiences too, it has to be said, and at one point I considered myself quite the expert on fake tan application, using gradual tanners frequently during the summer months, and usually managing not to end up looking like some strange, streaky orange thing.
These days? Not so much.
The truth is, I’m much too lazy to deal with the constant upkeep of a fake tan job, so I tend to leave it until the last minute, then rush it and make a mess. This got to the stage earlier this year when I spent the week before my vacation to Florida trying to use nail polish remover to get rid of fake tan streaks, and decided that enough was enough: I would remain pale and, um, interesting.
Well, that resolution lasted for a few weeks, and then this weekend, Mr Dollface and I headed south for a couple of days, to attend the christening of my friend’s baby. I knew the weekend would involve wearing dresses, and when I tried these dresses on in the comfort of my own home and realised that the whiteness of my legs was dazzling, I knew something would have to be done. And that it wouldn’t involve fake tan.
Now, this is exactly what it sounds like: a fake tan makeup that works instantly, and washes off. There’s no walking around naked while the tan develops, no anxious wait to see if it’s streaky or not, no obnoxious smell, just the promise of an instant tan that will wash off in the shower.
Sounds good, no? And actually, it is good…
The first time I tried this, I was a little concerned, because it came out of the tube looking a little like treacle, only runnier, so I was slightly concerned that it would be way too dark, but it wasn’t. Once I’d rubbed it into my legs, it left a pleasant, bronzed glow that looked natural to me. So far, so good.
The lotion is easy to apply: just smooth it on like body lotion, and make sure you apply it evenly, to avoid streaking. You don’t want to rub too hard, or you’ll take it right back off again, but it’s actually very easy to use, and although it dries fairly quickly (so you don’t have the whole "walking around naked" scenario to deal with), it doesn’t dry so quickly that you can’t correct any mistakes you make.
The result is a soft, natural looking tan, which is much subtler than you would think when you see the makeup come out of the tube. Obviously you can build up your tan by applying a few more layers, but even when I layered it on, the end result was still fairly subtle, and I’d say it took the edge off my pallor rather than making me look like I’d been lying on a beach for a week. This was the result I was after, but it may not be dramatic enough for some of you, which is something to bear in mind.
Speaking of drama, there’s also a shimmery version of this available: I chose the matt finish because I was going to a christening and I didn’t think shimmer would be appropriate in church.
As mentioned above, Golden Shimmer washes off in the shower. What it doesn’t do, I was pleased to find, is rub off onto your clothes. I was a little worried about this, but the first time I tried it out, to test it, I put my jeans on right after, and the makeup stayed put. The second time I wore it, I forgot I had it on and went to bed without washing it off (yes, I know… I had showered earlier that day, though – I’m not completely filthy), but there wasn’t a trace of it on the white bedsheets the next morning, either.
Actually, this weekend proved to be a very good test, because the weather was very hot and sweaty, and I was worried that I’d end up with rivers of fake tan makeup running down my legs, but I’m pleased to report that didn’t happen either.
Overall: A really good fake tan makeup that loses points only because I think it’ll be too subtle for some people.
Buy: Boots Golden Shimmer Instant Tan, £2.95