Fake Tan Fan?

4 min read

During my many years as a beauty writer, I have had many fake tans. Before I was a beauty writer, I had many fake tans.

I spent most of my teenage years, in the late 1980s, feeling completely let-down by my peely-wally Scottish skintone, and used anything at all to give me, what I thought, was a golden glow.

Thanks to Duo-Tan and the like back then, I ended up more orange than golden, but I was certainly glowing! So, when I started to use ‘proper’ fake tans as a beauty writer, I was more than happy to try them all – Fake Bake, St Tropez, spray tans, machine tans, applied by hand tans, at home tans – you name it I tried them.

And then, somewhere around 30, I stopped. I had had enough. My skin is pale. I learned to embrace the skin I am in, and love the pale. But, in the name of my job, I continue, from time to time, to have the odd fake tan moment.

With my wedding coming up, I was happy to try out a couple recently, with varying results. First up, I tried the latest tanning machine, the Opus 4. A little hairdressing salon near my home has installed the very latest in fake tan technology in the back room. Janet, who owns MacGregor’s Hairdressing, is a fake tan fan (and looks great, completely natural, had no idea it wasn’t her natural colouring!). So, the booth makes perfect sense. There are only a couple of this type of automated booth in Scotland.

Opus 4 tanning machine

I had had a machine tan before – and who isn’t familiar with them after that classic Ross from Friends moment? To avoid a Ross look, I opted for the light tan, from the machine, created, apparently, by someone who used to work for St Tropez. I am glad I did, because the light was well, not that light. My other half has already said that he would pay for me to have the dark, purely for the comedy factor…

Opus 4 tan machine

It’s very easy to use the machine – it tells you what to do. Once you step inside, and press the green button, there are really simple instructions to follow. You only have to turn around and raise arms in this machine – it does the rest, with a bar that comes out, and tans you in sections.

The guide colour was clear, so after tanning you don’t see anything – but it develops quite quickly. There were no streaks to speak of, but I did find that this tan patched quite badly after a few days. It didn’t smell too bad either, but that fake tan smell was most definitely there.

However, it takes just 10 minutes, and costs just £15, and if you need a tan quickly, I’d recommend this every time.

My second tan of the last few weeks came from Vita Liberata. I was lucky enough to have Clara, their VIP tanner (fresh from trying to tan Ed Sheeran at the BRITs!) come to my home and give me a lovely tan for the bank holiday weekend.

Again, I asked for light, and light was what I got. Clara popped up a tent, I stepped in, and she applied some barrier cream to certain parts of my body – hands, ankles etc, where the tan might be too strong. I was then guided how to stand as Clara airbrushed me with the Vita Liberata tan. An organic brand, Vita Liberata also claim their tan has no smell.

Vita Liberata Fake Tan

The initial application, with a tinted guide colour, was quite dark. But the guide colour washed off (although quite a lot of it came off on my sheets that night, before I showered in the morning), and the smell, thankfully washed off too. This tan has quite a strong smell before the first wash, but nothing once the guide colour was off – not a hint of fake tan smell at all. Which is a HUGE plus.

Once off, I felt the colour was a true light – a lovely light, natural looking tan, and expertly applied by Clara, there were no streaks at all. A few days later, the tan has patched a bit on my body – which is a bit annoying, and I’m not sure why. Maybe those who fake tan all the time can help me?

I’m not sure if either of these tans have convinced me to give up my pale look for summer, but both have their merits.

If you are looking for a fake tan there are LOADS of fantastic salons to choose from on 5pm Spa and Beauty.

For the Opus 4 tan, visit MacGregor Hairdressing, Edinburgh, and for your nearest Vita Liberata tan, visit vitaliberata.co.uk