Get the Look: Fake tanning

Vogue Williams.

A new survey by St Tropez highlights Irish women’s fake tanning habits. Rachel Marie Walsh takes a look.

Ireland is awash with fake tan. Bare by Vogue Williams, which launched foam, lotion and instant tans in March, is by my count the eleventh brand specifically devoted to sunless bronzing both established and still selling here, including those registered in the North.

Irish women are the second biggest consumers of the stuff in the EU, according to 2017 figures, with only the Swedes outspending us. Over the last year, St Tropez-commissioned researchers asked 103 women around this country and 1,512 in the UK about their faux-tan habits.

A healthy glow

Over half of those surveyed who fake-tan do so “to look well” rather than even out their skin tone or appear to have been travelling. While tan is a sign of UV damage - i.e. not healthy at all - it can offset the sallow look skin gets when you’re not sleeping enough, for example. Some instant tans are luminous and further obscure flaws, as do finishing products like Victoria Secret Pink’s rose quartz-infused Bronzed Coconut Lotion, €17.80 at

Victoria Secret Pink Bronzed Coconut.
Victoria Secret Pink Bronzed Coconut.

Weddings are the occasion most women deemed tan-appropriate. If these are the only days for which you fake it, tan expert James Read has some tips on getting it right. “To avoid looking orange, apply a gradual tan for two days.

“Take a selfie using the flash and wearing a white t-shirt to make sure the tan suits you (if it is orange it will show). If you have gone overboard, use a steam room at your gym for 15 mins. This will take your tan down by one shade.”

St Tropez’s new Purity Bronzing Water Gel, €37.99, has a light sheen to guide application and keeps skin well-hydrated for up to 72 hours afterwards.

Free to be you and me

The survey is strangely concerned with how women judge and side-eye one another’s tans, even though 56% of those surveyed said they never do either. Did you know you are 16% more likely to get judgemental looks for your tan in Leinster than in Munster?

Judging is based mainly on evidence of poor application, the survey says. More troubling are findings regarding negative comments or insults about fake tan.

The latest launch from St Tropez.
The latest launch from St Tropez.

Just over 13% of women who have experienced negative comments, judging looks or insults say it stopped them from going out, with just as many saying they were prompted to use a sunbed instead.

Ten percent said that they immediately went home after these experiences.‘Tan-goraphobia’ occurs more in younger women, with over a quarter of women aged 16-24 who wear fake tan and have experienced negative comments, judging looks or insults because of it saying these reactions made them stay in, compared to under 9% of women aged 25-34.

This is just dreadful, hasn’t all of womankind seen Mean Girls at this point? To repurpose Cady’s epiphany at the maths competition: being nasty about another woman’s appearance won’t make you hotter.

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