Tans that come and glow

A wash-off colour is just the answer for our unpredictable weather where sunshine has been in short supply.

IF I need any illustration of summer’s unpredictability, all I have to do is look out the window. The cloudless blue sky bears no relation to the hideous autumnal rainstorm that I cycled through on my way to work this morning.

I don’t want to complain about good weather, but when it appears completely out of nowhere it can create a bit of a wardrobe crisis, and that’s been happening all summer.

Case in point a couple of weekends ago when the forecast promised rain all weekend. In reality, it was gorgeously sunny. Blisteringly so. My legs were unshaven and untanned, and my toe nails were horribly chipped and I was in no fit state to be frolicking around in a summer dress and sandals. I’ve learned my lesson: be prepared.

Over the last few weeks, when I don’t know if I’m going to be wearing wellies or sandals from one minute to the next, I’ve found one product that’s come in very handy indeed: wash-off tan.

Fake tanning is all very well, but it requires a lot of planning: you have to moisturise, exfoliate and then apply the tan (usually overnight). Not so good when you’re having unexpectedly sunny days thrown at you. But a wash-off only takes minutes to apply and there is no prep needed. And if somehow you make a complete hames of it you can quickly wash it off.

It’s easily the product I’ve used the most this summer. I use it on my feet when it’s not raining so I can wear sandals without offending anyone with my blue-white feet. The added bonus about wash-off tan is that it doesn’t stink. Hurrah.

Quite brilliantly, wash-off tan is fairly foolproof to apply. Even people who are complete eejits at applying regular fake tans can manage a wash-off. All you need is clean dry skin (don’t put on a heavy moisturiser or else the wash-off tan will find it hard to cling to your skin and will slip and slide).

The other rule to bear in mind is that you need to wait until its dry before dressing, and the length of drying time can vary, but 15 minutes would be the max. Despite promises, it can slightly stain pale clothes and it does stain your hands unless you wash them reasonably quickly (yes, it’s a wash-off tan but I’ve found some cling to my dry palms and are difficult to get off).

Down at the cheaper end of the spectrum, you’ll find Rimmel’s Sunshimmer very basic Instant Tan Make up, €7.95. Okay, this isn’t perfect and I’ve found it a bit tricky on larger areas of skin (legs for instance), but I’ve been using it on my feet all summer and it’s served me very well. It is one of those ones that can “stain” though, so wash your hands immediately, and keep it away from white blouses.

St Tropez cornered the self-tan market years ago thanks to its ability to nail the exactly right, “non-orangey” shade of tan that women wanted.

I still love its tan tone, and the Wash Off Instant Glow Body, €13.52 (feelunique.com), has never let me down. Shimmy over to Garnier’s Ambre Solaire Wash Off No Streaks Bronzer, €11.04 if you want a reasonably priced, foolproof option.

Get the right wash-off tan and you’ll always be ready to flash your skin - as soon as the sun comes out to play.


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