Great British Fake Off



The idea of waking up, in tan stained sheets, smelling of digestives isn’t something that has ever really appealed to me. But, as a sun-deprived final year student, I’ve decided that now is the time to take the plunge into what I fear to be a sticky, smelly and offensively orange gunge. And, luckily, due to the fact that I have never fake-tanned, my fake-tan loving sister was more than excited at the prospect of tanning me.

So, armed with a bottle St. Moritz from Home Bargains (£2, high-class) my sister began to apply what was a surprisingly smooth foam to my face and body. Once done, I was instructed to wear baggy old clothes and wait six hours before washing it all off. Six hours is a really long time to hide from the outside world and it bought back some severely distressing and unwelcome memories of being housebound by revision. So I went shopping, into Nottingham city centre looking like a homeless version of Ross Geller. Thankfully I didn’t have any unfortunate run-ins with people I’m currently avoiding, an accomplishment I consider to be somewhat of a miracle in a place as small as Nottingham and more crucially, Lenton.



So, three hours later I washed off what had become increasing orange and I found myself pleasantly surprised. The smell isn’t as strong as that coming from a McVities factory and I do look healthier. Gone is my exam-term complexion, which is unbearably similar to Moaning Myrtle’s, now I’m as sun kissed as Millie Mackintosh. We’ll that’s taking it too far, but I do feel better and I HATE to admit that I like fake tan but I think I might.

I was warned that this would happen. However, I think I’ll be able to resist addiction. Whilst I’m enjoying being instantly tanned I do love seeing how naturally brown I can go. Plus, the satisfaction from people telling me that I look tanned is so much better when it is real, when it’s St. Moritz I find myself having to guiltily receive the complement knowing it’s as fake as Katie Price.

These feelings bring with them relief. One of my friends explained his girlfriend’s fake tan addiction was “massively ramping up her insecurities about being pale because she’s aspiring to societies unachievable and unobtainably high level of “beauty.”” So much so that she has been applying more every single day so that she doesn’t ever dip below a certain shade of beige. This story isn’t an isolated case of FTA (Fake Tan Addiction), according to St. Tropez online, the self-tanning sector is the fastest growing of all those within the UK’s £19 billion health and beauty industry. Both British men and women are choosing to spend their money on fake-tan, a product that they believe increases their confidence, but really makes true self-acceptance harder.


We need to be more confident about who we naturally are. I like to think that one day we’ll look at this generation’s overdependence on fake tan and laugh at it the same way we do the perms of the 80s. Indeed, with the new focus upon a more naturally chic Chelsea tan rather than that of the exaggerated Essex, we could argue that the fake age is over.

But this just isn’t so. Whilst the worship of the deep tan might be over, the golden, healthy and natural tan is here to stay and whilst the Binky’s and Lucy’s of this world can just drop everything for a few rays of vitamin D from Cannes, Morocco or Barcelona, the rest of us will just have to settle for a spray from the infamous tan-in-a-can.

Elizabeth Hutton


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