Quite understandably I get a lot of questions about my tan.

In the last few years I’ve become something of a travel obsessive, chasing adventures all over the globe, and along with a tatty passport that comes with a bit of a tan!

I must admit to cracking out the baby oil in my teenage years in an effort to take a shortcut to golden town (or golden taaaan, if you will). Naturally I ended up bright red, in pain and more peely than appealing.

So allow me to spare you my pain and share my summer skin must haves.

  1. A great facial sunscreen. Contrary to popular belief, sunscreen won’t leave you pale and ghostly, if anything it will lead to a slower baked tan which will last longer. Most importantly you’ll avoid the health risks, slow the ageing process and won’t end up looking like a leather handbag.

My current favourites are two by a Korean skincare company called “Thank You Farmer”.

Water Sunscreen goes on smoothly in place of moisturiser, no sticky residue, no clogged pores.

Then there’s Sun Essence which has a very slight shimmer to it, giving you an all over glow. Top with makeup if you like, but personally I think you’d look lovely as is. Better at home, when you don’t really need factor 50 (but if you’d rather, it comes in 50 too.)

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2. A great all over sunscreen. Don’t go thinking “I want to get brown! I’m going to use factor 6!” You’ll burn on the first day and spend the rest of the trip cowering under parasols and swimming in tshirts. I always start with a good 30 and then don’t go any lower than a 15. Pay particularly close attention to your neck, chest and shoulders as they’re out most of the time, even if you’re not laying out.

Some of my closest friends have much fairer skin than I do, so they never go below a 50. It’s really about working out what’s best for you. Just be sure to keep reapplying every time you swim.

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If I’m out on a boat all day (and not wearing anything white, as it stains) I wear P20. It lasts all day and *touch wood* I’ve never burned while wearing it.

3. A great moisturiser. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of being freshly showered after a day on the beach, conditioning your hair and smothering yourself in a good moisturiser.
It’ll make your tan last longer, too.

I’m currently obsessed with La Prarie’s Soufflé but it costs a pretty penny, this is also an excellent option.

4. Stay out of the sun when it’s over head. The idea that you need to sizzle like a sausage all day long to get a good tan is rubbish. Retire to the shade of a nice big parasol, take a book, have a snooze. Feel free to play around in the water, just don’t bake yourself all day. If you ask me, the best tans are caught after 4.

5. Of course the safest tan is a fake tan. It’s almost certainly cheaper, too!

Try a couple drops of this in your usual moisturiser, or go all out with a good scrub followed by a good layer of fake tan. In my experience, this is best done in twos. If you’re going on holiday with friends, have a pre-tan party. Good music, something nice to drink and you can get each other’s backs nice and even. Alternatively, I’m yet to meet a boyfriend who doesn’t love to give his lady a good thorough scrub down in the shower! Finish off with a swipe of tan and you’re good to go.

If you’re staying home be sure to exfoliate every 3 days (one of these is very handy), or you might get blotchy. If you’re on hols, it should wear off just about the same time as your real tan comes in, which is handy!

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Just remember that “getting a tan” is only desirable as a construct of our society’s frankly bizzare approach to beauty. While we’re over here using “gradual tanners”, the other side of the world is using “gradual whiteners”.

It’s all in our heads, all very silly, and yet the knowledge of this has little to no impact on my love of a golden glow and a smattering of freckles!

Go figure.

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