An open letter to fake tan

An open letter to fake tan

I am writing an open letter

They seem to be all the rage so I feel compelled to write one. Not to my teenage self a la Victoria Beckham cause there’s no point now that I’m an adult. Not to any person who has done me wrong as there ain’t nothing I can do about that now. Not to a person at all actually. I am writing my open letter to an inanimate object in the hope I can begin to understand my obsession with having tanned skin.

Dear Fake Tan,

We have had a love affair for almost 30 years now and still I don’t understand you. We first met when I was only 14 years old and I had to wear ridiculous little pant things to athletics at school. My legs err on the blue side of white and there was a girl in my year at school who was olive skinned and I envied her, and I mean proper envy. And so began our 30 year relationship.

It started with a dabble in the world of Coty. The product, I recall was called Sunshimmer and it was an instant wash off baby that was easy to apply. Amazing, I thought. Except the tanning mitt hadn’t been invented, plastic gloves made it streak so using my hands to apply you seemed the best way. Haha. This product of yours washed off my legs in the rain but didn’t wash off my hands with soap and water. Go figure!

Disillusioned with you but still holding on to my dream of olive skin I discovered Lancôme flash bronzer. A tan that develops over time and gives a long lasting bronze glow. Again, haha. You made this one without a colour guide, meaning I had not a clue where it had been applied. Cue tiger stripe legs.

You may think you had got the better of me at this time but let me tell you, I’m a survivor. I persevered.

Clarins, Fake Bake, St Tropez, Dior, Clinique and on and on and on. Not one of these products gave me olive skin. I gave up on you now that I was old enough to use tanning beds and spent most of my 20’s on and off these wonderful creatures. Oh how sad I was when I found out they weren’t wonderful creatures at all. I tried to deny the ravaging effect the tanning machines may have on my skin but I couldn’t so I came crawling back to you in my early 30’s in the hope that you’d got your act together and found a way to make me olive.

You, my dear fake tan, had upped your game. Spray tan booths, spray tan tents, spray tan guns. Wow! New formulations, new expensive products, new techniques. I was so happy with your efforts, I tried them all. Well, likely not them all but a lot anyway.

You let me down. Time after time after time. Patchy bits of skin, orange knees, bizarre looking elbows, ginger eyebrows and the smell. Oh my god, the smell. You wrapped yourself around my body and left the aroma of a skunk.

I was left disappointed so many times that I almost gave up on you forever. I realise now it’s not your fault. You tried your best. My inability to accept I am a Scottish, pale skinned broad is really the issue here. So where are we now?

I still love you fake tan and I occasionally come back to you for special occasions. I’m happy to say your abilities are always improving and I’ve recently found some products that actually work without the orange, the streaky and the patchy. Sorry to bring this up but you really need to keep working on your hygiene cause you still stink.

Forever Yours


Ahhhhh, that’s better. Getting things off your chest sure does make a difference to your day. For those of you who, like me, can’t deal with pale skin here are some of the best self tanners in the current market

Applies like a dream, develops to a golden brown and big bonus is the SPF of 50
Marula Dry Oil Self Tan by Vita Liberata £39
All Over Bronzing Gel by Bobbi Brown £25
Rodial Brazilian Tan Airbrush £35
Deep Bronze Luxe by Xen Tan £28.99

And remember people, exfoliate well prior to tanning but do not moisturise, use sparingly on hands, feet, knees and elbows and use a tanning mitt. Happy tanning fellow pale skins.

love and hugs




6 thoughts on “An open letter to fake tan”

  • Just loved reading this – as a fair skin freckled
    redhead, I did all of the above!! I fake tanned to go
    to Italy 2 weeks ago – first time in about a year!
    Forgot how long it took, started off lovely looking
    at the start of the holiday then cracked and scaly
    by the end and back to white by the time I was
    home! Great wee read kezia x

    • Hi Ashley. I am making it my life’s ambition to find a tan that works flawlessly every time. I’ll let you know how I get on with that. Hope all well with you
      Kezia x

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