Are you browned off? Looking a bit pasty are we? Or browned off? As part of WALESONSTYLE week, here's the self-tanning debate from both sides of St Tropez.
'I TAN TO MAKE MYSELF FEEL BETTER', ADMITS TYLER MEARS Fake tan is everywhere. Literally, as I'm typing this it's everywhere (my keyboard looks like I've tipped coffee over it).
Tanning has become an essential part of my daily routine and I love it. I brush my hair, tan, clean my teeth, tan, shower, tan... Well, you can see where this is going. I have the ability to stay tanned all year round in a country that rains... all year round.
I can indulge myself in sun-kissed fantasies of faraway exoticness without forking out on flights or having any vaccinations.
I can spend a week in Fiji and get a gorgeous deep tan and the next week escape to the South of France, all by buying a PS20 bottle of St Tropez.
And it's not just for women. Reality programmes like The Only Way is Essex and Geordie Shore have led to an expansion in the male tanning industry and a lot of men today have better beauty regimes than my hair, tan, teeth, tan, shower, tan system.
A survey in June this year revealed that just over half of British men use fake tan and 13% of Welsh men tan on a regular basis - a lot of them also have better eyebrows than I do.
But on a more serious note, there is another shade to this tanning argument. I tan to make myself feel better.
Everyday, pictures of flawless-looking, tanned women are beamed down upon us like rays from the sun. Front pages of magazines, television adverts, the judgemental make-up lady in Boots. They all continuously tell us about the benefits and beauty of tanning.
It makes you look thinner, healthier, evens your skin tone, boosts your self confidence.
This constant stream of body consciousness is like sunburn, except you can't get rid of it with Aloe Vera oil.
In reality, tanning won't get rid of your stretch marks or make you any healthier but it might cover them for a while, whether its physically or emotionally.
Beauty is more of a feeling than a product in a jar and if tanning makes me feel that little bit better about myself, well everything else just pales in comparison.
PALE'S INTERESTING, SAYS FORMER SELF-TANNER RACHEL MAINWARING My gran always told me that pale is interesting and, do you know what, she was right.
I've been "blessed" with the pale skin genes in the family but it's taken me a long, long time to come to terms with them.
When the sun first starts to make an appearance in the late spring, summer, I inwardly wince at the thought of getting my legs out.
They are usually so white at that point they are almost transparent and no amount of sunshine will change that fact - not since I burnt my shins so badly at Barry Island after an impromptu sunbathing session, they literally turned scarlet, stung for days and days and then peeled like a limp orange.
That day, I had to wave goodbye to any hope of any natural tan on the legs again. So I did what all sensible tan lovers should do.
I turned to fake tan thinking it would be the answer to all my vanity problems. But it wasn't. Because, when it comes to applying fake tan to one's body, I am the world's worst.
Having tried a vast array of different makes and textures - from mousse to cream to lotion - I've decided I was never meant to look tanned in the first place.
I've even tried one of those airport tans - when you simply go into a spray tan booth and listen to the instructions, like left arm up, legs apart, that kind of thing, but even that failed miserably.
You are supposed to emerge like a Greek goddess, all evenly tanned whereas I came out with a completely white right-hand side and the palms of my hands looked like they'd been dipped in fence creosote.
The poor girls behind the counter did their level best to save me by scrubbing my palms but to no avail. I didn't half get funny looks at the dinner dance that night.
So, I've learned my lesson. I'm 40, I have lily white skin and I've decided to be proud of it.
Plus, I've found a lovely alternative that I swear by. M&S footless tights - my beauty secret - which means I still get to show off my painted toenails throughout the summer, without anyone needing glasses when they look at my pins. Perfect!
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|Publication:||Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)|
|Date:||Aug 1, 2015|
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