To Fake Or Not To Fake?

Is it better to be pasty or tangoed?

fake tan for against Katrina Barnes zoah hedges-stocks


Zoah Hedges-Stocks says: I have to admit, fake tan and I are not the best of pals. I am, in fact, slightly scared of it. My mother, as a springtime treat, once paid for my pasty legs to have the full-on St Tropez treatment.

Despite all the horror-stories you hear about fake tan, I was confident. Whilst I might be hopeless when it comes to anything that requires more than five minutes concentration, the smiling professionals with their smart white uniforms wouldn’t let me leave with less than perfect pins, would they? Sadly, my faith was misplaced. I was certainly a lovely colour at the end of the process – it just wasn’t the same all over.

The humiliation of looking like a baby giraffe stayed with me. Too impatient to faff about with sticky suncream and sitting outside, but too self-conscious to go without a tan, I gave in to the lure of the sun-bed. In fact, the suggestion of getting a tan the natural way was laughable to me – early summer is, for all of us, held hostage by exams. Outside is a foreign land where hostile breezes snatch your revision notes away. And fake tan, well, that is the tacky potion loved by tangerine glamour models, isn’t it? Clearly, frying in a Star Trek-inspired booth was the only sensible option for the time- and vitamin D-deficient student.
I came to my senses when my mother had to have a patch of suspected melanoma removed.

The shock was enough to make me rethink my long-standing aversion to fake tan. Freckles became sinister, not adorable, and that particular scene from the Final Destination film seemed a little too close to the bone. We all know the risks of too much sun-bathing, but it seems that our love of the slimming, eye-brightening, confidence-boosting effects of a tan are too much for us to resist. With the popularity of new at-home products that promise a gradual, subtle build-up of colour and a pampering experience, fake tan is starting to move beyond its old chavvy image. It’s time we did, too.


Katrina Barnes says: Being the official fake tan virgin that I am, I can say from personal inexperience that slapping on the bottled bronzer has never been an attractive prospect for me. I have refused several offers from friends to tan me up based on my naturally pale complexion – the result doesn’t bear thinking about. I’m a great believer in knowing what suits your skin tone. The amount of girls you see going around oompa-loompa style is horrendous – who on earth first thought that that would ever be a good look??

Okay so let’s take a typical Friday night scenario, one which I’ve often witnessed amongst friends before going out. Out comes the fake tan bottle. After hours of questioning everyone if they’ve missed a patch, checking they’ve got an even spread, getting the horrible, smelly stuff everywhere and trying to make the colour of their faces match that of the rest of their ‘just back from the Caribbean’ bodies, they’re off into town. Half way through the night it inevitably starts to rain: and let the streaking commence. All in all, what a waste of time.

Don’t get me wrong, I mean if you’re really that intent on being as brown as you possibly can then fake tanning has obviously got to be a much healthier option than baking for hours and eventually shrivelling like a piece of dried fruit, but really I just don’t get why people are so deeply unhappy with being pasty! When you flick through the fashion mags, do you ever see the models looking as though they’ve just emerged from a nasty situation in a Tango factory? No. Not cool.

As Olay once wisely said, love the skin you’re in, for Christ’s sake. You have your own skin tone because it goes with YOU. So get over it and stop buggering about with the bottled stuff I can guarantee that you’ll look better for it.