Wednesday, 26 May 2010

The Lancaster Tortoiseshell Tan Disaster

I'm 27 years old, I've fake-tanned a zillion times: I know the process. Why then, when I look down, or across, or behind, am I confronted by a tortoiseshell tan? Because Lancaster's Fast Dry Bronze Water Spray is flipping impossible to use, that's why.

It's a spray – but not an aerosol – which means you have to pump it. Common sense tells you, if you're after consistent coverage, a pump action is far from ideal. Not to mention your finger feels like it's going to fall off by the time you're halfway done. 

The box has all of two lines of instructions, and no inner leaflet, so I wasn't sure if I was meant to mist from afar, close-up, rub in or not touch. In fact I still don't know. I soon found out that the spray has so much alcohol in it there's no chance of rubbing it in – it would be like trying to rub in a perfume. 

The first time I used it I had actual ovals of tan where the mist had hit my skin: I looked like Gwyneth Paltrow after a particularly vigorous 'cupping' session. By this point I was committed; join the dots or be stuck wearing jeans on the hottest days of the year so far. 

Second application. Still uneven; some areas way too brown, others untouched. Time to call in reinforcements, aka my mother. Still wearing my bikini from a day in the garden I stood on the lawn at dusk and got my mum to mist me with yet another layer of the damn stuff. 

You're probably thinking 'Step AWAY from the fake tan', but the only thing keeping me going (besides from attempting to erase the tortoiseshell effect) was the lovely nut-brown colour some of the more promising patches were turning. It's the colour I'd love to be – not too yellow, not too orange, just golden brown and lovely. I would persevere. 

Having been gassed in the garden by half a bottle of spray tan I crossed my fingers and went to bed dreaming of Jennifer Aniston's tawny tan. 

Even after three applications in around four days my tan isn't even. (I'm sighing heavily as I write this as I know I'll have to use the rest of the bottle.) For quick-drying, smelling pleasant and giving a good colour, this is a great product. None of that matters though when the formulation is delivered in an impossible to use primitive pump contraption that you might as well have fashioned yourself out of an old soap dispenser. I'd consider trying another Lancaster fake tan, purely because of the great colour, but it would have to be a cream.  

Please note: in real life I am a lot more tanned and a lot more patchy than my legs appear in this photo. My belly looks like some kind of caramel swirl icecream.


  1. I *seriously* feel your pain on the old fake tan front. I'm not tortoiseshell (a new fashwan trend?) but I am well, a bit orange and patchy and getting fed up!

    I'm a lazy fake tanner though so I fully accept it's my fault that I'm multi-tan-coloured. I use the tan moisturising stuff and slop it on willy nilly when I feel a bit pasty, alternating between the dark tan stuff and the lighter sunkissed mflotto. I hate it though because it's such a bloody faff. Don't think I'd ever be able to use a proper fake tan as knowing my luck I'd turn into an oompah loompah!

    Completely ridiculous about the pump action - #Faketanfail!

  2. It reminds me of the episode of friends when Ross had his fake tan disaster in the tanning booth.

    Would love to hear how you get on with the cream.

  3. I simply wish I had skin like Eva Mendes - is that too much to ask?! Don't answer that.

    I love that episode. I'm an EIGHT on the FRONT! I once used a spray-tanning booth where the thing broke and simply sprayed me with air. I wandered out into the lobby to tell the bloke it hadn't worked and he tried to convince me that the mist was 'very fine'. Um, I know the difference between air and mist, mate!

  4. fine mist? lol, he could have at least told you that it was an oxygen boost for your skin to prepare for the tan and that you had simply left too early.

    Hmmmm, I need a second career as a professional liar I think.

    K x x

  5. Hah, I am always so scared of the tanning stuff that comes in spray bottles - I actually have a garnier spray one and haven't dared to use it lest I end up tortoise-shelled too! I think the garnier one is aerosoled/comes out in a fine mist rather than pumps of product but still!! You were very brave to go over your legs 3 times... I think the instant/wash-off-at-the-end of the day stuff still wins. (Gradual tanners smell horrible, take ages to develop and never turn out the right colour) xxx

  6. I never get on with self tan sprays. I always end up looking RIDIC! I have found for me the best way to use a proper full on self tan is to use one of the everyday ones for a week or so before hand, to take the blue edge off so to speak. That way, any stripes I accidentally leave will only reveal a soft biscuit beige colour as opposed to a fluro-white.
    If it has to be spray, I have a Fake-bake spray tan done by a professional, boobs and all (tart) and they never streak.

    Failing that, Ronseal?


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