Updated: Oct 27, 2020
With most of us unable to jet off on holiday this summer, fake tan is going to be your new best friend - and Amanda Harrington's self-tan products are all you need
This is Amanda Harrington - she knows what she's doing when it comes to tanning
‘ARE YOU BIKINI READY?’ yell the cover lines on women’s magazines come June, and I don’t know about you but my answer is always ‘no, not really’ because I haven’t worn a bikini since The Spice Girls topped the charts and you'd never heard of sourdough bread. I’m 47, and due to inflammatory bowel disease I’m often bloated, and being bloated in a bikini is not a good look. Heart surgery at the age of four left me with a scar from one side of my ribcage to the other that was meant to have been hidden by boobs, but since they didn’t grow as much as I’d hoped the scar has always been visible, particularly the V-shaped, pinched peak right in the middle of my breastbone which my distinct lack of cleavage fails to hide. Throw into the mix three bouts of bowel surgery 20 years ago that left 12-inch vertical scars from my sternum to - well, as far as it can go - plus a slight tug of my belly button to one side from where my stoma used to be. If you don’t know what a stoma is, do look it up - but not when you’re eating, especially strawberries or salami. You’ll see.
I’m at all ashamed or embarrassed by my scars but I just don’t go on beach holidays. My husband, Gautier, hates the beach (he doesn’t even own a pair of shorts, he is quite special) and I prefer swimming in the pool to sitting around it. I’m too pale and too fidgety to sunbathe.
The only exception was back in 2003 when I’d recovered from my third bowel operation and wanted to celebrate being alive and stuff like that. I flew to Las Vegas (totally against doctor’s orders but there you go) for the biggest rockabilly music festival, wore a skull and crossbones bikini that I bought over there and told anyone who stared at my raised, red scars (which was pretty much everyone as the hotel was packed with ‘50s perfect pin-up types in their vintage one-piece swimsuits) that I’d been mauled by a bear or chewed by a shark - whichever lie took my fancy at the time. Ha. As my scars have faded, my tummy has become less - how can I put it? - toned. Shit happens, especially when you hit 45. So, a tummy-control swimsuit (oh god, I’m so middle-aged, kill me now) means I can drink cold beers and eat more snacks when I am poolside and don’t have to stop breathing when I stand up, which is a bonus as I quite like breathing. These are my pale legs (yes those are real tattoos, no I don't regret having them done). We were in the South of France doing non-sunbathing stuff. See?
Naturally ghost-pale thanks to my Irish, Jewish, Swedish and Scottish heritage (yes, it’s a handful) I don’t tan well and burn easily. My face, arms, knees and feet go brown and freckles appear, but my legs JUST WON’T TAN. You know how you jellyfish veins are visible because jellyfish are basically see-through? That. You may well experience the same angst. For this reason I’ve been using fake tan during summer since I can remember - particularly before setting off to the South of France for our annual summer holiday with my French in-laws. I’ve tried a handful of brands, from the in-shower St Tropez that left me shivering while I counted down the minutes until I could wash it off, to the similarly-named St Moriz that I was surprised worked so well given that it was so cheap. This summer, however, I won’t be going on holiday at all (I’m shielding, so even if Jason Bateman invited me to spend a week in the Ozarks with him I’d have to turn him down as I'd be too scared of catching coronavirus on the plane. Plus Donald Trump wouldn't let me in but Jason Bateman could probably get around that if Donald Trump likes Arrested Development. Actually, scrap that, I’d risk catching it for a week with Jason Bateman) so that means it’s all about the fake tan. Many of us will miss out on our summer holiday so it’s a good time to do some DIY and pick the product that works for you. I was kindly sent a kit from tanner-to-the-stars Amanda Harrington to try and I’m going to say right now, before I forget, that IT IS ABSOLUTELY DIVINE.
Amanda is one of the beauty industry’s most respected and innovative sunless tanning experts. True story. Her personalised and modern approach to tanning has earned her a cult following and an A-list client roster in the USA and London. Now the rest of us can achieve the same golden glow as Hollywood’s finest - think more Jennifer Aniston than Katie Price, more Greek Island than Love Island.
I used The Body Set 3-Step Tanning Method (£85.00) in Natural Rose. You can work out your skin tone on the website so there’s no danger of you ending up too bronzed. The kit comprises the pre-colour Body Primer, Illuminating Body Mousse and Big Body Brush. The Body Primer contains a low-level tanning agent to help prolong the life of your tan. It’s also packed with collagen and hyaluronic acid that plumps the skin, helping to improve elasticity. You can also apply it a few days into your tan to give your glow a boost.
The award-winning Bronzing Body Mousse (£36) is a non-drip, easy-to-blend soufflé formula containing hyaluronic acid and green tea extract to hydrate and re-awaken the skin. I mean, come ON. How fancy is that?
This stuff is the business. Also, nails are Hyacinth Bucket by Glossworks
So how does the product differ from other fake tans, and does it justify its price?
After priming you create an initial base tint by working the Bronzing Mousse across your body in sections using the application gloves provided. Then you go over your skin with the softest of all soft brushes which gives the most fabulous coverage and means you can reach those tricky spots like your between your shoulder blades and around your neck and ears – hands up who always ends up with white ears? Just me, oh, OK.
The product blends so well and you can feel the moisturising elements of it as you blend. I kind of knew I would end up without streaks, and I’m the kind of cack-handed idiot who ends up with a white face and tanned palms, so trust me when I say it’ll give you a flawless finish.
Here’s what my once-white legs looked like after I’d showered the product off. Get a load of that colour – two weeks in the Maldives, madam? Nope, but thanks for asking. Most fake tans don’t give much coverage on my palest bits but this system had my yelling, ‘It’s given me holiday boobs!’ because they had gone from Tippex white to sun-kissed in a matter of hours. I couldn't get my feet right as they were really tanned with flip-flop marks (doh!) but another quick go over those bits would have done the job.
More to the point, there was not a streak in sight. Not one! It lasted well, too – around five days and eventually faded naturally rather than in patches. Yes, it’s pricey compared to other brands, but it really is worth it and, of course, it’s also cruelty-free and vegan. What are you waiting for?
Buy now from: https://www.amandaharrington.com
If you’d like to know more about Amanda’s super self-tan products, hop over to my interview with her in ‘Behind The Brand: Amanda Harrington’