We need to talk about Fake Tan

Post by CM

As we all know now, having been immersed in a land-hugging cloud for the last few days, the sun is on its way back and this weekend is going to be a scorcher. Because we’ve been kept indoors this past while, I’m in no doubt that a great deal of you will have been, like me, preparing for parading outside again, in sundresses and sandals and shorts and t-shirts and espradilles, oh my!


For we of the fairer persuasion this means preparing the skin, neglected and allowed to fade back into its pinkish/bluish/greyish tinge. Now, I would usually just embrace the paste – perhaps sometimes a quick wipe of trusty Sally H if I feel like whiling away five minutes of my 20 minute prep time – but because I’m so excited about the return of the summer I’m willing to go the whole hog and slather a stinky brown mousse all over myself in the hope of faking a healthy glow.


This is partly due to the situation I found myself in a couple of weeks ago, in Galway. For the first time in ages I wore a dress, and along with my trusty tights, I scrubbed up quite nicely, in my own humble opinion. That is until they inevitably ran (away with my dignity) and I had no choice but to expose the pins that, though useful for getting around and stuff, were designed with functionality only in mind. So I was left shivering in legs that goosepimple at the merest whisper of a breeze, purple, knobbly knees decorated with scars from my tri-cycling days and fine hairs that I had forgotten to attack with a razor. The horror!

A friend of mine had been talking about a new, Irish made tan-in-a-can called Cocoa Brown One Hour Tan. It’s sold in Penneys or pharmacies nationwide (I got mine in my local chemist for €6.95). It’s cheap. And the best thing is that it claims not to smell of biscuit! At that price, and with that promise, I was sold.


In the interest of research, and for a test run I could cover up with sleeves and pants if needed, I tried it out last week. A quick shake of the can produces a huge dollop of mousse, which is then applied with a mitt wherever you want it to go, even the face, which I’m usually reluctant to do due to my sensitive problem skin. But I did, and no reaction of note was recorded. It dries really quickly, so all of this needs to be done briskly. Being a novice fake-tanner I was left with streaks, which I had to go over again to ‘rub-out’ as it were, and so ended up using a lot of the product. To start with it had a pleasant flowery smell, but at the end of the experiment the distinct odour had appeared, and remained after the initial shower and the one I had the following morning. This may be due to my over-zealous use of the mousse, and T.M. has reported that it worked pretty well for her the first time, producing no unwanted aromas, but she also found that the next time she went to use it, it did give off that all-too-familiar pong.

So the results:

1. Easy to use, but be quick about it. That means investing in a good mitt.

2. If you’re fast enough you can avoid the smell, otherwise, unfortunately, you just won’t.

3. It does work! I’m only after a light glow – like foundation, I want it to look like my relatively pale skin, only better – and that’s more or less what I got. I left it for an hour precisely (the longer you leave it the deeper the tan). It developed nicely, after the shower my skin tone was definitely improved.

4. It lasts for about four days, without fading in uneven patches. I didn’t do all the things you’re supposed to do, like put Vaseline on my eyebrows, exfoliate or moisturize (patience isn’t a virtue of mine), but maybe if you do that you’ll get an even better result.

So would I recommend it? Yup. It’s such a good price, and for that I think the smell can be overlooked, or at least tolerated, and by some accounts avoided altogether.

Now for the Saturday ensemble! I loved a lot of the Dolce and Gabbana S/S13 collection, and picked up a look-a-like striped dress in Penneys (sigh, where else?), for €23. I’ll be putting it with demure heels and either a wicker shopper or small clutch. Big dangly earrings, in keeping with the D&G theme will complete it, and I think I’ll leave the jewelry at that. Must not forget the sunglasses.


Aoife D&G

Spot the Difference

The Salthill Prom will be a suitable substitution for the Riviera, and even if I smell of warmed up cookie dough, at least everyone else will too, and anyway it will be masked by the salty sea air. A light, bright cardi for the evening is probably advisable. Plus, I‘ll bring a spare pair of tights in my bag (just in case).


  1. Deborah Waters

    Love this Country Mouse and am just popping out to Pennys to make my first purchase of fake tan in many years!

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