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Fad Hag: the two week fake tan

December 20th 2012 / Susannah Taylor


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Self confessed tan-aholic and GTG's Editor Susannah Taylor tries a fake tan that promises to last from two to three weeks

Hi, my name is Susannah Taylor and I am a self-tan-aholic. I would drink the stuff if I could. The addiction set in when I discovered the wonderful limb-tinting product that is St Tropez about 10 years ago (I worked at Glamour magazine at the time and enjoyed it so much I got nicknamed The Florida Granny by my ‘friends’).

Back then I was probably the colour of stewed tea, but today I’m an altogether more subtle self-tanner - more the colour of a milky latte, I’d say - and use daily self tanners rather than the full-blown creosote stuff for a gentle glowing effect (favourites are St Tropez Gradual Self Tan Everyday in Medium/Dark, £14.30, and James Read’s Gradual Self Tan in Medium, £24.50). I use it ALL THE TIME because basically I look like I should be on bed rest without it.

I have self-tanned myself so often I know every trick there is to know about avoiding streaks, dirty knuckles, patchy ankles and orange eyebrows, plus how to tan your back evenly - and I’m even a pro at doing the backs of my hands. Unlike many people, I’m not afraid of the brown stuff and some days if I know I need to expose some body parts and have no time, I’ll even just do my limbs and leave the rest.

The result is an unfortunate kind of patchwork effect when I’m naked, but thankfully I’ve been married for nine years. Self-tan would definitely be my desert island product, but I so wish it would last a little bit longer, and of course that it wouldn’t smell of digestive biscuits.

So, you can imagine my excitement when I heard about Vita Liberata’s two to three week self-tan called pHenomenal. Could there really be a product that you can apply pre-holiday and it still be there when you get back?


PHenomenal is a mousse self-tan that you apply with a mitt, which I think creates the smoothest, most even coverage. Applying it feels no different to applying any other mousse self-tan, but I immediately notice that it barely smells at all, which for me gives it an immediate thumbs up.

Furthermore, as the tan develops, there is still not even the faintest tell-tale biscuit whiff. I follow the guided instructions within the packet and leave the product on for eight hours before washing it off the following morning (don’t be alarmed when the water runs brown). I am left with a rich golden bronze – not too dark and not too light - the colour Gisele goes when she’s been on the beach I’d say; and my colleagues coo over its beauty in the office the following morning.

According to the Vita Liberata instructions, if you want the tan to stay longer, you must repeat all this 24 hours later, which I do diligently. And you know what? The tan really did last two weeks. To say it lasted three would be a lie, however. What’s more it didn’t turn all patchy but faded away evenly.

Would I use it again? Applying it twice is a bit of a palaver but if that means I can apply it pre-Christmas and still have a sunshine glow about me in the New Year when everyone else looks ill and ashen, then I’m up for that. Phenomenal? Pretty much, yes.

Other self tans I love, tan-aholic that I am:

St Tropez Self Tan Mousse, £20.43, www.st-tropez.com
James Read’s Liquid Tan in Medium, £24.50, www.jamesreadtan.com
If you really, really can’t apply self-tan well, then give up and go and see the man who can – Mr James Read is by far the world’s best tanner loved by many celebs and models, www.jamesreadtan.com.

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