Everyone has a special talent. I have a friend, for example, who can tie a knot in a cherry stalk without using her hands. I have another who is good at blagging upgrades. Mine? Tanning. If there were a PhD in Being Brown, I would have been given one long ago. There is no one, but no one except maybe George Hamilton (remember him?) who knows more about the subject than me. And I’m not talking namby pamby 21st century tanning here, I’m talking that deep dark mahogany tanning people used to “practice” in the 70s.
Granted, it’s not very PC to be THAT brown anymore and certainly one doesn’t want to look like one’s head has been stuck up a chimney as do so many of the young Italians I’m seeing out here as I write this from Mykonos. Overly tanned face (OTF). Uggh. That’s almost worse than having “lobster” sunburn. On the other hand did you know that the incidence of rickets is rising? That we’re so very sunshine deprived these days, the next generation simply aren’t getting enough vitamin D?
Okay. Enough tub-thumping. All I’m saying is I miss the smell of Bergasol (outlawed sometime in the 90s because it didn’t offer enough protection), I miss those days of putting tin foil in one’s nose so one’s nostrils tanned too. J’adore the look of a white bottom against a very, very tanned lower back, like Jodie Foster in that old old Coppertone ad, ditto shoulders that are the colour of conkers. Being half Indian, I feel tannedness is my rightful state, what God meant me to be (as opposed to that ashen colour us UK Asians go in winter). The other thing, and I know I shouldn’t say this, but a good tan really does take off 10lbs. Don’t ask why, it just does, just like TV puts 10lbs ON.
Okay, are you with me on this (and I know not everyone is)? Then takes some tips from an old pro. Sloughing. Yes that’s right, sloughing. Whether it’s by Laura Mercier Almond Coconut Body Scrub (my choice) £36, Malden salt and a good old loofah or a combination thereof, get all that old dry skin off off, off. A good tan needs properly primed skin, otherwise, take it from me, it’ll come off on the flight back home, and frankly what’s the point of a summer holiday if not to show off a tan?
Second tip is to have already taken a couple of days in the sun earlier in the year so you do not have to start from scratch. This is the same principle of burning a layer of skin in order to get the REALLY good tan (what we all shamefully did as teenagers) but in a less carcinogenic way. You could also try something called Tan Preparer by Lancaster , £24, a water spray you put on daily for two weeks before you get in the sun which does just that; prepare your skin of the onslaught of sun. If it is too late for that, remember it always takes a bit for the tan to, as it were, take. Bronzer comes in helpful here, or something called Huile Prodigieuse OR by Nuxe , £34, a literally gold coloured mineral oil which you can put on your hair, face and body, but have a thought here for the poor person who has to deal with the sheets.
Tip number three. Put factor 50 on your face. And put it on first thing, before you even go to the loo, if you are like me and kinda sorta forget about doing it as the day wears on. There’s a school of thought that says there is not much of a jump between 15 and 50, so you might as well use the 15 in order not to clog up your pores; but I say, why take the chance. You still get a tiny bit of sun, you still get your freckles, or at least I seem to (I use one by Epionce , £40.50, by far the best range of skin products that exist on this earth, IMHO) you’ll just look less of a pickled walnut when you come back.
Tip number four. If you can’t look like summer then at least smell like it. Eau de Bergasol, I wish it existed. Ditto Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific hair conditioner by Jergens. That plus Hawaiian Tropic SPF minus 2 (or whatever it was) takes me right back to the Beach in Cape Cod circa 1976.
In terms of efficaciousness they say Soltan from Boots is as as good as anything, but don’t you just love the smell of Lancaster products? Ditto this product from Milan called Kiko (try their gloopy Tan Intensifier SPF 6 £6.90, for a real smell of the Mediterranean). And then of course there is good old Ambre Solaire, bought, preferably, in a supermarket abroad. Maybe it’s because its old stock, but it just smells better than if you’d bought at it Westfield, don’t you agree?
Right then. Three weeks in Mykonos, first week nearly down. My front, you can’t fault it, (alternating bikini tops at lunch time of course to avoid lines), I’ve now got to seriously concentrate on the backs of my legs and those niggly bits under my armpits. What book am I reading? Don’t be silly. This is a full time job.