Why you should definitely get a spray tan before your next holiday

Many people think not. Several people I told I was getting a tan before my last holiday recoiled in horror. ‘But won’t it go streaky in the pool?’ ‘What if you come back paler than when you leave?’ ‘Can you tan through a fake tan?’

I’m pretty pale. I sparkle in the light like Edward Cullen. There’s nothing I love more than getting back from a holiday and having a bit of a golden glow (what better excuse to go make-up-free for a while?). But those first few days of stepping out into the sun, uncovered for the first time in a year can be terrifying. So surely a quick spray tan before your holiday is the best option?

There are a lot of myths surrounding pre-holiday spray-tanning, so in the name of journalism (/wanting to be bronzed on day one of my Barbados holiday) I paid a visit to St Tropez for an all-over spray of the Express Mist. I boarded the plane 36 hours later looking perfectly bronzed. I was just hoping I’d come home looking exactly the same colour.


…I pretty much did. Maybe even more golden, in fact. And contrary to the copious warnings, my tan didn’t go streaky, I did tan, and, most importantly of all, I didn’t feel like pasty when I stepped out onto the beach on day one.

On previous holidays, I’ve felt so pale on arrival that I’ve been tempted to panic-tan (read: panic-burn). This is, obviously, a terrible idea. This year, because I already had a tan (whilst not real) I wasn’t in such a hurry to get a bit of colour on my pasty limbs, so I was as careful as a pale-skinned English girl in Barbados should be (factor 30+ with hourly reapplication). The St Tropez colour gradually faded away while my sun tan built up underneath, switching places at an unnoticed point mid-holiday. It really was quite marvellous.

So there you have it: it isn’t a bad idea to get a spray-tan pre-holiday. Need more convincing? Tanner to the stars Jules Heptonstall gives us his view on this issue (of unquestionable importance).

Q A lot of people think that getting a spray tan before going on holiday is a bad idea – why do you think that is and is it true or false?

False. Getting a spray tan before you go on holiday gives you that summer glow before you’ve had your week away – my clients describe it as ‘taking the edge off’. It’s important to remember that a spray tan will offer no protection from the sun and as your spray tan fades, your real tan will develop if you’re out in the sun. A top tip is to use St. Tropez Aftersun Lotion, with a hint of self tan – its creamy texture is brilliant for soothing your skin and it’s enriched with self tan so it actually gives you a deeper glow. My holiday essential!

Q True or false, you can get a tan through a spray tan?

True. A spray tan offers no protection from UVA or UVB rays, so you will still tan but you will also need to wear sun cream too.

Q How can you stop your tan going streaky in the sea/pool?

Don’t go in the pool while your self tan is still developing – it’s important to make sure you’ve washed off all the guide colour beforehand. I try to not go in the pool on the first day and use a sun cream with adequate SPF that’s formulated to work with a spray tan and keep it topped up for longer (St. Tropez SPF 30 With Tan Enhancer For Body – formulated with melanin activating ingredient Melanobronze as well as being designed not to strip a spray tan).

Q Is there a risk that you’ll come back paler than you left?

It all depends on how much tanning in the sun you are wanting to do! If you are tanning every single day on your holiday you’ll come back with a deeper tan to match your beach waves. But if you’re holiday is more of a night time break, then you’ll come back slightly paler. If it’s a worry, just apply a bit of St. Tropez Self Tan Mousse the night before you’re due to go back to work – no one will ever know the difference!

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