YOU SPRAY it on, and then the next day you wash it off. I saw the commercial on TV, and I have to say I just cannot understand why anybody in their right mind would want to lather themselves in one of those fake tan products.

Painting yourself is daft enough, but the one I saw advertised proudly proclaimed that it contains caramel – as if that’s something in its favour. Women actually go out resembling a big, sticky lollipop? I would imagine that wasps – the skinheads of the insect world – would find that particularly attractive.    

I would also imagine that if the individual wearing this product walked through a swarm of flies they would stick to her en masse, turning her into a giant strip of flypaper.

If you spray this stuff on and you get it wrong, are you left with patches, streaks and stains? After all, that’s what happens if you splash creosote onto a fence.

Perhaps to get around this problem, one tanning product comes in the form of a “towlettte”. It seems to be a little like a cleansing wipe, except it makes you coffee-coloured. I’m going to try that stuff on my old brown brogue boots.

And what about the “shower it off” bit? I assume tanning spray doesn’t know the difference between a morning shower and an unexpected downpour. That being the case, you would quickly resemble a giant chocolate KitKat that had been left on a hot radiator.

A little research revealed that there are dozens of ways to turn yourself an unnatural colour: fake bake – whatever that is – spray, gels, crèmes, lotions… and even tanning pills! The claim is that you swallow a couple of these capsules, and by the following morning you will wake up to find your skin a different colour. That really can’t be good for you… And what, I wonder, is the effect on your poo?

Anyway, it seems that besides looking silly and streaky, a lot of these things produce a strange smell, reminiscent of a baked potato – the tanning lotions, that is, not the poo.

 A beauty product that leaves you stinky and streaky – Hmmmm. Nice!

Women (and worse, young impressionable girls) are subjected to a non-stop battery of magazine pictures and articles about how they should feel. How they should look. How they should think. There are some seriously weird items and products on the market to make them look taller, thinner, more shapely, less wrinkly.

Now, I have no problem with somebody trying to make the best of what they’ve got… but giving yourself an all-over paint job? That has to be the ultimate self-insult.

Who was it that decided this was a sensible thing to do, I wonder? Who was the first person to take this ridiculous notion and convince the masses that it was a good idea to change the colour of your skin to a streaky, unconvincing, orangey, smelly “tan” that fools nobody.

Here’s the truth, ladies. If you want to be a shade more golden-brown than you are at the moment – a little more sun-kissed – then ditch the beauty magazines that fill their pages with all this junk. Open your front door and go outside – that’s where the sun lives, you know.

Seriously, you need to get out more.

Drew McAdam



  1. jackie says:

    Wasn’t it Coco Chanel that made the tan famous and desirable? Prior to that, only the oafish labourers who worked outside were brown as berries, while genteel types were a whiter shade of pale. But then Coco, having spent far too much time on a yacht in Cannes and turned brown, decided that she would make the best of a bad job – and declared it the latest must-have accessory. So everyone wanted one. Sheep.
    Sheep tend to be white, don’t they. Except for the wee brown Soay ones. But they have mean eyes.

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