To fake tan or not to fake tan?

Hi all!

So here is my dilemma...I am naturally very pale and from a young age (I am 38 now!) I have used fake tan. Not so much now but I do prefer to use it to make me have a slight glow rather than looking like I have been dug up!  My mum can never get her head around it and always tells me, even now I should just be natural BUT...I was very badly bullied for being so pale and it’s something that has always made me have more confidence if I do have a I’m never really going to stop - plus it does make me feel so much better...anyway..I don’t use sun beds as a. They don’t tend to work on me and b. I don’t want to get cancer! 

I obviously want to have a glow on my wedding day but don’t want to find that half of it has gone all over my wedding dress! With that in mind, Is there any lotion you can recommend that will give me a nice glow (not orange or caked on) for my special day please? I normally use Dove moisturiser with the gradual tanning in it but find this can make me slightly orange! 

Ive also had spray tans and find these can work but I’d have to have it a few days before the wedding to give it time to settle and don’t want it to look patchy by the day! 

Thank you girlies x


  • Like you I am chronically pale (the woman in boots said no foundation at any of their counters would work and sent me home with tinted moisturiser!). 


    I haven't found any that will work on me without leaving a slightly orangey hue, which is probably because my natural colouring is so contrasted to their target audiences.


    I do know Skinny Tan gets a good review and they have a gradual moisturiser which may work.


    However, just remember that the editing and lights in photography can wash you out so being slightly darker isn't always a bad thing.

  • Hi Elkaye, I would definitely recommend Bondi sands . You can get it in a mousse and a lotion and it comes in light/ dark. I use the light but still find it gives me a good colour and you can wash it off after an hour or keep it on longer deciding how dark you want to go. Wish I had found it before my wedding! Xx

  • To be honest I would use a sun bed for a few short sessions before the wedding. I’m very pale and using a sun bed before I go abroad is the only thing that stops me burning while I’m on holiday. I think of it as waking up my Melanin. 

    I am yet to find a fake tan that looks nice and natural 

  • MrsMcSMrsMcS Posts: 235

    I'm pale too and don't usually use fake tan, but am worried about looking washed out in ivory!

    I didn't want to self-tan as I'm not practised enough at it to avoid a disaster. So I decided to have a trial run at a salon spray tan well in advance. I had my first one last week (wedding is May) and I was honestly surprised how natural it looked - so was H2B. It was the Fake Bake 60 Minute that they used.

    I lost my nerve a bit and washed it off too early so it hasn't lasted, but I'm going to have at least one more trial run. Remember if you're having a make-up trial to tan before that in the same way that you're planning for the wedding, so that the MUA can see what shade you will be!

  • MrsGtoBMrsGtoB Posts: 712 New bride

    I love St Moritz its cheap and goes on lovely with a mit. I’ve never noticed any transfer to clothing with it either x

  • Daisy29Daisy29 Posts: 44

    I love St Moriz too, the mist spray version is really easy to apply (I use a mitt to rub it in). I am very pale and use the it in 'medium' shade and don't find that that's too dark at all. It's the only fake tan that hasn't come out streaky on me, doesn't transfer and it smells nice! Wilko / Tescos / Boots all sell it.

  • MrsGxMrsGx Posts: 329 New bride

    I have the same problem and I've just bought skinny tan to trial now before the wedding. A few of my friends have had great results with it. So far I have only tried the instant tanner which was great on me, just a subtle glow. I also have the oil and mousse to try which have longer lasting results. I'll be trying these at weekend but I haven't seen a single bad review for skinny tan yet. 

  • Thanks ladies...I tried the bondi sands but it made me very orange 😳 I’ve also tried fake bake (this was the nicest colour second to vita albera-or however it’s spelt!), st tropez, cocoa brown, loving tan - amazing but expensive!! And Lauren’s way...I just find that I find one, it looks nice the first time but when I try again it doesn’t look so good! I have silvery ash colour hair too so this can cause fake tan to make me look orange. I work in a school and the kids love to remind me how orange I look!! 

    So frustrating! The next thing I’m going to try is ‘Fox Tan’ which apparently a lotion you put on before a sunbed And it apparently enhances the tan!! Watch this space and I’ll let you ladies know!! 

    Keep the suggestions coming though as I love to hear from you!

    thanks x

  • bella2015bella2015 Posts: 1,903 New bride

    Fake Bake do a brilliant gradual tanning lotion. I've been using it for a while and I love it. The Bondi Sands gradual tan is good too, I know you've mentioned Bondi Sands but I don't know if you used that one or their normal one.

    6 months ago I would have said to use a sunbed but I recently had a dodgy looking mole removed following sunbed use. It was a very stressful time waiting for the results which thankfully came back clear. So i am very anti sunbed now.


  • lauren318lauren318 Posts: 482

    i like the superdrug brand i can;t remember its name (pink bottle) and i also like st tropez. i fake tanned a few days before so it wasn;t so heavy x

  • MrsJ2017MrsJ2017 Posts: 3,017

    I’m pale and I find most fake tans (even the good ones) to be, well, fake looking.

    Dove summer glow is my favourite gradual one but you can get orangey palms and the smell seems to linger for a few days nomatter how much I shower.

    When i want a darker tan I use st moriz which is the least troublesome for me, but I decided to stay natural at the wedding because I didn’t want to be even remotely orange, especially against a pale dress and my hubby is quite fair skinned too so I would of looked stupid.

    I was a bit worried Id look washed out in pics but what we’ve seen so far all look really nice and Im really glad I stayed pale.

  • I used the Bondi Sands lotion and it turned my face patchy and my hands orange and I only used a little on my hands. Any advice for next time around? I do have abit of dry skin on face.

  • I alternate between the Dove one you mentioned and "Garnier Summer Body Light Gradual Tan Moisturiser" (Depending how quick I need it to work I sometimes use the Dark instead of light) 

    Doesn't have the typical fake tan smell and didn't make me orangey (Although the dark one sometimes did) so maybe give that a go? Can't remember how much but it will be affordable as I'm a cheap skate when it comes to beauty products haha! x

    Remember, when stressed, simply channel your inner Bridechilla: Take a sand bath, munch some veggies, then chew on a wooden stick... wait... no... that's a Chinchilla... 

    My planning thread
  • CFWCFW Posts: 234

    Another chronic fake-tanner here! Please don't do it yourself for your wedding day as you just can't undo patchiness and its much more likely when done at home. You mentioned spray tans going patchy but I would definitely re-try this. I always have a spray tan before an event, usually the Thursday evening for a Saturday event and therefore the darkness has washed off but the colour still sits beautifully. If you found you went patchy try another salon for a few different sprays to experiment - also make sure you've exfoliated the night before and not put on any moisturiser that day! I've found Fake Bake normal to be a lovely lighter colour or also Sienna is a good spray! 

  • HailsHails Posts: 2,455

    I am very pale. I highly recommend the lightest shade of sienna x, it goes on beautifully and didn't stain my dress. I have had this done at a salon several times now. In some of my pics I don't even look like I have a tan, it's very natural. I also had it done two days before the wedding, as I find the day after is too intense.

    Definitely don't advise doing it yourself. Instead, research salons in your area, and test spray tans out. 

  • I've had good results with the St Tropez Gradual In-Shower tan, using it for about 5-7 days before an event. 

  • It is necessary to approach tanning very responsibly, the sun is very dangerous. Do not try to tan without skin protection. I prefer to make their own tanning products. But you need to carefully study everything, take into account the individual characteristics of the skin.

  • info 50info 50 Posts: 7 New bride
    If your going to tan make sure you let your makeup artist know at your trial so that they can make sure they design something that is going to work with a tan.
    You don't want English Rose if your going to be Carribean kissed for example I it would just go together well.
    I have done many makeup trials on Brides who were tanning for their big days so I just ensured I matched their skin as it was at the trial but made sure to use warmer colours on the face like peaches and golds rather than silvers and pinks as these do not always work with tanns no matter how light they might be.

    Good luck let me know if I can be of any help to you.

    Heather Card Makeup Artistry
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