Psssst! I’ve got a secret! Don’t tell anyone, ‘kay? Just between you and me!
OK, here it goes. I don’t like tanned skin. I might be the only girl in Sydney who doesn’t subscribe to the “brown is best” message. I’m pale and I’m proud!
I like my cream coloured skin. There, I’ve said it! I don’t like the sun kissed look. I don’t like the beach bunny tanned look. I don’t like the Agent Orange tandoori tan many girls sport. But most of all, I don’t like sunburnt skin and the terrible damage caused by going in the sun without taking the necessary precautions.
Each to their own, but when I look to the past for inspiration, I don’t look to the 80s for Sports Illustrated bikini edition girls with their caramel skin. No, I look to the 40s and 50s bathing beauties with their much prized creamy skin. It helps that my curves are more retro pinup than athletic model!
Over the years, I’ve tried pretty much every faux tan product I could get my hands on. Budget to blow out. I know which ones are green-based, so the colour is more natural, and which ones have the least disgusting smell. I’ve tried professional applications, spray tans, gradual tanning moisturisers, tan enhancers and various application devices, but really, I hate them all! Even with a professional exfoliation first, followed by expert faux tan application, I look orange and streaky. Not a good look in my book. So, I’ve decided to embrace my paleness!
This is how I like to protect my asset! I regularly exfoliate to keep my pale skin silky smooth. I make my own scrub by mixing caster sugar, bicarb soda and enough water to make a paste, then smooth it all over my body before jumping in the shower. I treat myself to a dry body brush a couple of times a week, and I apply a body oil at night time, and a quality moisturiser in the morning. I like Palmer’s Body Oil (smells delicious!) and Kiehl’s Creme de Corps (totally deserves the cult status). I also use a Palmer’s Olive Butter moisturiser with SPF 15 on my exposed skin before I leave the house in the morning.
For my facial skin, I double cleanse at night – once with SKII cleansing oil, removed with cellulose sponges, just like my facialist uses, and the second time with a creamy cleanser, Ultraceuticals Milk Cleanser or Trilogy Age Proof Active Enzyme Cleansing Cream, massaged away with a muslin cloth. I exfoliate three times a week, using Dermologica Daily Microfoliant and apply Ren Glycolactic Skin Renewal Peel Mask once a week. I use the full works – treatment serums, facial oils, moisturisers, eye cremes et al. My favourites include SKII Facial Treatment Essence, Trilogy Age Proof range and Ultraceuticals.
But all these steps are absolutely useless without the only product proven to have an anti-ageing effect – SPF! I apply my Ultraceuticals SPF 30+ moisturiser on clean, dry skin, followed by a quality eye creme. My foundation has an SPF as well, but you can’t rely just on this – it’s usually only SPF 8 to 15. Adding additional layers of SPF won’t hurt, but the best way to guarantee a good coverage is to apply an SPF 30+ directly to your bare skin as your first step. During the day, I reapply a little mineral powder foundation with a kabuki, or my Shiseido stick foundation with SPF 25+.
I hate reapplying sunscreen during the day, even though I know how essential it is. It’s messy, it’s smelly, it can stain your clothes if you’re not careful applying it. Imagine my delight when I discovered Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist 30+. It’s invisible, you can apply it on the run and I even close my eyes and spray my face when I know I’m going to be outside in the sun and can’t find shade. It’s as essential in my handbag as my keys, wallet and phone!
I’m a huge fan of hats, and my Boyo is so well trained in this, he doesn’t leave the house without his hat! I usually wear a hat when I’m out and about during the day. I like to throw a silk or cotton scarf in my handbag for throwing over my shoulders to protect my décolletage from the sun, and I’m never without my trusty Polarised Rayban Wayfarers, the best sunglasses I’ve ever had.
I’m charmed by the people I meet who are surprised I have a son in Year 2, who think I’m at least 5 years younger than I am. Charmed? More like bloody thrilled! But apart from reducing the risk of skin cancer by embracing my pale and being SPF conscious, I’m also making myself look younger than I am. Less sun exposure means fewer wrinkles and sun damage on my face. And how good is that?!
How do you feel about tanning, faux or otherwise? Do you dread the end of winter, when you have to put away your opaque tights and dare to bare? Have you managed to figure out the faux tan thing? I’d love to hear your thoughts.