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How to Quit Fake Tanning

I Quit Fake Tanning at the Peak of Summer, and Learnt to Love My Skin

How to Quit Fake Tanning

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Fake tan has been a summer beauty staple for white women year after year — and our obsession with an artificial glow has never been bigger following two years of lockdowns. Interest in spray tanning and sunless tanning services have increased by 57 percent over the past year on Treatwell, and the numbers spiked by 45 percent this April.

As more information about the dangers of sunbeds and sitting unprotected in the sun become known, self-tanners are the safer way to achieve that sun-kissed appearance. But more and more beauty fans are challenging this desirable aesthetic and questioning why we are changing ourselves for yet another beauty fad. TikTok users have been joining forces to reject the faux-bronze look — and I have been inspired to do the same.

I'm extremely pale and, to be honest, I often feel an immense pressure to fake tan in order to wear anything revealing. I use self-tanners on a regular basis, and I never go to an event without a couple of layers of my favourite tanning mousse. While this might seem harmless, reliance on fake tan can have damaging ramifications on our self-confidence, not to mention the additional expense at a time when the cost of living is rocketing.

"We should embrace what we are given and not feel pressured to fake tan. All skin tones are beautiful."

Sure, fake tan is not as permanent as other noninvasive tweakments or surgery, but the desire to alter our bodies is what is leading us to hitting the bottle. Confidence and Mindset Coach Hattie MacAndrews explains: "We're living at a time where it's becoming increasingly 'normal' to tweak our bodies — either digitally through photo editing apps or physically through products and procedures — in order to fit an unrealistic beauty standard," she tells POPSUGAR. "Using tanning products and services to try and change ourselves is not sustainable and won't do any good for our self-esteem. These patterns can quickly become obsessive, leading to a feeling of vulnerability without having tan on. This behaviour validates the concept of unattainable beauty standards, as you have to change the skin you're in to feel beautiful."

While self-tanner is most commonly used to make light skin darker, it can also be used by deeper skin tones to even it out and provide a glow. Of course everyone has the right to make any changes to their body they wish with no judgement, but I've had enough of feeling the pressure to apply the product just to leave my house. Looking for advice on how to go without fake tan, I spoke to 21-year-old Isabelle from Nottingham. The content creator is the first person I saw talking about going fake tan-free on TikTok. In one video, she listed all of the things she doesn't miss about fake tan. It all felt so relatable: the panic when you're invited to spontaneous plans but you haven't fake-tanned, sticky and orange bed sheets, and the inevitable "tiger bread" stage when your tan starts to fade unevenly. Ditching "bottled sunshine" has never sounded more appealing.

When speaking to Isabelle, she told me that fake tanning had previously been her "safety blanket". It was becoming one of her main priorities and an "unhealthy obsession". She says: "When I started fake tanning at 16, I began to only feel comfortable with fake tan on, and I didn't feel myself without it. I was spending more than £500 a year on tanning products, which is ridiculous. I used to stay up late tanning and then apply more layers before I went to work, ensuring that I looked OK and felt confident. I felt an extreme pressure to always achieve this look and, if I didn't, I didn't fit in." After a year without fake tan, Isabelle feels much more confident and says she doesn't think she'll ever go back to her obsessive habit. "I never thought I'd be able to feel confident without a tan, but I've learnt to love my skin without it, and I finally feel amazing," she says. "I'm not saying that tanning is bad, but I think that we should embrace what we are given and not feel pressured to fake tan. All skin tones are beautiful."


Part 2. Things I DONT miss #fyp #faketanfree #confidence #iquit #palegyal #embrace #it

♬ original sound - Kyle & Jackie O

The biggest tip Isabelle had for me was to ease off slowly rather than going cold turkey. "I used a tanning water to help me slowly come off the mousse. These fade quickly and you don't need to keep scrubbing them off," she says. Another piece of advice she gave me was to speak to myself kindly. "It's not actually fake tan that makes you confident; it's the way you look at yourself and speak about yourself," she says. "If you are comfortable in your own skin, that will radiate. You are you. Beauty is looking different from others and accepting your true self."

In a bid to reassess my own relationship with tanning, I committed to quitting for at least a month. It wasn't easy, and if I'm being totally honest . . . I cheated. More than once. But, I've come out of the experiment with a newfound admiration for my natural skin. On the hottest day of the year in July, I dared to bare my legs in denim shorts and visited some busy parks and bars. And you know what? It wasn't that bad. I was on the receiving end of some unwarranted jokes by friends, but once I wrapped my head around how deeply ingrained it is that pale skin is less desirable, it's easier to brush off these comments.

I'm not going without tanning products forever because I enjoy changing up my look to suit my outfit and the occasion. However, I will be more mindful about selecting a shade closer to my skin tone and only whipping the bottle out on special occasions. On regular days, I'll stick to a luxurious body-care routine to ensure I feel as confident in my bare skin as possible. Other times, I'll use a very subtle fake tan that enhances my existing skin tone rather than dramatically changes my look. Read on to for the 17 products I tried to help boost my confidence, from luxe moisturisers to products that gave a glow, and others with a subtle touch of bronze.

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