Let me start by saying that I really don’t like fake tan. I hate the fuss of applying it, I hate the smell, I hate how it stains my white bed linen and I really, really hate the way it makes my skin look unnaturally orange and streaky. As someone who loves the way that a natural tan looks, this puts me in a bit of a tricky position. I either risk irreversible sun damage and other serious health conditions through trying to achieve a golden glow naturally, or I just suck it up and reach for the bottle.
I have always found that I tan fairly easily and rarely actually burn, so I assumed that my skin was somewhat resistant to sun damage. However, as soon as the pigmentation and fine lines started to appear, I knew it was time to change my outlook. I started slathering on SPF every day—rain or shine—and looking for other ways to achieve a natural-looking tan.
As though the beauty gods had been looking down on me, it was around this time that I also received a bottle of Bondi Sands Aero Aerated Self Tanning Foam (£19) in the post. Although I had heard all about the wonders of this Aussie tanning brand, I simply wasn’t sold. If it was fake tan, I just didn’t want in. So there it sat on my bathroom shelf, totally untouched for a couple of weeks. That is until summer hit hard and I found myself having to swap jeans for shorts. One hot afternoon, as I prepped my outfit for a music festival the following day, I looked down at my pasty legs and reached for the bottle of Aero.
First of all, I want to highlight that just because I don’t like fake tan doesn’t mean I haven’t tried countless formulas. So believe me when I say that I have never tried anything like Aero. Unlike messy foams and streaky lotions, this particular formula is aerated, dense and more whipped than traditional foam.
Not only does this make it extremely easy to apply (it doesn’t drip or leak anywhere), it also means it goes on smoothly, almost like butter. I also noticed that it doesn’t cling to dry patches or leave a sticky residue, unlike others I’ve tried in the past. Once I had applied one layer over my entire body, I realised that actually, the whole application process was quite therapeutic and—dare I say it—enjoyable.
As I got on with my day and let the tan develop, I noticed that the guide colour was turning quite a sickly shade of green and reminded myself that a perfect fake tan formula is simply too good to be true. With very low expectations, around eight hours later, just before bed, I hopped in the shower to rinse it all off. However, as I dried my legs, I noticed that actually, my skin looked almost golden. Forget the orange tones that you might currently associate with a fake tan—this stuff left behind a deep, golden shade of brown that genuinely had me looking like I had spent a few days on Bondi Beach. I went to bed content.
It’s needless to say that the next day had me receiving countless “Have you been on holiday?” questions. Since that moment, I haven’t looked back. I have gone through countless bottles and have even started dipping my toe into other formulas too. While none compare, I regard Bondi Sands Aero as the product that finally convinced me that fake tan isn’t actually the worst thing ever, and for that, I’m eternally grateful.