Ok so when it comes to ACTUALLY tanning on holiday (I don't mean faking it), well that's sort of dirty subject matter in the beauty world. Us journos are supposed to fly the flag for the highest SPFs known to man, and pretend we sit under parasols like Marie Antoinette and her gal pals back in the day - determined to stay pale and interesting, staving off those lines and wrinkles in the process. And that's totally fine, in fact it's very sensible. Congrats to any lady who sticks to her guns and does it. But I don't spend my holidays in the shade - sun makes me happy. I like a dip in the sea, a day out on a boat, and god the first few sunbeams hitting my face poolside - heaven!
This doesn't make me a sun worshipper, just FYI. I'd never compromise my health for the sake of a dose of colour, I always wear sun protection, but the reality is I have dark colouring and even with a good block against UV rays, my skin is going to tan and I'm super happy about it. So shoot me.
It is possible to stay suncare savvy and get a gorgeous even glow in the process, here's how it's done.
1. Suss your sunscreen - First and foremost lock down the right sun cream for you. We all have those friends who grab a token SPF 5 to tick the box, lather it on and lie back and sizzle - no. Just. No. Pick up factor 15 at the very least. Look for 'broad spectrum' on the label and the UVA logo (give it a google). I generally take an SPF 30 for the first few days at least - going from British days to tropical climbs will be a shock to the system and you need to ease your skin in gently. If I'm somewhere crazy hot I'll stick with my 30, but somewhere cooler allows me to drop to SPF 15 for the last couple of days. I do have darker colouring so those with fairer skin will know to stick to SPF and above.
2. Layer it up - Despite some labels boasting they can last for 24 hours it's always safest to reapply a) after 2 hours b) anytime you spot a hint of red in your skin and c) after coming into contact with water. It's always better to be safe than sorry. Even if you have your eyes closed keep your mind on how your skin feels - any hottness or prickliness, take a peek straight away and spritz on some more.
3. Face it - Treat your face as a totally separate area when it comes to sun protection. Mine is super sensitive so most general suncreams either cause breakouts, puffiness or a full on rash - sexy. I use an SPF 50 moisturiser every day any way, so I don't change my routine much when it comes to holidays, the most I'll do is add an extra layer over my nose, the top of my forehead and my upper lip - these are the areas that will catch most of the sun so will need an extra dose of protection.
4. Hydration stations - Stronger sun means a greater risk of dehydration, both in terms of your skin and your body in general. I'm never without a bottle of water, and make sure to sip it continually throughout the day, My mini staple for every holiday is Johnson's Baby Oil, £1.09 (shop it) and I through it all every time. I keep it in the shower and every time I have one I lather it over me whilst I'm still wet (this locks in way more moisture - it's how you're supposed to use it with babies after all) before making a grab for my towel and gently patting myself dry. Keeping your skin this hydrated means that any colour you get is less likely to fade unevenly as your skin sheds.
5. Apply it right - There's no use in taking your sunscreen to your sun lounger and spritzing it on as you sit - break that habit now, you want total coverage. Part of my morning holiday routine is standing starkers first thing (hidden, obviously) and smoothing in my sun cream everywhere the sun is likely to get to (obvious sensitive areas excluded - unless you have some crazy ass sunbathing positions on the go). Make sure you go over your boobs even if you're not getting them out ladies, little movements can change the position of your bikini top slightly so you need the entire area covered. Wait a minute or two before dressing so that your clothes don't whip that protecting goodness away.
6. Get shady - Do nip into the shade every so often - it's a cool little respite that will do your skin the world of good, it's not natural to lie down all day every day soaking up that light, however much you might want to. Both your body and skin need regular cool-downs, it's not the Great British Bake Off on tour ok?
7. Stay active - As much as I enjoy taking some serious chill time and sun-lounging my time away, I can't sit still all day. Whether it's a walk around the local town, a swim in the sea, a yoga sesh at the hotel or even hopping aboard anything from a paddle boat to a yacht worthy of Valentino (if the latter's your bag I'm jealous - please be my friend) - make sure you change it up. Apart from taking you naturally in and out of shade as you go, you're more likely to get an even non-patchy tan if you're moving, each angle of your body with catch the sun naturally.
Prefer to fake it? Check out my 5 favourite self-tans out on the beauty shelves now - just click here.