The cheat's way to sun-kissed calves

Staycation a washout? Here's how to fake that long weekend in Lisbon look

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By Frankie Graddon on

“Wow you’ve got a nice tan, looking good.”

Not bad as greetings go, this is what I was treated to by one of my colleagues when I walked into the office the other morning. Not my typical reception but I’ve just come back from holiday when the “you look well/relaxed/glowing” comments are obligatory.

However, my half decent tan is actually nothing to do with being on holiday. Oh no. It rained seven days out of nine and on the one day of proper sunshine I was too hungover to venture outside. And so I returned the same colour that I left (bar a red left knee thanks to some careless beach reading). Not a whiff of golden bronze about it. Thus I turned to the fake stuff.

Now, I’m not hugely bothered about getting a tan – real or fake – however I do appreciate a bit of something from the knee downwards from time to time. And so it was of interest when I received an email from my editor endorsing No7 Perfectly Bronzed Self Tan Quick Dry Lotion. “F, I bought this and it's surprisingly great”. No need to tell me twice, by the end of the day I’d acquire a bottle.

Of course, she’s spot on. The tinted cream is indeed great – both in ease of application and convincing colour. The surprising part? It’s only £7.

I slap mine on in the morning – it says it takes ten minutes to dry but I’d give it 20 to be on the safe side. Moisturise first otherwise it does go a bit blotchy (I’m still wedded to this stuff) then squirt a couple of pumps into your hands and rub as evenly as possible over your legs and tops of feet. Wash hands, brush teeth, do make-up, sort hair, then get dressed. (FYI, if you are applying in the evening, don’t go anywhere near white bedsheets for at least two hours.) The cream goes on slightly tinted and develops further over the next couple of hours.

Left leg natural. Right leg after two applications

The look here is subtle glow rather than full on bronze – to get a deeper colour apply it again the following day. The colour is wear-off rather than wash-off so you’ll need to put it on a couple of times a week to maintain. I use the light/medium lotion because my calves are practically transparent, but there’s also medium/dark.





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