After a loooong week of meetings and playing email catch-up after my glorious week of basking in the sun in northern Queensland, I am looking at my forearms with a great deal of sadness: that summery glow seems to be disappearing faster than a heavily reduced Chanel handbag in a Hong Kong department store.
How to hold on to that summery glow?
Other than the very obvious spray tan (still terrifies me, although I tried out a St Tropez spray tan recently and it wasn't as Clockwork Orange as the early years of fake tans), there are still a number of products on the market that can keep you looking more outdoorsy than you actually are.
First up is St Tropez's new In-Shower Gradual Tan which generally attracts good reviews and - Fun Fact! - has been St Tropez' most successful tanning launch ever. I haven't tried this one myself (I am currently unable to reach past my knees on account of my big preggers belly) however my one reservation is that once you apply it in the shower you need to turn off the water and stand there for 3 minutes. That's fine - you can let your hair conditioner soak in at the same time - but you expect me to stand around for 3 minutes in the freezing cold dripping wet? On the plus side, this product isn't going to have you emerging from the shower stall looking like you've changed ethnic groups - the tan is low-key and of course a gradual build, so you can slow that down by applying the product less if need be.
Kate Somerville Tanning Towelettes. A little like the towelettes you get at KFC and Red Rooster when you dive in to foods cooked to reduce your life expectancy, this self-tanner is wiped all over the body after showering, is sealed in with an application of your favourite moisturiser and, following a good night's sleep, you'll wake with a glow. Use these guys once per week.
Sun 365 Self-Tanning Concentrate allows you to turn any facial or body moisturiser into a self-tanner, with the added bonus of enabling you to control how much colour you get by adjusting the amount you mix per use. Personally, I prefer to let the professionals create the formulation, but I really like the idea of this - and also the joy of choosing the fragrance of your self-tan yourself. So many self-tanning products are stinky in their own unique way - whether it be too chemical smelling, or too much floral overcompensation. Added bonus: it's much cheaper than a lot of products on the market.
Then of course there is the stable of celebrity-created tanning products: the JBronze range, created by perma-tanned, ultimate beach babe Jennifer Hawkins...
and Lara Bingle-Worthington's range, The Base which is - depending on how you like to shop - only available online. Without having tried it myself, I have read that the Instant Tanning Mousse magically smells like doughnuts, is uber-easy to apply and yields a warm golden glow. So on a number of fronts, this product sounds like a winner. There is also a Body Glow Oil in the range which dries non-greasy, doesn't stain your clothes and again reportedly smells like a doughnut.
And to finish, some DIY tanning tips from Lara: