The elusive perfect tan. Something that females (and a fair number of 'metrosexual' males) are forever striving to achieve. Since the dangers of the Sun were revealed to be more serious that a painful burn and peeling skin, salons and companies across the globe have ploughed millions of pounds into developing the treatment or product that will have us mindless consumers delving deep into our pockets to purchase. Whether it's a sun bed, spray tan, or magical lotions and potions, there is no excuse to be a pasty face these days.
I say 'us', but I am a very recent convert to the way of the tan. I've dabbled in the past, being from Essex it's pretty much a right of passage. But the combination of being incredibly lazy and dangerously clumsy means that it has always been a mahogany massacre, resulting in more tan ending up on various floors and furnishings that on my ghostly body.
So I gave up on the quest for a healthy glow, and stuck with the 'English Rose' look - aka I'm so pale I reflect the sun's rays so deal with it. But then came the moment me and the bottled bronzer reunited, for my friend's 'The Only Way is Natasha Barker' themed birthday bash. Seeing as it was for a laugh, and beauty products are an extravagance on my student scrimpings, I opted for Primark's very own 'Faking It' self tanner. Considering it was about£1.50, and although I'm no expert, it did a pretty good job. That is - I was a rich shade of chestnut with minimal tell-tale streakage.
And I'm not gonna lie, it did turn into a bit of an addiction, for a brief time. Because the satisfaction of having a tan for ONCE in my life, coupled with an incessant amount of Jersey Shore viewing (where the motto is 'Gym, Tan, Laundry) made me crave that amber ambience. But when the bargain burnisher ran out, I didn't bother restocking. It was fun while it lasted, but I wasn't a tanner. I'm a low maintenance kinda gal - most days I don't even brush my hair (it's called the natural look OK guys!).
However, one flick through a magazine, one glimpse at a TV screen and all I see are caramel complexions. Natural is out, and with special thanks to TOWIE and Jersey shore culture, as well as false eyelashes and hair extensions, TAN is the only way to be. Most of the stars have even cashed in on this craving for faking, with Lauren Goodger launching her own tanning product, and Lauren Pope's hair extensions selling out by the head load.
So must I abolish my natural skin in favour of the Dorito-bath look? (Think cheesy nacho flavour shade) Where would I even begin? A gradual tanner, instant tanner, airbrush tanner, tanning mousse, spray tan, tanning bed...my minds in a golden blur! I can't trust the good ol' British summer to help me, not at the rate it's going at the moment. They'll be floods before I've even got a single freckle! But I fear that the only other option, remaining au naturel, will leave me looking like the least desirable member of Girls Aloud...
I mean, there's embracing your natural beauty and then there's looking like you're allergic to sunlight and have spent the last ten years ensconced in a black cloak in a darkened room underground. C'mon Nic, put a bit of effort in girl!
Next Friday is Pay Day, and this month I'm going pamper-crazy. Seeing as I've been going mental on the overtime and there's no one in Southampton to party away my dollar with, I'm gonna blow this month's wages on a much-needed hair cut and colour, a pedicure and restocking my dwindling make up stock. Will a spray tan be on that list? At the moment it's a strong no, but if this weather improves and the shorts come back out pas tights...well, another trip to Primark may be in order!