How to Fake Golden, Glowing Skin This Party Season

Even with palest of complexions

Words by Nicole Thomsen
December 20th, 2017

Party season calls for beautifully glowing skin but in the depths of winter, this can be a hard feat to achieve without a little help. That, of course, is where self-tan steps in for those with snow white complexions. Luckily for my pale-skinned self, I was treated to a Cocoa Brown spray tan just in time for all the festivities.

For those of you who may have been under a duvet for the past five years, Cocoa Brown is the award-winning self-tanning range founded by Marissa Carter. The brand’s cult 1 Hour Tan was the first of its kind when it launched in 2012 and has been a bestseller ever since. So, of course, when I was asked if I’d like to give my skin a pick-me-up with a Cocoa Brown spray tan I jumped at the chance.

As I’m naturally light-skinned (I’m half Irish, half Danish), self-tan can be a bit daunting. I’ve had mishaps in the past where I ended up looking more like Donald Trump than a golden goddess and as a result, I gravitate towards moisturisers that contain gradual tan which better suit the yellow undertones in my skin. However, after walking around with the healthiest, bronzed glow for a week, I’ve gone over to the dark side.

I had the spray tan done in Velvet Beauty on Ormond Quay by the lovely Ashling who asked me how deep I would like the tan to be (light, medium or dark). For reasons mentioned above, I opted for light which I think was the right choice for me. I left the warm and cosy surroundings of the salon (a nice retreat from the freezing temperatures outside) looking healthier and bronzed already even though the tan hadn’t fully developed at that stage.


The next morning, I was as close to Gisele as I’ll ever be. My skin looked sun-kissed but not tangoed, and there was no fake tan smell about me once I showered. Due to the fact that I cleansed my face the night before, the tan was more subtle here as I didn’t let it develop overnight like the rest of my body but I was perfectly happy with this. In order to avoid stark contrast between where I washed and where I hadn’t, I made sure to lightly apply oil-free moisturiser on my face and down my neck to blend and prevent any harsh lines forming. That evening when I met my friends for drinks they all commented on how tanned I looked – about “10 shades darker than normal” according to one slightly dramatic friend while another even assumed I had been away!

Over the following days, I made a conscious effort to look after my skin and make sure the tan lasted for as long as possible. As Ashling told me, keeping your skin moisturised is key to a lasting, even tan so I applied the Cocoa Brown Chocolate Whip oil-free body moisturiser every day to help keep pesky dry patches at bay. I’m not normally one to go to the effort of moisturising my entire body because I hate the sticky feeling you’re left with afterwards while it sinks in, but this is not the case with Chocolate Whip. It has a velvety smooth texture that dries almost instantly so moisturising seemed like less of a hassle to me.

On the fourth day, I used Cocoa Brown Tough Stuff body scrub in the shower to lightly exfoliate my skin as the tan had naturally started to fade in areas. Because I’m currently on a course of Roaccutane, the acne busting drug, my skin is a lot drier than normal no matter how much I moisturise so exfoliating at this stage was necessary for me, however, in normal circumstances, I probably could have gone an extra day or two before needing to. I repeated this every two-three days to make sure the tan faded evenly.

Now, over two weeks later, I’m back to my pale self but with a few Christmas parties coming up I might just have to get all bronzed again. ‘Tis the season after all!

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Cocoa Brown Professional Spray Tans are available in beauty salons and spas around the world. To find the nearest salon for you, visit