From The Light Into The Dark

Chrissy ON May 28, 2012 AT 9:00 am


By Chrissy Iley

The history of me and tanning is a sorry one. For a start I can never sit in the sun. After an incident where I had to interview a band in California around a pool around midday I was treated for third degree burns my Celtic white skin lobstered up and fell off. Imagine the plane ride back. At the end of it my seat was filled with a mountain of flakes, my body weight in dead skin.

There followed whiteness years with the conundrum legs too white to reveal, legs won’t tan anyway. I use the won’t word very specifically. Fake Bake left me as white as a vanilla scone and was such a palaver to put on.

How can I forget my first spray tan experience. It was at a very fancy place in Notting Hill for an article about luxury. The shop was dedicated to beaches and swimwear. I already felt an alien.

I’m not sure what a person could possibly do wrong standing in a spray tan booth, or if my skin just rebelled. Later that night I was meeting a friend for a screening. It was still light when we came out. ‘Oh no,’ she said. My knees, elbows and toes were maroon and the rest of me was in dire blotchy streaks. ‘I hoped it would be dark when we came out,’ she winced, embarrassed to be seen with me.

It took a year before I would face a re-tan. This time a therapist massaged it into me so that I wouldn’t be clumsy about the application as I seem incapable of not being.

The next day I was as orange as EasyJet. I didn’t match any of my clothes or my make-up. If I put on black I looked like a wasp.

I have been tan free for many years. What persuaded me to try again with Utan with Ultimo? Basically my friend Yvie Burnett, singing teacher to the stars and The Voice UK. She is friends with Ultimo impresaria Michelle Mone and spoke very highly of the super sculpting skills of the product.

So on it went. There was a huge choice in tone of tan – Miami Beach; Deluxe Gradual – which promises ‘natural and radiant’; California Sun, which is a mousse that promises ‘medium sun-kissed’; the darker mousse is Brazilian Bronze, which promises ‘warm and exotic’; Marbella Gold is the lotion in medium which promises ‘gold and glamorous’; while Ibiza Extreme gives you dark and intense.

I tried the mousse and the lotion. Neither of them came out orange and blended well – no lumps or streaks – perhaps because of the velvet mit with which you apply it.  If you are clever at using, it can assist in ‘rescuplting and reshaping the body contours’. I am not clever at applying it, but the application is simple, unmessy and it doesn’t smell of anything, which is a treble plus for me.

Michelle Mone is known of course for body contouring as she is First Lady of the bra. She says, ‘`Utan has been really exciting, not least because it’s Ultimo’s first foray into the beauty market having made our name in lingerie.

‘I knew from the outset that I wanted the colour to be unrivalled and not have any of those tell-tale fake tan smells. It’s taken three years of development and I’m really proud of the Utan range as there’s a tan for everyone.’

It’s that tan for everyone phrase – it’s the one to cling on to. I am the least tannable person in the world and I may develop an addiction to California Sun (in the can only).

UTan can be purchased at

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