Sali Loves: James Read Wash Off Tan

James Read

Step away from the leggings. This is the ultimate solution for lazy girls with stark white legs.


I am white and literally immune to self tan. Truly, I can apply it like a pro but nothing happens. Before my wedding day I was personally coated by the chief tanner at St Tropez HQ (who ‘did’ Cat Deeley and Victoria Beckham), only to appear at the ceremony with skin resembling something between sour milk and rock salt. Besides, I find the maintenance of self tans far too high for a period when all you really want to do is sit in a beer garden with a pint of shandy. But equally, I cannot tolerate opaque tights in the heat. I spent far too much of my teenage summers grumpily sweating underneath black 80 denier nylon to be dealing with it now. I want to get my legs out but like most people, feel the need for a little colour before I inflict them on animals and small children. My answer is wash off tan.


I’ve written a column about these in the past, but assuming you don’t know about temporary tans, they are brilliant and woefully underrated. And in James Read’s new(ish) Wash Off Tan, I have found the Holy Grail for pale chicks. This is a hyaluronic-rich (yes, here I go with my hyaluronic quacking again – I could give up at any time, you know) serum-lotion that gives an extraordinarily natural, glowing tan to arms, legs, shoulders – wherever you like. It’s moisturising – miraculously, I can apply it to my lizard-like legs straight from the shower and they still don’t feel dry at the end of the day, which is a crucial point because wash off tans and body lotion do not mix. Layer them over creamed limbs and they always streak and bobble. Skin must be dry when you begin. The James Read version massages in perfectly, isn’t remotely orange, can be layered to darken, and really does last all day without smearing clothes and sheets (I wore it daily while in an extremely hot and humid NYC and it stayed firmly put throughout). The bottle is huge and you’d struggle to run out in four months of British summer. The colour and streak-free finish fools everyone. One note on hand staining that applies to any wash-off tan: if your skintype is dry and hands become stained, don’t immediately wash off. Instead, pump a blob of body lotion in your palms and rub them together before washing. This removes staining much more effectively. If you are pale and want some colour, or dark and want some glow, this is pretty much the perfect solution.


James Read Wash Off Tan, £18.50


James Read’s new tanning studio is now open at Fourth Floor, Harvey Nichols, 109-125 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7RJ.


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