Don’t let people tell you your 30s will be the best time of your life in a tone that suggests your looks will fade so you better find inner peace. Vicki’s Pick is a weekly beauty column that features Vicki’s all-time favourite beauty products and latest discoveries for women in their 30s who plan on staying pretty on the outside for a long, long time. Inner peace is optional.
The most exciting part about living in Toronto when the Toronto International Film Festival takes over the city every September isn’t the early access to future Oscar-winning films, or the chance to see some of Hollywood’s elite walk red carpets or have post-premiere party meltdowns at a local Hero Burger. Almost every imaginative and/or egomaniacal person I know derives the most TIFF pleasure from the chance it presents them to pretend to be super famous themselves. Nothing gets the blood pumping quite like having the top floor of a double-decker tour hold their iPhones out to photograph you because you’re the kind of hot that couldn’t possibly be civilian; you exude enough sex appeal to have had at least a few lines in Dude, Where’s My Car?
The art of pretending to be famous is widely attempted even by those who feign disinterest in fame, Hollywood, and even TIFF. They’re usually the ones who adopt “the apathetic slob” approach to fake stardom, sporting slouchy drawstring sweatpants, Converse sneakers, and Ray Bans like they’re Kristen Stewart’s next “Single White Female” restraining order in the making. Fail! Then there are those who shamelessly give it their all, donning every designer item in their closet with over-sized sunglasses and enough hairspray in their updos to make smoking a cigarette a terrorist act. Feigning Hollywood star status has nothing to do with the clothes you’re wearing. In fact, normcore screams “actor off-duty” more than haute couture or sweats. A true artist of faux fame knows that success lies in the small details: a professional manicure, freshly trimmed and/or dyed hair, and, most of all, the most brilliant of spray tans the world has to offer.
Fortunately for me, the amazing celebrity tanner Sophie Evans, a brand ambassador for St. Tropez, comes to town every TIFF. When she’s not prepping celebs for red carpet appearances, she’s on site at the Shopper Drug Mart beautyBOUTIQUE & Sally Hershberger Hair TIFF Suite where she offers her elite skills to media. I never miss the chance to book an appointment with Evans, since she’s tanned everyone from my favourite supermodel in history, Kate Moss (who’s also the face of St. Tropez), to the creme de la creme of the A-list – people who look like they spend all their free time basking in the sun on their private islands (and they do; they’re just wearing SPF 60 to avoid actual sun damage). For Gerard Butler’s 40th birthday, for instance, Evans tanned the 300 actor before his party at London’s China Whites, and made the rounds tanning all of the actor’s famous friends at their homes before the exclusive party (maybe that’s the celeb version of a “Save the Date” email). All this to say, Evans is one of the most sought after and trusted tanners in the world, and St. Tropez is the go-to product line of the most famous faux tan enthusiasts.
When I arrived at the TIFF beauty lounge for my third professional tan by Evans, she gave me the choice between receiving a tan using St. Tropez’s famous Self Tan Bronzing Mousse ($32) or being the first Canadian to receive a tan using the brand’s latest creation, St. Tropez Self Tan Express ($44). I jumped at the chance for the latter because, unlike most Canadians, I like doing things before anyone else. Given that I could still easily be the first Canadian to walk on the moon because we’ve never bothered to send anyone, fearlessly pioneering a new tanning mousse just brings me one baby-step closer to my eventual galactic greatness. Hey, Neil Armstrong had to start somewhere too.
The difference between St. Tropez Self Tan Express and the brand’s well-known Self Tan Bronzing Mousse is that you can rinse off Self Tan Express in as little as one hour. In fact, you actually have to wash it off within the first three hours of applying it in order to reap the full aesthetic benefits of the formula. Here’s the brief Science 101: Like other self tanners, Self Tan Express contains dihydroxyacetone (also known by its rapper name DHA) to darken skin, but it also has dimethyl isosorbide, a.k.a. The Notorious DMI, a solvent that speeds up the effects of the DHA. That means after applying the mousse, which is notably made with 100 percent natural tanning agents and is paraben, sulphate, and phthalate free, you can wash it off after one hour for what the brand calls a “healthy glow”; after two hours for a hue that’s “golden bronze”; and three hours for a “dark tan.”
Evans decided two hours would be the perfect amount of time for my skin tone, and had me set my iPhone alarm clock to notify me to rinse off accordingly. She mentioned that even though the mousse would be fully gone from my skin after my shower, leaving me free to go to hot yoga (a hobby that’s crossed my mind on the way to Dairy Queen) or just laze about on white linens watching Project Runway, the effects of the mousse would continue to set in over the next eight hours. I’d be hesitant to try a new product like this on my own, especially during TIFF for fear of missing out on Instagram opps to flaunt my proximity to fame, but if Kate Moss trusts Evans to get her skin glowing before a multi-million dollar campaign shoot, then I trust her with my social media image. Apparently I’m huge in Scarborough.
By the time I went out that evening, about seven hours after Evans applied the non-streak foam to my skin, I had the kind of glow Blake Lively, Cameron Diaz, and Gwyneth Paltrow somehow manage to achieve despite being obviously naturally pale. I knew I’d found my new favourite tanning product the next day when, wearing jeans and a light-knit sweater, a man clearly waiting to catch a glimpse of a star outside the Shangri-La asked me why I looked so familiar. In a thick French accent, I apologized for my poor English explaining this was my first time in Toronto for teef so he probably didn’t know me unless… vous connaissez les films de Godard? What, did you expect my fake famous person persona to be a Hollywood cliché? After all, my tan is from St. Tropez.
What are some of your faux tan success or sob stories? Comment below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.