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Beyond the pale

Over the past few months, a quiet and gradual revolution has been gaining momentum in the fashion and beauty spheres.

You may have noticed the subtle shift, perhaps without realising that you were witnessing an underground movement going mainstream, but now it looks like the terrifying reign of tango-tinged fake tan is -- finally -- over.


Super fair-skinned and gorgeous celebrities such as Christina Hendricks and January Jones of Mad Men and songstress Florence Welch are the poster girls for this trend of embracing the pale. The more natural look gets the seal of approval from fashion houses such as Chloé, too, as models at Paris Fashion Week sported fake freckles that make-up supremo Charlotte Tilbury had painstakingly dotted on using lip liner.

Even onetime tanaholic Victoria Beckham has significantly dialled down the brown of late. The former Spice Girl turned designer recently declared that she was over fake tan, and urged fans to “embrace your natural colour!”

That last emissary is an unlikely one, I'll grant you, but the message itself is loud and clear: fake tan is O-U-T.

Now, while the wane of fake tan's popularity will please bed sheets, white clothes, and those fed up with its soggy biscuit smell, its demise does present its own problems, unless you happen to be blessed with perfect porcelain skin.

My own Celtic complexion is, quite frankly, not a thing of beauty left to its own devices. Oh sure, I have the kind of God-given freckles across my nose that a Chloé model can only dream of, but for the most part my skin's so blue-white it glows in the dark and it's inclined to be blotchy. The small raised red bumps that are keratosis pilaris blight the backs of my upper arms, and a network of veins that could pass for electrical circuit wiring diagrams are clearly visible through the pasty skin on my legs and chest.


Happily, a bronze lacquer is not the only thing capable of giving a flawless look. MAC Face And Body Foundation, €36 for 120ml, is the reason you never see a pale celeb with legs like a side of corned beef, and is one of Dannii Minogue's very favourite products.

Don't let the words "face" and "foundation" mislead you: it's designed to be used all over to provide sheer but skin-perfecting coverage. Transfer- and water-resistant, it's the secret weapon of many brides seeking to create the illusion of flawless-limbs without adding colour on their big day.