Sometimes it’s best to leave it to the professionals…

Fake tanning is pretty much a necessity when you are a pale as I am – so I make as much effort as I can to do it regularly (sometimes failing a little due to being a lazy beauty junkie) but I will rarely get my legs out without a coat of fake tan.

Normally I do this myself, but when I received an email from James Harknett – aka The Spray Tan Man – offering me an at-home spray tan, I just had to give it a go. Especially since James is the man responsible for the tans of Take That on their mega tour last year (I want to insert a joke about Jason ORANGE here, but he wasn’t, so I cant) this means he has seen my childhood idols (don’t mention the Mark Owen love rat stuff, I’m blocking it from my mind) in their smalls, or less!

My appointment with James was on the Thursday evening right before my birthday weekend – which was lovely as I had a few things happening over the weekend and I could look nice and brown for them. The best thing about the at home professional tan is that it is so convenient. None of those hassles of needing to get dressed up and put make-up on then have to remove it and do the muddy walk of shame after the spray tan. I could be sprayed and then slob around in baggy dark clothes, bra-less, without feeling self-conscious since I was at home.

One of the things I loved about James’ approach was that he comes with a wide selection of tanning brands to use – he isn’t tied to any particular brand at present, although he has worked with Lee Stafford on the Fake My Tan range as the ambassador. But independence when it comes to his spray tanning means he can custom select a tan that works for your skin tone, the shade you want to go and all the other bits and bobs you love/hate about tanning.

On James’ advice I went for the Xen Tan spray, I was happy to give it a shot despite really not being keen on it when I tried it out myself (see my review HERE). The problem there was that I didn’t like the application process – although the end result was a lovely colour. So when James applied the tan as the professional it was ideal, all my niggles about it evaporated as I was turned a healthy tan colour.

Next best thing to the convenience of James’ services? The price – I was honestly amazed that he only charges £30 for a home visit in North or East London (£40 in central – to account for parking/congestion charges) that’s about the same as an in-salon visit, but with the added convenience of it being in your own home.

Also, James is friendly and totally put me at ease – it is the first spray tan I have had done by a man, but I didn’t feel uncomfortable at all.

I also picked up a tip that will probably seem really obvious to most, but something I had just never clicked on before and I think it will make a huge difference to my tanning in future. James told me not to use an oil-based moisturiser before tanning, for at least a couple of days as the oil can act as a barrier to the product and prevent the colour for absorbing properly. I honestly had never clicked about this, thinking it was a case of just don’t moisturise all over before tanning (apart from the usual dry bits – elbows, knees, etc). So top tip – check your not using an oil based moisturiser if your tanning. It’s definitely a mistake I didn’t realise I was making.

I also asked James’ about my own issue with my calves – I was always just baffled by the fact my calves just don’t take colour, real or fake! It’s frustrating as the rest of my legs do. James’ basically explained it’s just a fact of life, sometimes area that aren’t exposed to sun as much make it harder to take any sort of colour – the solution is to do a couple of coats on those sort of areas, which James did and it left me with the nicest, most even colour on my legs that I have ever had!

All in all, I was very happy and will definitely be booking again next time I have a special occasion and need a bit of a glow.

You can find out more about James and his services at

Oh and p.s. he was on GMTV, talking tans this morning….



  1. July 7, 2010 / 8:46 am

    I saw him on GMTV he seemed really lovely…..cant believe he only charges £30??? shame I dont live in London, if I did I would def book up. Had my first spray tan at a salon last week and was plesantly surprised by the results, couple of areas I would take more care over next time but all in all the colour developed well, and so much easier than trying to do it yourself…:)

  2. July 7, 2010 / 9:10 am

    He is really lovely and I agree – £30 is a fantastic price to pay for an at home tan. I normally aim to get my first fake-tan of the summer done in a salon as it’s so much easier to maintain rather than start from scratch – I will definitely use James’ service again!

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