Why I've Decided To Stop Tanning (Even the Fake Kind) and Embrace the Pale

Tanned skin, you're dead to me.
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Michelle Villett
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Tanned skin, you're dead to me.
Rachel McAdams - The Vow premiere

So you know how I've slowly, over the years, developed a major aversion to blonde highlights? (You know—the generic kind that hairdressers seem to give out like candy, when truthfully most people are way more suited to warmer, darker, more tone-on-tone, all-over colour.) I can't walk down the street without secretly wanting to tell every third woman I pass that her hair could look a lot better.

Well, the same thing is happening to me with tanning.

'Tis the season, I know. But real or fake, I just don't think a tan looks that GOOD anymore.

Case in point: A few weeks ago at a beauty event, I was absolutely mesmerized by one of the publicists and her tan. It was super-dark and it was real (I asked). I forget where she'd been, but it was the kind of tan you can only get by spending three weeks in the south of France, if you know what I mean. And at age 16, I probably would have given my left arm to look like that. But now? I just found myself worrying for her future (filled with premature freckling and wrinkles, no doubt) and thinking, well, it's not even cute! I mean, all you saw with the girl was TAN... not her pretty features.

I don't think I'm the only one who's on this no-tan train either. Lately I'm noticing that so many more celebs are choosing to just go with their pale skin, unapologetically, like Rachel McAdams, above.

Or Christina Hendricks.

Christina Hendricks - Struck By Lightning premiere

Or Marion Cotillard.

Marion Cotillard - The Dark Knight Rises premiere

Or Amanda Seyfried.

Amanda Seyfried - Gone premiere

Or my new obsession (which many of you don't understand, apparently!), the lesser-known B (C?) lister Holland Roden.

Holland Roden - Teen Choice Awards 2011

Compare and contrast to fake-bakers like Ashley Tisdale. (Side note: These are the kind of highlights I have a BIG problem with. Double whammy here!)

Ashley Tisdale - Step Up Revolution premiere

And of course, Kim Kardashian. (This is an old pic, but you get the idea that this tanning thing has gone WAY TOO FAR, yes?)

Kim Kardashian faux tan blonde hair

There are so many more who overdo the tans—Christina Aguilera, Lindsay Lohan, Donatella Versace, the entire female cast of Jersey Shore. There's just something just so... well, FAKE about it. (Duh.) And in beauty, we really are finally moving away from that—it's SO '00s. (Seriously, I think we're gonna look back on that decade quite soon and cringe, big time. Fake tans, fake blonde hair... ugh, it was all so gross.)

Anyway, aside from my celebrity observations that tanning is out and natural skin is IN, I'm also just not feeling the whole self-tanner process this year.

I tried, I really did. At the beginning of the season, I went for the whole head-to-toe application of one of my favourite self-tanners, Rodial, which for the record smells wonderful and caramelly instead of like curry.

(If you must invest in self-tanner then this is the line I recommend. Especially the face product, which looks like this:)

Busted Image

But? For the first time in my life, I just felt like tanner was no longer my thing. People were asking me if I'd been away (yes, the colour is that good), but suddenly it just felt weird to admit that it came from a bottle. Anyone else feeling like this? Is it just me?

As for real tanning, well, I would be a bad beauty editor if I ever advocated for that. However—I won't lie, I've been known in my past to enjoy lying out in the sun, with sunscreen. It just feels good!

But this year I've completely abandoned even that. (Possibly why I'm okay sans-tanner. When you aren't baring your pale, cellulite-ridden thighs to the world in a bathing suit, it's easy to be preachy. I'll be the first to admit that tanners provide good camo for body insecurities.)

My reason for running away from the sun like a vampire this year, however, has to do with my face. Because I'm in great danger of this happening:

Lily Cole - The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus photocall 2009

Yep, it's the freckles. They're cropping up like CRAZY out of nowhere. Except mine are not the cute kind. And so, I ordered this up from Well.ca. (Pic from my Instagram.)

Lustra Hydroquinone Cream

It's a 4 percent hydroquinone, and after seeking some dermatological advice, I've decided I'm going to try it. In Canada, you can buy 4 percent hydroquinone over the counter, and that's your best bet topically if you really want to fade spots and discolourations—although they're notoriously hard to get rid of no matter what. I used to be extremely anti-hydroquinone, but my derm said if you don't use it long-term (i.e. for more than six months), it's okay. And well, I'm desperate. The only other option is a series of IPL (intense pulsed light) treatments, and that'll be a few thousand dollars pricier than this guy, which is only $38.95. (Order it here with free shipping in Canada and no minimum order.)

Apparently you get the best results if you combine it with Retin-A (I guess because that helps it penetrate?) so I'm doing that in the evenings underneath the Lustra, and then Lustra alone in the mornings. Well, not alone—it's absolutely ESSENTIAL that you use sunscreen with this, or you'll quite likely end up with something worse than what you started with.

So... I'll keep you posted! I mean, I want to be pale, but I also want to be flawlessly, porcelain pale. New.Beauty.Goal.

In the meantime, tell me:
Are you going with your natural skin tone instead of stinky, streaky fake-tanner?
Or are you one of those people that just looks and feels better being bronzed?
Ever tried to fade your freckles? What worked for you?