I have always loved the world fashion and beauty, ever since I could pick up my mum’s lipstick and put her shoes on. Little did I know that one day it would become a part of my career.
My love affair with the suntan has already been documented through the years, although I can hang my head low and say I was born in an era when the safe-sun message, and the dangers of skin cancer where not well publicised. When the sunbed first arrived it was touted as the way to get a safe tan. Boy, how wrong we were! However, I was keen to try the first proper commercial fake tans when they appeared. The first was a facial tan and it was bright orange. However, when I applied it nothing happened! At that point I had only used instant tans, which were like watery stewed tea back in the day, and so I put more on. Three hours later and still no joy so the whole tube got used. Oh dear. I turned up at University the next day with a sizzling dark orange face. To be fair, it lasted a week. The next self-tanner I used, by a very well known cosmetics house, went on like white house paint. It dried like chalk. Of course the next day I was fifty seven shades of beige to mahogany, and I smelled of rotten eggs.
So after University, I started off my career as a teacher and ended up teaching Economics, Business and English for over a decade. I did love a good holiday (I do miss the summer holidays) and one year on a summer trip I got chatting to a fantastic girl, (well we were girls then!) and she was bringing a new product to the UK called Fake Bake. Because I was so interested, we spent a good few hours here and there chatting about it, and life in general, and who would have thought a chance meeting in a hotel lobby would change my life, and start a friendship that has lasted for well over a decade.
From the world of the classroom I watched on as Fake Bake grew, but let me tell you, I got a real lesson about setting up a business that no textbook can teach you. Hours spent up and down motorways, endless meetings, getting salons on board…….the team was tiny back then, but they were a tight knit bunch. I was glad to just be a friend from the sidelines. I was so proud as the company grew and I remember the first time I saw it in magazines, or discussed on beauty segments on TV shows, and I would applaud every time.
Now cut to a few years later, and I am a part of the furniture………almost! Five years ago today I started at Fake Bake, and my original job was as part of the Marketing Team, and it was to devise and set up the Save Your Skin campaign! The team at Fake Bake were keen to put together something to reach young people, and with my background, it helped us plan information that would be understood and would really get the message across. I spent some amazing time with dermatologists, nurses, oncologists and spoke to sunscreen manufacturers. It changed my whole attitude to skincare and sunbathing completely, and my belief in what I learned has never left me. Seeing the campaign being applauded with a celebrity studded Ball was a great moment! It was a high point to interview Leonor Stjepic, the CEO of RAFT, a leading medical research charity improving life for those who have suffered severe injuries by getting scientific innovation from bench to bedside, who is a leading light in so many areas of medical research, including the all-important area of skin cancer.
I have done so many different things over the years. Back in the dark ages (!) some of my former pupils got me to join a site called Facebook so they could keep in touch. I remember when our first Fake Bake Facebook page had its first 40 followers. I recall having a chat to the team about a programme I had seen on MTV called Jersey Shore. I said that within a year similar programmes would explode in the UK within a year – and they did! It is hard to imagine a life without TOWIE, Geordie Shore and MIC, but at the time they were very new……….
So here I am today. Five years older, and the Social Networking Executive for Fake Bake. What does that mean? Well apart from overseeing our Facebook and Twitter accounts in the UK, I also write the Fake Bake Blog, which is my baby, really. I have covered almost everything on that Blog, but my main aim is to take trends that our customers would like and translate them into styles – with a tanning look to match – that they would enjoy wearing. It is my job to know what the Fake Bake fans like, what they don’t like, and who they look up to! I feel after five years I know them pretty well
I could not do my job without the support of the team and this central proviso: I absolutely believe in the quality and performance of every product Fake Bake produces and sells. I know how much goes into innovation behind-the-scenes, and how much effort goes into getting the formulations just right. There are fun parts, for sure: I got to represent Fake Bake at the Juice FM Style Awards in Liverpool and got to take my mum, which was an amazing night. I am lucky to get invited to other fashion and beauty events and had a fabulous day at the opening of Beauty Bazaar Harvey Nichols in Liverpool One, as Fake Bake is a huge brand there. I have interviewed lots of celebs for the Blog, and also met lots of inspirational people.
Last year I got to work on the Fake Bake Real Women Fake It Campaign – our search to find six really amazing women to represent the brand. I wasn’t part of the judging (thank goodness!) but the six winners were and are exceptional. I got to know them a bit better as I interviewed them for the Blog. We had so many entries, I read every one, and it taught me a lot: there are a lot of very beautiful and very thoughtful women in the UK and their stories touched my heart. We came across so many Fake Bake fans who were going through so much, but every day they would get up and move through life, having no idea how inspirational they are! Working as part of the campaign was a proud moment.
Of course, anyone who uses social networking will know it is a learning curve every day, but I would say the best bit is that I get to converse with a great bunch of people, and they offer the brand so much support and loyalty. I like to think I do a good job as, for the most part, my name is generally invisible but people who have been visiting the pages for a long time or who have won a competition get to know there is a real person behind the posts and tweets!
As you can imagine, I constantly get asked tanning questions by people who know me, and friends of friends. I love our whole range, but these are my all-time FIVE FAKE BAKE FAVOURITES………………………….(in no particular order!)
Fake Bake GOLD Self Tanning Lotion
This is quite simply the best self-tan I have ever tried. As part of my job I have often tested out other brands (just to see what they are like) and for me, at least, nothing beats the results I get with Gold. It goes on like a dream, and as someone who is not one of the youngest members on staff(!) it suits my skin perfectly. I tan easily in the sun (which I don’t do anymore, of course!) but my skin can be dry in parts so the skincare goodies and anti-oxidants in the formula really treat my skin. This has to be one of my favourite beauty products of all time. It is the ultimate in luxury tanning and proves that Fake Bake knows how to get the formulas just right. And I love the packaging – looks great in any bathroom!
I never take selfies but this is me with my Gold on. I do have two legs, by the way…….
Fake Bake FLAWLESS DARKER was off the blocks and straight into best selling and award winning territory!
You may find this hard to believe, but I do find some tans hard to apply. It is not the tan’s fault, but I do have a major disability in my right arm, so when you are tanning with your ‘wrong’ arm it is a bit of a challenge. And get the violins out, I am single so there is no boyfriend in the background to help. When Fake Bake Flawless first arrived on the scene I was seriously impressed. The spritz formulation and the application mitt made applying it a breeze and the colour was so natural. Everyone kept asking me about it when they saw the results. So when Fake Bake Flawless Darker was launched I was more than happy, as it suits my darker skintone. I still do use both products: Flawless for when I want a lighter golden glow, and Darker for when I want to look bronzed. That’s the best thing about the range: you don’t have to stick to a ‘look’ you can change your shade to suit your mood.
FAKE BAKE PLATINUM FACE SELF TANNER
If you read my Blog you will know I am of a certain age (!) and so I am obsessed with anti-ageing skincare. My one problem with face tanners in the past was that they dried my skin out – and I have oily skin! This wasn’t a problem ten or fifteen years ago, but now it is. So when Fake Bake Face Platinum was formulated it was really important that it was a skin treatment and not just a tanner. One thing I love about my job is that opinions are heard. Not just from the team but from our customers, sales staff, and salon professionals, too. Face is simply a brilliant tanner. I use the Fake Bake Face Polish first and then apply the product on my face and neck, blending well. There is not a hint of orange. Because it is packed with skincare ingredients based around apple cell stem technology, this means my skin is pampered during the night. This product comes into its own in the summer, as I often don’t bother with any foundation or even tinted moisturiser as my skin feels and looks great. The packaging is beautiful, and a little goes a long way!
This is not a selfie as I didn’t take it but that’s me and my Face Platinum in action!
FAKE BAKE 60 MINUTES SELF-TAN
This product caused a huge buzz with the team when we heard about it. As a totally new concept, it was a closely guarded secret and the formula was hugely important: obviously because a time limit was involved it had to be just right! As soon as it was launched it was a HUGE hit and within weeks other brands were imitating it – well, they do say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery! This product has proved to be a bit of a revolution. The concept of tanning in such a short time is a beauty shortcut we all love to make! It is brilliant in the summer on really hot days, as you can just apply, and shower off an hour later. Everyone should have one on standby!
FAKE BAKE OIL FREE MOISTURISER
Before the brand came along, my biggest problem with self tan was trying to maintain it. After a day or two of applying oil-rich body moisturisers the tan would break down, and go patchy, and that is not a good look! This is just a wonder product. I apply it on drier areas like knees and elbows before tanning, to get a super-flawless result. After using my self tan I use this every day to maintain my tan. I also think that this is just a brilliant skin treat as well. I have always suffered with oily skin on parts of my body like my back and chest, but leaving off moisturiser on these areas just led to more problems and then (eek!) skin that looked, well, a bit crinkly! Now I can moisturise away without blocked pores. So this product would definitely go on a desert island with me – and I will be sitting under a tree with as sunhat on!
All products are available at www.fakebake.co.uk
This blog is really to say a huge THANK YOU to Sandra, Maggie, Victoria, Alison, Ronan, Kirsten, Natalie, Jim Doc, Ann and everyone at Team Fake Bake, including the fab therapists at Fake Bake At Home, as well as Margaret and Sharon at the Fake Bake Beauty Boutique Glasgow and Charlie at the Fake Bake Beauty Boutique Selfridges Manchester, who help and support me all of the way. Thanks for making me part of the team for five years. Your generosity, kindness and expertise make my job a great place to be!