Susie Rushton: Beauty Queen

Saturday 17 May 2008 00:00 BST

Suntans are bad news, aren't they? They're technically unhealthy, make you wrinkly and, on top of that, are morally dubious (now that, according to Which?, eight year old kiddies are sneaking onto the electric beach in order to look bronzed in the playground). Think of Nicole Kidman, Tilda Swinton, dead-eyed Irish Jenny from The Apprentice...okay, maybe not her. Pale is gorgeous. Tanning is for Posh Spice. Fine. Then, the unthinkable happens. The sun comes out. In Britain! Before you can say malignant melanoma, we're up on the roof, in the park, grilling the gams, blithely taking our chances with the UV rays whenever possible – as evidenced by the spiralling numbers of skin cancers here.

The honeyed, "healthy" brown look seemingly forever remains in vogue, ever since Ms Coco Chanel, back in the 1920s, decided the labourer's sunburn would look terribly chic with her sailor's trousers and pearls. So, not wishing to be repulsively, unfashionably white, I've decided to compromise, and sunbathe for only 30 minutes at a time, using a good sunscreen. The best I've tried recently is Sisley sun care, which offers more protection against the wrinkle-inducing UVA rays than most, and stops already-dry skin from turning into chapatti. Beyond that, I'm faking it. After a nasty incident with self-tanner last summer (think badly varnished pine dresser) you'll only find bronzers in the Rushton bathroom this spring. MAC's powders are most convenient, but Estee Lauder's Luminous Liquid Bronzer has lately converted me to a method which is, if messier, also more 'glowing'. The stuff looks terrifyingly brown in the bottle, but mix it with moisturiser and you'll look like you've been happily "off sick" for a week. The healthiest option of all may be Lauder's new Bronze Goddess Eau Fraiche: a light amber-and-coconut fragrance that evokes hot skin and sun lotion, you'll only smell like you've got a tan.

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