There's nothing fake about Duncan Bannatyne's suntan, which is courtesy of Cannes sunshine, where my favourite Clydebank dragon has a home. So when I heard that his company, Bannatyne Spa, had launched an odourless spray tan, I thought it was worth taking a closer look.
I'm paler than a sheet, so dread having to bare my milk-coloured pins during the holidays. Arriving at the Queen Street spa at the appointed time, one has to fill in a form, fessing up to any health issues. I had an inward chuckle at one of the questions – "What do you hope to achieve from your visit?" I almost replied "Not to be blue would be a miracle", but reckoned that miracles may cost more. This 15-minute tan is branded as maintenance, as opposed to luxury, and it comes with a modest price tag. However, I reckon that it can only be classified as a true bargain if it comes up trumps.
The spa manager, Louise, welcomes me and lets me change into my monogrammed fluffy robe, so I can recline on the heated beds in the relaxation room. I quickly discover, after a girly chat with my neighbour, that she is here for the same treatment, on the recommendation of a friend who claims that the tan is the best she has ever had. There's no better way to soothe a nervous nature than to be reassured by evidence of a happy client, so I'm no longer scared of the outcome.
After I've put on the disposable pants and shower cap of shame, Louise carefully moisturises my skin before demonstrating the hieroglyphic poses that I have to strike, once I've entered the tanning booth. Not a square inch of my body is left untouched by the airbrush, as Louise carefully administers the regimented coverage, while preserving as much of my modesty as possible. You are then left to dry for five minutes, before being given instructions to shower off the product in the morning.
Success. The tan lasted for a full seven days and looked very natural. I found that it wasn't completely odourless, but the smell faded after a couple of days. When asked about my new sun-kissed complexion, my (not completely untruthful) reply is; "I've spent some time with an old friend from Cannes". Well, a gal's got to preserve an air of mystery.
Bannatyne Spa, 48 Queen St, Edinburgh (0845 434 8466, www.bannatyne.co.uk).
Fab facts for a beautiful life
Time to choose
Want a figure like Cheryl Cole? Dr James L D'Adamo, the creator of Cole's eating plan of choice, the Blood Type Diet has published Just an Ounce of Prevention... is Worth a Pound of Cure. It takes all his original concepts, devised in the 1970s, and updates them with new findings.
Just an Ounce of Prevention... is Worth a Pound of Cure (Hay House, 13.99)
Rise and sheen
Thanks to the new Huile Sublime Bois d'Orange by Roger & Gallet, we've come over all Mediterranean. This multi-tasking dry oil can be spritzed all over your body, to give it a subtle sheen, or used to moisturise hair, hands or your face. Best of all, it smells of juicy orange blossom, with a hint of jasmine and cedar.
Roger & Gallet Huile Sublime Bois d'Orange, 22, selected pharmacies and department stores (0800 028 2125)
Those who don't like wearing saggy-bottomed jogging pants will love the new Sweaty Betty run skirt. It's made from polyamide elastane, which has the ability to wick sweat away from your skin. Don't worry about flashing, as there's a modesty-preserving pair of shorts concealed underneath the pelmet.
Run skirt, 42, Sweaty Betty (www.sweatybetty.com)
• This article was first published in The Scotsman, Saturday July 3, 2010