A Redhead American Favourite: Green Angel Skincare

Green Angel has been a favourite of mine for over a year now. It’s a line of products that I’m excited to wake up and use and I don’t say that about many! When I went home to America for Christmas last year I brought some for my mom and she instantly loved the products too and put them on THIS year’s Christmas list. If she’s good Irish Santa might pack some in my suitcase for her!ūüėČ

The new luxury line consists of fresh Irish seaweed (rich in iron, iodine, trace elements and vitamins) products like cleansing lotion, facial toner, moisturiser and body oil. All of which are so refreshing and leave your skin feeling nourished and clean. Each Green Angel product is made with natural and organic ingredients too which adds an element of relaxation, and for myself, the assurance that I’m not putting anything dangerous on my face or body. In fact, everything I’m massaging in, is benefiting and nourishing my skin. In the little routine I’ve developed with this line,¬†I use the gentle cleansing lotion then remove with a warm wet cloth followed by spritzing toner to remove any excess dirt and then finish with the seaweed moisturiser (my favourite!).¬†The other day I forgot to put on primer and just had the moisturiser on underneath my foundation and it stayed surprisingly really well so that’s also a major plus for all makeup wearers.

Also I must say, the new packaging is really gorgeous. It’s definitely an excellent Christmas present for anyone, for those of you who may be potentially shopping around already or seeking inspiration!

As always, I love supporting quality Irish brands and I can’t say enough good about Green Angel! Their award wins speak for themselves!

Definitely a ‘bedside staple.’

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*Kind thanks to Mary and Chris at Green Angel for gifting me these products. Really happy to work with a great brand again!

4 Places to Stop Outside Belfast (Co. Down)

There’s a lot to see in Northern Ireland. Taking it all in is an ongoing adventure I force my boyfriend into exploring alongside me at least once a month (bless him – he secretly likes going though). I love cruising around with the radio on knowing I’m going somewhere to just roam about and take photos and be in nature in Ireland. I’ve said it before, it’s soul fuel for me!

We have ticked plenty of charming places off the list at this stage and yet there’s still so many to see. We have gone to MOST of the big touristy destinations. The one lacking being the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge (a couple posts back though you’ll see we were in the village where it’s located which is a VERY worth a visit).

This past weekend my original idea was something pretty close to Belfast. So we picked the Bangor area. We stayed in a little seaside B&B there last December and really enjoyed our time but didn’t explore the surroundings which is something a little different and definitely not as popular. There’s some seriously cool homes out that way that I enjoyed pointing at and imagining life in. I also felt particularly lucky that I saw at least twenty gorgeous dogs throughout the day. Not joking when I say I got even luckier with eight of them being sausage dogs!!! One of my absolute favourite breeds.

Places in/near Bangor

Helen’s Bay – We drove along Helen’s Bay on the main road right by it and it was pretty! But it’s also apparently a lovely beach to walk. I’ll have to go back.

Bangor Harbour – Right in the town and extending outwards, there’s a walking path for yourself and your favourite furry companion, a playground for kids, and if head into the town centre, some really great bars and restaurants.

Crawfordsburn Village – A very classy unique little village composed of a main street that’s lined with some of the nicest cars I’ve seen. If you’ve been to Cape Cod I’d compare Crawfordsburn as the small scale Chatham of Northern Ireland except no ocean. It’s tiny and there’s not much to do but it’s really really pretty and totally unlike any place I’ve seen in all of Ireland. I wish I had taken a photo of it but give it a Google if you’re interested!

Crawfordsburn Country Park – We came here kind of by accident. While driving I spotted a little sign where it looked like people were going for walks and I suggested we go there on our way back. When trying to find it, Google Maps took us here and we rolled with it. And I’m so glad we did because the foliage in the forest was spectacular. It made for some colourful shots. However, I don’t believe my Canon or even iPhone could do the vibrancy justice. It was so bright and beautiful!

So, if you like day trips and you’re in NI maybe seeking somewhere a little different, here ya go! (:

Let me know on Instagram where some of your favourite lesser known spots are!

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Feel Good Vintage Vibes & Belfast Photoshoot

A bit of glamour came into my life last month when Una of UW Brow Studio Belfast asked me if I’d model for her ‘Feel Good’ photoshoot collaboration with photographer Katrina Taggart.¬†It was a fun filled evening with the girls who made me feel extremely comfortable in Katrina’s studio, located on the Lisburn Road right next to Bob & Bert’s coffee. I was their doll for the evening! They dressed me up and styled me and we had a blast.

Vintage Vibes

I do everything really simply and naturally. Makeup, outfits, jewellery…everything! So it was a huge treat to sit and be pampered to hair and makeup and some really fun clothes that I’d never normally select myself. We went for a vintage look.

The Photoshoot Package

If you’re a Belfast lady or are trying to think of a fun gift for one, here’s the craic! The package valued at 95 per person starts with you being greeted with prosecco. If this doesn’t make you feel comfortable in front of the camera, the girls will (:¬†They are both so lovely and passionate about what they are doing. Once in the studio, Una will do makeup for an hour followed by a shoot directed by Katrina after. You’ll be given plenty of direction and can pick any style of shoot that you want! Perfect for Christmas presents for yourself or a friend!¬†

Check them out and book your session here:

Katrina Taggart Photography

UW Brow Studio

*Post in collaboration with Katrina Taggart Photography and UW Brow Studio

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5 Fall Favourites

An ode to my favourite time of year. I’ll keep it short and sweet. I know a lot of people hate romanticising colder months. But I don’t! Everything autumnal makes me feel cosy and warm inside.

  • My Little Pumpkin¬†–¬†My newest addition in home decor, albeit, a temporary one. And very cheap at just 2 quid. There’s smaller ones at Tesco for 1 I believe but I saw this first.

  • My old Michael Kors boots – I got these on sale for like 50% or something insane four years ago. This might be their last season but they’ve served me so well! You can see them on me in the top blogpost title photo!
  • 2018 Fall Fashion – I’m really loving anything plaid/check patterned and bold deep colours like maroon and dark green. And a classic turtleneck! The trends are really defined this year and I can’t remember ever having so many good trends in one season.

  • Joullerie – And on a stylish note, I am loving my few pieces from Joullerie! They‚Äôre such classic bits that go with anything. My style is quite simple so I like to keep accessories understated most of the time. Lately I’m loving the Artemis bracelet.¬†

  • Belfast. The city looks so pretty right now. I love the look of the foliage and stomping all the way down the sidewalk with the crunching leaves beneath my feet.¬†I took this snap the last day when I was exploring those gorgeous red brick house neighbourhoods off Lisburn road. Definitely worth taking a stroll through! Some old-timey dream houses in there ūüėć

Those are what I’m loving this past month! Not to exclude my million pairs of fuzzy socks, green tea sachets and cosy chunky knit sweaters. I’m also really really looking forward to Thanksgiving next month with my friends. What are your fall favourites?

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A Place in Northern Ireland You Have To See: Ballintoy Harbour

If you saw my Instagram post about my day trip this afternoon you’re already aware (although you might wish you weren’t) of my hilarious pun of how we were blown away with the views in Ballintoy. It’s a beautiful spot I actually hadn’t heard of until recently. It might ring more bells to those in NI when I say it’s where the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge is located. We didn’t visit that today though because it was quite windy and I don’t think we could handle being violently swayed back and worth.

Once you enter Ballintoy village, keep going straight through until you see a sign for the harbour. This will lead you down an incredibly narrow Irish road that’ll make you want to never drive again. There’s a parking lot and a cafe with bathrooms. And beautiful scenery.

Some brave tourists (including myself and Hughie) made it up onto the higher cliff parts. The wind and waves were insane. It was a really bad day not to have a bobble/ponytail holder/whatever you call it where you are, on my wrist to keep my hair out of my face. After climbing up, I was immediately shocked at A) how many people were up there with small children and B) how no one had been swept off. Probably one of the scariest/most spontaneous things I’ve done. For some this is nothing. But when I got sprayed by a wave, I was like right, let’s go. It was nonetheless, exhilarating and fun. Hughie’s fascination with the sea foam flying around ended when it wacked him in the face. It was hysterical.

*Boots are Michael Kors from four years ago (haha, they lasted!) and the chunky coat-igan as I call it, is from Primark two winters ago. I wear stuff until I can’t anymore.

Afterwards, we drove into the village and walked to the Fullerton Arm Bar which to my delightful surprise was DOG FRIENDLY. I was over the moon to be greeted by a pug, a very rotund Bichon and a King Charles spaniel. The food was amazing and it was a lovely cosy (and clean) pub. Finished the day out beautifully! ūüėč

Definitely a spot you need to see if you’re around NI.

Have you been to Ballintoy?

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Interview & Review with Sana Naturals

I’m so excited to share this brand. Firstly, because it’s an absolutely fantastic company I can’t say enough good things about. I’ve been using the products everyday since I got them and I noticed the difference in how my skin looked and felt within a few days. And secondly, it’s my first interview on Redhead American! Kasia, the owner, is a really interesting and inspirational woman. I’m delighted to share her insight into her Irish brand.

Sana Naturals are handmade in Ireland and based in Cavan.

What I Tried:

The products are all natural and smell divine. I’ve incorporated them into my daily skincare routine, which says a lot! What I really loved was that they have such various uses. That’s a massive perk of natural products. And Sana Naturals gets even better, they are eco-friendly.

Serum: it can go on your face, a drop in your foundation (really makes a difference!) and as a cuticle treatment.

Balm: this can be used on your lips as moisturiser, your hair for styling, and even on a pregnant belly for preventing stretch marks.

The Interview with Sana Naturals creator Kasia O’Reilly:

Where did you find the inspiration for your brand?

The love for nature has been passed down by women in my family for generations. Growing up I‚Äôd spend days in my granny’s luscious¬†garden picking wild plants, digging clay from the rich Polish soil and making herbal potions. This passion has naturally developed into natural skincare, especially as¬†I struggle with problematic skin. It’s¬†dry and oily in places, easily irritated and prone to breakouts. Years ago I didn‚Äôt realise that additives in skincare may cause these skin problems.

Straying from the trend of a complicated skincare routine with endless list of synthetic laden¬†products I took a back to basics approach and I started formulating with the Earth’s treasures¬†such as wild plants, botanical oils, healing clays etc. After all they’ve been cherished by women since ancient times for their healing and beautifying properties.¬†Sana Naturals eco-friendly skincare was born out of passion for nature, offering highly concentrated botanical products so you can have a healthy glowing skin with fewer products and fewer steps involved in your skincare routine.¬†The formulas are free from nastiness and are¬†handcrafted to be kind to sensitive skin and kind to¬†the Earth. It’ s a win-win for both our skin and the wellness of our planet.

Where do you want Sana Naturals to be this time next year? Any specific goals?

Getting positive feedback from ladies who tell me that my skincare treats helped them feel good in their skin again makes me incredibly happy. It’s an inspiration and the motivation for what I do.¬†Of course, I’d like to sell more products nationwide and start exporting abroad but the main goal is to¬†share the beautifying magic of plants and minerals to help women heal and nurture their skin, bring them joy and a peaceful mind and inspire them to reconnect with the healing powers of nature.

What has been your biggest milestone so far with starting Sana? 

To finalise launching Sana Naturals was the biggest challenge. I worked in a corporation before and didn’t have much time to focus on pursuing this dream. I was working on it at weekends and nights. Everything was ready in 2015 but then my little boy was born with reflux that seriously affected his sleep therefore the project was further postponed. The products were finally released in 2017. This was my major milestone.

How has the experience of starting a small business in a place like Ireland been for you?

Starting a business isn’t easy as you take a huge leap of faith stepping into the unknown.¬†I pour my whole heart into every jar and bottle and receiving support and positive comments from clients is incredibly encouraging. The help and support of the Cavan Enterprise¬†Office has been absolutely¬†invaluable and I find Ireland very friendly and supportive of small businesses.

What’s the best piece of advice you can give a new Irish brand just starting off? 

To be honest I’m not yet an expert by any means as I’m still learning, but I would say to just follow the dream, move one step at the time while enjoying the journey and and hope for the best.

What’s your favourite product from your range? Tough to pick I’m sure! 

Tough to pick indeed. I spent years perfecting that velvety texture and divine scent of the Heavenly Balm that offers the ultimate, luxuriously self- indulgent replenishing skin treatment. It’s my first product and an all over saviour for dry skin and hair.

The multitasking Serum is a lightweight¬†cocktail¬†of botanical¬†oils and for me it’s an absolute skin saver that helps heal and restore the natural healthy glow. All the products are versatile¬†and designed to compliment¬†each other but these are the two¬†that I can’t live without.

Thank you so much, Kasia! I can’t recommend her products enough.¬†

Find out more about Sana Naturals and shop the brand:

Website: https://www.sananaturals.ie/

Instagram: @sananaturals

Facebook: Sana Naturals

Pinterest: Sana Naturals

What’s in your skincare bag?

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Irish Brand Alert: Mungo Murphy Seaweed Co.

Mungo Murphy’s Seaweed Co. very kindly sent me some product samples to test out including sea soap, a face mask scrub and their lovely seaweed bag. All ingredients are natural.

I’ll get into why I really appreciate this brand. They’re pretty cool.

The brand name is a tribute to the farmer himself, Mungo Murphy, who lives with his quirky pets including a one eyed rabbit and a tailless cat. His passion for farming and seaweed seems to be what made the company bloom.

A CONNECTION

My mother hails from the deep Bronx of New York City but moved to Connemara when she was 13 with her parents who are Irish born. She brought my brother and I there nearly every year or every couple of summers growing up to visit our grandparents on their farm. It’s an extremely gorgeous setting with true rural charm. So when I found out Mungo Murphy Seaweed products are made and based just down the road from my sweet second home, I instantly was like ‘this is a match’ for Redhead American! Supporting Irish to me is already so excellent but Connemara hits really close to my heart!

SOCIAL PRESENCE

The company is a very interesting one because they’re a jack of all trades. On their Instagram they display their rural Irish life, like their local cuisine, their lovely pup, AND beauty/bath products. To me, this is a very well rounded account. By showing various aspects of where they are based and what they’re passionate about, they’re really drawing in a loyal and connected audience who are more likely to engage with them.

THEY DO TOURS

Their farm can be directly booked for visits (‚ā¨20-50) and is also a tour destination for tour companies like Connemara Food & Pub Tours and My Ireland Tours. Visit their website to find out how to book yours!

THEY SHARE RECIPES

On their website you’ll find recipes for really lovely looking meals. The sea grass, mint and marjoram yeast bread looks very much like something my dad would love. I might make that at Christmas when I return home. There’s plenty of fishy recipes for those who enjoy seafood.

THE PRODUCTS WORK AND ARE AFFORDABLE

The products themselves are just lovely and work really well. They make fantastic gifts for someone who loves Ireland or even natural bath products! I should also mention they’re insanely affordable, ranging from ‚ā¨5.95 for a sea bag to ‚ā¨60.00 for a pair of their gorgeous Abalone Shell earrings designed by Kate Dune.

L

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11 Lessons Three Years Abroad Taught Me

A very honest post. Being ‘hush hush’ about my REAL experiences is pointless because then my content is inauthentic and I’m not providing anything of value to readers. Thank you so much to everyone who reached out already and said this helped them! I am really touched that my lessons can help others and beyond happy to help.

From September 2015 until this past Tuesday, I was an international Bachelors of Arts undergraduate student at Maynooth University in Kildare. When I was 18 I took a one way flight to Dublin and started a new, extremely important chapter. It was just something I wanted to do and I can’t explain much more than that. I’m not quite sure what I’d be like if I didn’t. I am not going to go on about this like it was all roses and now I’m fantastic, haha, it was much, much harder than that.

With living abroad, there is some seriously unbearable days and moments where you crave the comfort of home. Of all kinds. And when you go to your actual new home after an already terrible day, your building’s community washing machine is locked and will continue to be locked with your wet clothes in it for two entire weeks until the janitor eventually fixes it. You lose the entire set of clothes and then can’t wash other clothes for those two weeks. You proceed to enter your kitchen and find your roommate has taken the last of your milk and is most definitely stealing your food. Living with new people is a shock to the system, especially when you don’t mesh with them. You eventually get used to a million minor inconveniences.

The hardest experience I had along the way (there were plenty) was when my first boyfriend dumped me out of nowhere, told me he was using me and didn’t care for me at all (charming, I know) after I decided to stay in Ireland for the summer. I spent that whole summer trying to find a job and couldn’t. I was lonely and sad and quite simply, heartbroken. At the end of the summer I had to repeat a few exams from first semester of first year (because I was very fond of going out and didn’t study so much…yikes!) and I put all my energy into my studies and passed. At the time I was so embarrassed that I didn’t tell anyone. I nearly left it all and went home! Looking back, I’d give younger Laura a big hug and say it’s okay to mess up and then slap her and ask why the hell she invested time into someone so obviously cruel. But again, we mess up, I’m human. My advice is to look at the tough stuff which can be like the simple examples above, or something much more serious, as an opportunity to learn.

I can happily say I’m so proud of where I am today! The beginning of this journey feels like a very long time ago. It took a LOT of work and mistakes and teary-eyed days. But I’ve got the diploma (;

I’ve learned some fairly valuable lessons from my university experience abroad and thought I’d share them in honour of closing this chapter! I also hope this helps anyone who may find themselves in this position.

1. You are your best friend. Friends come and go and at the end of the day, you only have yourself so you may as well take really good care of yourself. I used to take myself to lunch or coffee in the village once or twice a week when the budget allowed.

2. Be selective. You’re in charge of the way you feel so choose who you surround yourself with carefully. Bad friends are a waste of time. I’m not calling everyone I’m no longer friends with bad friends by the way. That’s harsh but when I look back at younger me, I become frustrated about how much I let ‘friends’ push me around. To reiterate, friends come and go! Not everyone is meant to stay and that’s okay. Wish them the best and carry on. I have a good attitude about this now but maybe about a year ago, I didn’t. Don’t go out with bad boys or bad friends. Just don’t.

3. Some people are just people to party with. A tough lesson it took my first two years to learn. They might be good fun and you have your laughs together but they’re not there for you when something goes wrong. Not everyone who seems nice and interested actually wants to be your friend. Protect yourself!

4. Don’t blow all your money. You seriously do not need a GHD everything. I don’t really know why I thought I did. Also, if I could do those three years again I’d join babysitting apps and/or some kind of hospitality agency that would allow me to earn and be choosy with my hours.

5. No one loves you more than your family. Treat them kindly <3

6. Call home when you feel down and then do something productive to distract yourself. Do something small to make yourself happy. For me, sometimes it’s self care like a face mask and painting my nails.

7. Make exercise regular. Motion is medicine and you’ll be able to settle into a place more if you have a regular routine and feel good about yourself!

8. Know when to say ‘nah, not for me.’ Walk away from stuff that doesn’t feel right. You don’t need to stay anywhere you don’t feel good.

9. You won’t gain any success by comparing your very special unique self to someone else’s looks, grades, economic background, etc.

10. Keep trying. Nothing comes naturally (well maybe some things do). Effort is necessary in all aspects. I did quite well at university in the end but I can openly admit I could’ve spent a lot of more of my free time in the books.

11. Don’t worry. Easier said. I wasted an insane amount of time worrying about boys, what people thought of me, how I looked, whether I’d get a job, etc. It’s really natural to worry but I always remind myself it all works out. I encourage you to not give a damn about this stuff. By being yourself you attract what’s meant for you.

You will change and grow and learn more about yourself than you ever thought! Wishing those going to university far away or moving abroad the very best on their adventuresūüėä Congratulations on making a very exciting choice. You will thank yourself later!

L

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My First Belfast Fashion Week

Hiya’s.

Trousers from River Island & top is ASOS. Booties are Primark from last winter. 

HAPPY FALL

It is fashion week season! Happy fall/autumn depending on where you are from! My friends keep telling me it’s sooo American to say fall but to be honest I say either. It’s time for big chunky knit sweaters and boots..and this season, really fun funky trends which I’ll talk about later in this post! I work near the high street shops and I have my eye on so many beautiful autumnal piecesūüėć especially after the BFW press launch! I find autumn to be an inspiring renewing period in general. I get more done and just feel happy and cozy as the weather changes and pumpkin lattes resurface on all of our social media screens.

FASHIONABLY A COUPLE MINUTES LATE 

I was invited to the press launch for Belfast Fashion Week run by the fabulous Cathy Martin and happily attended this past Friday at the Fitzwilliam Hotel on an extended lunch break I took. After stepping out from my 9-5 office job, I waited on my cab which ran seriously late to the point I considered starting to jog over. Finally the cab rocks up, I jump in, listen to the driver talk about Belfast’s new bus system as I read over the press email and slap on my high heel booties. I ran in (minutes late which made me a nervous wreck because I was told to be on time) and to my surprise, the runway show itself started fashionably late…Thank god. We had time to chat and get our bearings. It was photographers, models, press, bloggers, etc. I happily chatted with bloggers I knew and met new ones for about twenty-ish minutes. This is all overwhelming but fun. VERY luckily, just because of where I was standing and socialising, I ended up right up and close with the runway entrance. Belfast Fashion Week is sponsored by West Coast Cooler so naturally I had one in my hand (It’s a wine cooler for my American readers). Annnnnd it dripped all over the floor because it was so warm in the room the condensation just slid right off my glass and onto the ground. To give you a mental image, all the guests were standing and the runway was a path cleared in the crowd. The water droplets were about a foot and a half from models and their precious high heeled feet. This is only a teeny tiny glimpse into a day in the life of Laura Murphy (and a rather glamorous one!). My friend Caoimhe said if she made a comedy show about my life she would make millions.

Me taking advantage of the prime lighting with a cheeky selfie in the Fitzwilliam, amongst the swarms of launch peeps

BOSTON TO BELFAST

If you know me you’ll know when I was 16 I got swept into modelling and did a few Boston Fashion Week shows back in 2013. It was exciting and glamorous and I guess when I left modelling I never thought I’d be at a fashion week event again. Yet here I am! And I’ll be at the runway shows in October here in Belfast. The Boston bloggers blogging at BFW in 2013 are the OG bloggers of Massachusetts and even New England. I still follow them. Check out Georgina and Elissa.

Here is my beautiful and fun friend Hama rocking her silver dress! Check her out on Instagram here.

TRENDS FOR FALL 2018

  • Tartan, plaid, check prints (think Clueless vibes)
  • Pops of colour – mustard yellow, royal blue, poppy reds
  • Power Suits (like Hillary Clinton but more 90s and much more cleavage)
  • Red lips
  • Puffa jackets
  • Polka Dots
  • Snakeskin
  • Animal print

THE LOOKS & MODELS 

It was a fantastic event. The models were gorgeous and really wore the pieces well. Apologies for a lack of quality images. My iPhone clutched hand was shaking and the other hand was holding a vey slippery beverage. I had a blast and wished I could have gone out for lunch with some of the bloggers after but alas, bills must be paid and bosses mustn’t be pissed off.

Want to attend #WCCFW in Belfast? Read more and book your tickets at: http://www.belfastfashionweek.com/

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Irish Brand Alert: Tantastic

I’m as pale as they come. If you don’t know, Irish girls love love love their tan. When I first moved to Ireland the girls I made friends with were like ‘where is your tan Laura?!?’ Amongst other things like ‘you can’t wear flip flops to the club’ and ‘do you have a dress with you?’ Haha, so American upon arrival. I’ve really settled in well here…maybe too well some may say!

If I’m going out out, I’m using tan. I do it the day before. And the day before that, I shave and moisturise to prevent the tan from settling into pores leaving dark little spots. It makes such a difference and Tantastic advises this on their bottles as well!

My favourite out of the 4 tans was the liquid! It goes on so well and gives you a colour immediately then sets in over the course of the day. I wear shade medium so you know it’s not too dark for you if you’re pale and wondering if it’ll be too much.

Tantastic is a Belfast based company. Which is supporting super local for me because I live in the cityūüėäūüĎćūüŹĽ The brand is super popular with Irish gals and here’s why!

The best things about Tantastic:

1. It’s Irish ‚ėė Support local, guys! Tantastic can be found in pharmacies across the UK and Ireland.

2. It doesn’t smell like tan. It smells good actually. The lotion smells really nice.

3. It dries quick. There’s no need to feel like you’ve to stand around for an hour, preventing you from getting dressed and going out.

4. You don’t have to wash it off a few hours later. Wash it off 7 hrs later or leave it on depending on the type of tan (liquid, spray etc).

5. It hydrates your skin instead of drying it out.

6. Vegan for all the vegans out there! I’m not vegan but I always am happy to use a product that is.

7. It’s controllable. Usually I shy away from the shade medium as I’m seriously pale but medium was perfect and not an overbearing colour like other tans.

My top tips when using this tan is make sure you’re using the recommended mitt and also make sure you apply generously!

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