My lightbulb moment: Amanda Harrington reveals when she decided tanning technology had to change

My lightbulb moment: Self-tan innovator Amanda Harrington reveals when she decided tanning technology had to change

Amanda Harrington, 40, founded her sunless tanning brand in 2019. She lives in Oxfordshire with her dog, Spider.

After a degree at the University of the Arts , I studied performance make-up at the London College of Fashion, before working on films such as Tomb Raider and touring with The Rolling Stones.

A few years later, I founded InParlour, a mobile beauty service that offered a range of home treatments, including tanning.

I remember the moment I decided that tanning technology had to change.

It was 2002 and I was spray-tanning a wealthy client at her penthouse in Park Lane, London.

I wasn‘t a fan of spray guns as they didn‘t give me the control I wanted, and the alcohol-heavy formulations not only dried the skin, but were unpleasant to inhale.

The session was a nightmare — the tan was going everywhere and the client got increasingly annoyed. I burst into tears out of frustration. To compound matters, although both of us were wearing masks to prevent us inhaling the tan fumes, I had an asthma attack.

There had to be a better method. It was important to create a safe, sunless option that meant people could easily get a golden tan, without any risk to their health.

Handy: The Small Body Brush, £32, harveynichols

I decided to go back to my roots. My father, an artist, taught me to paint from the age of six, so brushes had been part of my life.

Using them to apply tan made perfect sense. It‘s much easier to control the amount you‘re applying, and you can brush, buff, blend and stipple tint into the skin in a way that contours and enhances the bone structure. My background in art also helped when it came to creating the shades.

I wanted more than just light, medium and dark, so I made shades that enhance your natural skin tone. This way, you end up with a colour that reflects how your skin would tan naturally.

Rather than using alcohol, I used skincare ingredients, such as vitamin A, hyaluronic acid and coenzyme Q10.

I started out just making the product for my clients, who include models Cara and Poppy Delevingne and actress Sienna Miller, but now my sunless tans and brushes are stocked in Harvey Nichols and Space NK.

It turns out that disastrous tanning session on Park Lane wasn‘t such a disaster after all.


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