Can a pair of tights really give you a perfect fake tan We put them to the test…

Dream tan: But can tights that tan your legs while you wear them really make your legs look perfectly sun-kissed like this models

Dream tan: But can tights that tan your skin while you wear them really make your legs look perfectly sun-kissed like this model's

Once a pair of tights was just a pair of tights — but over recent years they’ve come imbued with added extras that promise to do everything from moisturising your skin to banishing cellulite.

Fake tan tights are the latest in this line of hi-tech hosiery and, rather than being a pair of tights in a fetching shade of WAG-ish orange, they’re a pair of tights that claim to reduce the mess and time of applying fake tan by tanning you while you wear them.

According to the manufacturers, ‘micro-fibres in the tights are impregnated with tanning solution. When these come into contact with the skin, the tanning agent starts to develop, leaving your legs perfectly tanned with no more orange palms, patchy ankles and stained carpets’.

With the weather so cold and our bodies so pasty, they sound like the answer to every woman’s prayers.

Just imagine: in the morning you encase your pale goosebumped legs in tights that keep them cosy from dawn until dusk, and then, at the end of the day, peel them off to reveal beautifully bronzed pins.

That’s the dream anyway. The reality is rather less glamorous, as I discover when I find myself standing, rooted to the spot, in my kitchen, wearing not much more than a pair of knickers and some soggy tights that smell faintly of a mixture of vinegar and dried biscuits.

If this is the new frontier in fake tanning, then I’m not convinced I want to be a part of it.

To be honest, I’d had some misgivings when I took them out of their silver vacuum pack. Far from being warm and inviting, they look, feel and smell like a pair of tights that have been dipped in fake tan.

Undeterred, I decide to press on and consult the sparse instructions provided to see if any elaborate preparation is required. It would appear not.

While my normal pre-tan plan involves a careful regime of exfoliation and moisturing, there’s no suggestion that this is necessary, so I don’t bother.

Curiously, there’s also no guidance on the tricky issue of pants. Do you keep them on, running the risk of ruining them, and gamble on the possibility that you’re going to end up with rather large expanses of white flesh

'The result is a golden glow in parts where the sun really doesn't shine'

Or do you go commando and end up with a rather — ahem! — Continental all-over tan

While I’m not prepared to put my best
cream silk Agent Provocateur pants on the line, I decide to cover up
with an old black M&S pair that I will happily sacrifice to the
greater good of a decent tan.

Using the plastic gloves provided, I unfold the soggy tights and attempt to put them on.

don’t know if you’ve ever tried to put on wet tights, but it’s
certainly not pleasant. They’re clammy, cold and reluctant to be pulled
up, but eventually I succeed in wiggling into them.

As per the instructions, I gently massage my legs to ensure even coverage, leave for ten minutes, massage again and remove them.

Hmm! My legs don’t look any different — they just feel colder and slightly sticky. But I decide to withhold judgment until the final colour has been given a chance to develop fully.

The instructions say my tan will take two hours to appear, but after that time has elapsed, the results remain subtle — to say the least.

Uneven tone: Claire found her legs did tan with the tights... just not the same shade all over

Uneven tone: Claire found her legs did tan with the tights… just not the same shade all over

However, six hours after I first struggled into the tights, there’s no mistaking the golden glow.

From the tops of my thighs to the tops of my ankles, I’m perfectly and evenly bronzed.

But that’s where the good news — and the even tan — ends.

I have white patches either side of my ankle bone that my massage clearly missed, the soles of my feet are almost black and my hips and waist are displaying stripes in various shades of brown.


Marks & Spencer reported a 50 per cent rise in sales of tights in their 'suntan' shade last year

And then there is the pants issue — and, without wishing to be too indelicate, it is a bit of an issue.

Because when I’d removed the tights, I’d left the pants on, rather forgetting that they might have absorbed some of the tanning solution and passed it on to what lies beneath. The result is a golden glow in parts where the sun really doesn’t shine.

Overall, I’m distinctly underwhelmed. Frankly, if you want to get the fake tan tights experience without shelling out 7.99, I suggest you put on a pair of rubber gloves, soak an old pair of tights in fake tan, wring them out and then attempt to put them on.

I expect that the effect will be pretty much the same.

When it comes to faking it, I’ll be sticking to my usual modus operandi — a tinted mousse (St Tropez or St Moriz) applied using a mitt, in unflatteringly bright light in front of a full-length mirror.

It takes me less than ten minutes to do my whole body, and less than five to do my legs. It’s swift, mess-free and effective — which, I’m afraid, is more than can be said for the fake tan tights.

Fake tan tights, 7.99,