Strictly Tan-tastic

December 17th, 2013

December 17th, 2013

In our second exclusive behind-the-scenes interview from Strictly Come Dancing, Warpaint goes behind the bronze to talk to St.Tropez Tanning & Skin Finishing Expert, Jules Heptonstall.

Jules Heptonstall

Jules Heptonstall

As the tan is as important to the finished look as make up and costume, Jules is a very important man to both celebs and pros. One of the UK’s leading skin finishing experts with a client list that includes Sienna Miller, Rita Ora, Laura Whitmore, Millie Mackintosh, Poppy Delevigne, Suki Waterhouse and Little Mix, Jules is based in St Tropez’s London HQ and works with press, fashion houses, awards ceremonies, festivals and TV – including both Strictly and X-Factor.

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When does the tanning take place each week?

We spray tan the contestants and dancers every Friday with St.Tropez Self Tan and then on the weekend shows we apply St.Tropez Instant Tan Wash Off Face & Body Lotion (£10) and Skin Finishing products such as St.Tropez Illuminators (£12.26 each) to add sheen and definition before they perform.

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How long does it take to tan each celebrity/professional dancer?

A spray tan roughly takes 20 minutes, although some just have legs or top half tanned – so that minimises time!

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Does the usual tanning method have to be altered to consider the cameras and lights?

I have to ensure the products I use don’t react underneath the strong lighting within the studios.  St. Tropez stays golden and doesn’t look radioactive under the camera lights.  Each celebrity and dancer has different skin, therefore I have to not only please their tanning tastes but also match them in colour.

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How many bottles of tan do you use in a week?

When the show starts and it’s a full house of contestants I go through almost 5 litres of spray tan solution in one week. 

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Have any celebrities been nervous about the tan, or refused to have it?

Celebrities are just like normal people, and those who haven’t had a spray tan before a naturally nervous and concerned that they will look orange.  Once they realise that the tans look completely natural and the whole process is fun, the nervousness soon fades.

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While working on the show have there been any tanning disasters?

Haha, absolutely not *looks sheepish*

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The make-up and tan on Strictly is almost as famous as the dancing, how does it feel to have inspired millions to reach for the fake tan bottle?

Wow!  When you put it like that, it feels incredible.  It’s easy to forget what a huge show it is.  It becomes your home and family for three months and I forget that my work is seen by millions.  It’s great, and it’s a wonderful feeling to be at the helm of safe tanning and making people look and feel fabulous.

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Sculptural tanning has become a new trend, do you use this technique?

Absolutely.  All that flesh out in revealing outfits means the skin has to look flawless.  We contour each person every week as part of our tanning routine and add definition on show day with instant tan.

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What are your tips for tanning alongside using makeup?

Less is more and it really is true.  Looking flawlessly natural is the hardest overall look to achieve.  After you’ve had a spray tan, if you need some mattifying on your face I like Bare Minerals Foundation.  Its lightweight powder consistency is perfect to sit on top of freshly tanned skin.  Any liquids will move the tan.  Tanned skin always looks great with colour, be it deep purples or jade greens to neon flicks and glitter nails.  You can also sculpt your face using self tan; applying with a dual fibre brush, simply swirl on a self tan lotion on the areas you wish to contour, so underneath the jawline, underneath the cheekbones and over the brow line.

How closely do you work with the Strictly Make Up team?

Lisa Armstrong (head MUA on Strictly) is utterly incredible at what she does.  Each week I am blown away by the detail and level of attention she and the team do.  They’re all AMAZING.

Any other things that you think of that you would like our readers to know.

Bit of celeb gossip…

Susanna definitely likes her tan the darkest and has been known to beg for more…and more…and more.  Abbey Clancy literally bangs the door down for her tanning appointment too, as does Ashley now!

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Claudia loves a dark tan and Tess goes with a light coating of a golden glow.  Guests of the show also pop in for tans – Jane Torvill had one last week

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Patchwork tanning is also common – where we spray just the areas on show – so many of the men just have their top half tanned, some of the females just have legs, etc.  This saves time for the dancers and contestants after rehearsals


Images courtesy of Jules, St Tropez and the BBC Strictly Website.




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By Warpaint Magazine

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