EXCLUSIVE: The X Factor’s Skin Finisher Reveals the Backstage Tanning Goss!

24 October 2011 by

St Tropez's Jules Heptonstall tans up the X Factor contestants

Jules gives Jesy from Rhythmix a finishing touch

It goes without saying that here at Grazia HQ, we’re obSESSed with all things X Factor right now. Whether it’s Frankie’s guyliner, Kitty’s wacktacular wardrobe, Gary’s smouldering stare or Tulisa’s blonde badger streak, you can guarantee we’re talking about it. And this series, our excitement has been ramped up more than ever thanks to the brand new team of stylists who Mr Cowell has drafted in. Yep, hairdresser Jamie Stevens, make-up artist Natalya Nair and stylist Laury Smith are on hand every week to ensure the contestant’s evolving styles are up to scratch. But did you know about the X Factor Tan Man? Let us introduce you to Jules Heptonstall, the show’s official skin finisher who arrives each and every week armed with St. Tropez tools ready to bronze the starlets-to-be. Oh, just think of the things he must SEE! We took the chance to grill Jules on all the X Factor tanning goss…

Talk us through your normal week on The X Factor.

Every Friday, I go to the X Factor studio to give the contestants a full face and body spray tan using St Tropez’s Bronzing Mist. On Saturday and Sunday at the live shows, they're given an instant boost of hydration with St.Tropez's Body Butter. Before going on stage, I glide St Tropez’s Shimmer Stick down the front of their arms and shins for a metallic sheen that gives the illusion of longer limbs. I blend it with St.Tropez's Gold Illuminator for Mischa B and Kitty’s décolletage too.
Do you customise a colour for every contestant?

Everyone gets some sort of spray tan but it’s more about achieving a healthy glow and even skintone than a deep colour. The studio lights are very bright and because the contestants are working so hard, they often look tired but a tan can ensure they won't look washed out on stage. It's what I call ‘stadium skin’. We also tan all the dancers so this week, we were bronzing over twenty people.
Blimey! Are the boys happy to be tanned too?

They love it! Particularly the guys from The Risk. A spray tan has become part of the glamming-up process so everyone’s used to it now. Some of them have used sunbeds before so they’re happy to find a healthy alternative, Marcus is already a fan of spray tans and Rhythmix are always asking how to use our products.
Who are your favourite contestants?

Craig and Marcus are great and the Rhythmix girls are so bubbly and always joking. Because we’re working so closely together, I see everyone's nerves up close, which means I become quite attached to them. There was such a sad atmosphere when Nu Vibes left last week but you have to realise that this is a competition and someone is going to leave every Sunday.

Kitty Brucknell 'The X Factor'  alice in wonderland

Kitty Brucknell as Alice in Wonderland

How closely do you work with the style team, Natalya, Laury and Jamie?

By Friday, Natalya briefs us on the beauty look so we have an idea of what we’re working with. Which colour skin illuminator we use is dependent on the contestants’ outfits so Laury keeps us informed, although anything can change at the last moment. Kitty’s Alice in Wonderland outfit, for example, was very white and her skin was very pale so we used the Violet Skin Illuminator to enhance this. But sometimes we don’t know what the contestants are wearing until the very last minute.
Does this lead to any backstage dramas?

There haven’t been any major dramas - it's surprisingly calm backstage - but outfits can change at any time so I’m always ready for last minute touch-ups. One week, Mischa B took her tights off because they had holes in so I had to sheen up her bare legs moments before she went on stage.

Did you do anything special for rock week?

The contestants needed a rocker edge, so I dusted St.Tropez's Bronzing Rocks up and down the front and back of the legs for an extra glow.

And what can we expect next week?

It’s a Halloween special so we’ll be using countless tubes of St Tropez’s violet illuminator to give the contestants a ghostly, luminous sheen. We’ve heard whisperings that Natalya will be using prosthetics and eyelashes so it’s going to be a good one.
Thanks Jules, we can’t wait!

The St Tropez tanning team with X Factor's Sophie Habibis

The X Factor's official skin finishers - Jules and Abi - with Sophie Habibis


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