But, according to celebrity tanning expert James Read, who has tanned the likes of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Ellie Goulding in the past, this needn't be the case.
"With pale skin, it's all about building a tan in layers," says James.
"A tan too dark will look too obvious. I recommend applying a gradual tan over a two day period to stop skin from looking orange."
"Take a tan selfie using the flash on your phone while wearing a white t-shirt. This will show whether the tan shade suits you – if it's too orange, believe me, it'll show up in the picture."
And if you happen to go overboard? "Use the steam room at your gym for 15 minutes," says James, "This will take your tan down by 1 shade."
And if you've got a big event coming up, James recommends avoiding the rush to achieve a faux glow, no matter how tempting it might be to reach for the mitt the night before.
"I recommend pre-tanning two weeks before a big event, as this will allow you to pick the shade and make sure that the tan suits you.
"Exfoliate over a 48-hour period to help your tan fade evenly, moisturise on the day of tanning to make sure your tan is natural, and when it comes to the face, always use a gradual tan."
Stuck on which products to choose?
James advises opting for tanning mists and waters if you're of a paler complexion, as their lighter texture will give a gradual build of colour.
To prolong the life of your colour once you've achieved it, he also recommends using a surprising product.
"Use an aftersun," he says. "They are usually designed to prolong a real tan but work the same with a self-tan."
We reveal the best products for the job:
- James Read Tan Coconut Water Tan Mist Body, £25, from Feel Unique – buy it now
- St. Tropez Purity Bronzing Water Face Mist, £22, from Boots – buy it now
- Garnier Ambre Solaire After Sun Tan Maintainer, £5, from Superdrug – buy it now
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