Spray Tanning Put To The Test!

Well, yesterday was one of the most unusual experiences of my life. Yes, I deigned to have a spray tan. There was a voucher in an issue of Cosmopolitan magazine offering up a “free spray tan”, which of COURSE I couldn’t resist.

I booked my appointment the day before & the receptionist told me to exfoliate well in the morning, not apply any body lotions, & to come along wearing loose clothing & “thongs”. I sauntered down there at 10.30am & a nice woman led me up three flights of stairs & took me into a little room with a huge black & glass box in the middle.

She explained what we were going to do. She told me to wear a showercap but to leave my hairline & ears showing. She told me to apply the “prep gel” to all parts of my body where I wanted the tan to take, but not to worry about doing my back. She then said I should apply a barrier cream to my fingernails & cuticles, palms & sides of fingers, inside forearms, toenails, heels & soles of my feet. She said she would go downstairs & program the machine, & that it would send out a test spray & start talking. She said that it always scared the hell out of her at first, so to be ready for it!

She asked me which shade I would like. There were three options — light, medium, or dark. I showed her my arm & said, “I’m quite pale, so I don’t want to look like one of those scary girls from the Gold Coast.” (No offence, super-tanned people, but I kind of like my ghostly pallor!) She told me that the ‘light’ application wouldn’t show up much, & suggested I go for medium. I thought, ‘Ahh, what the hell, it’ll wash off in a week anyway’. She told me to use the little telephone in the room if I needed any help & said she hoped I enjoyed my tan. She walked out & closed the door.

It was while I was standing, butt-naked, rubbing weird shimmery green gel into my skin & contemplating this MagicTan booth that I realised — the future is here. Seriously, it is. After all my prepping — & I forgot to put barrier cream on the soles of my feet, damn! — I walked into a glass booth, pressed a button, & it started speaking to me, telling me to change positions & spurting out all this crazy sugar-mist. It was surreal, to say the very least.

I held my breath & kept my eyes closed & tried to remember all the positions. There was facing away from the jets with your hands “like you’re holding buckets of water”. There was turned to the side with one leg bent & one arm up. Then the same, in reverse. Then facing toward the jets. I accidentally breathed in some of the spray stuff, which didn’t smell very good, & idly wondered whether I would have an asthma attack. When it was over — which was quite soon after I had stepped in, it didn’t take very long — I cracked my eyes open a tad & tried to find the door handle. I thought my contact lenses were covered in mist, but no, it was just that the mist was EVERYWHERE. I was so glad I had put my clothes on the other side of the room!

It took a while for the mist to dissipate & in the meantime, I was busy bedaubing my skin with a towel to get rid of the excess. Some of the tan was just sitting on me in weird globs. I used a wet towelette to clean my hands & toenails. Then I gingerly pulled my clothing on & strolled back downstairs.

I gave the woman my voucher & told her it was one of the strangest experiences of my life. She smiled at me & said the tan would last about a week “if you take good care of it”. Their definition of “taking care of it” is not exfoliating, moisturising a lot & not spending much time in the shower. Hmmm. A week isn’t much bang for your buck — I think the tans are usually about $55, so that averages out to about $8 a day. But then, I guess if you’re only doing it over summer (& that would be the case for most people, I would have thought), it’s a pretty good option.

I’ve since had a couple of showers & less of it came off than I was expecting, which was a pleasant surprise. My mother said that when she had a spray tan, after she showered it looked quite patchy — but mine is still pretty solid. I’m covered in cocoa butter from head to toe (okay, technically neck to toe) & I smell like Willy Wonka’s dream woman. I am also really brown, surprise surprise!



Overall, I would give the experience 4 out of 5 cupcakes. A point off for how long it (allegedly) lasts, & for breathing the stuff in. Blech! But it is definitely a great alternative to lying on the beach covered in oil — ew! — or going to a solarium, which, let’s face it, is basically like saying to someone, “Hey! Here’s $100, give me cancer, & make it snappy!”

Now I have to adjust to my new colouring. It’s pretty strange! I was very glad to see that my foundation is still the right colour. Phew!