Summer is coming to a close, which means that winter is not far off (daunting. I know.) Lately, I’ve been on an ‘endless summer’ kick which means, weekend trips to the beach, sundresses, and curly hair or beachy waves (thanks, extensions!) For warm days when I don’t want to weight my skin down with a full face of makeup, I like to perk-up my cheek bones to and the high planes of my face with a little highlighter to add to my summer glow. So when I received an invitation to a spray tanning event, by tan extraordinaire, St. Tropez, my first thought was “the last thing I need is a spray tan!” But, it’s my job to be knowledgeable on all things beauty so, I RSVP’d and prepared to go a shade darker.
How I Prepped
- Get rid of all that hair. Salons recommend that you shave/wax the night before to increase the longevity of the tan and ensure that it adheres skin. Sorry ladies, that whole “no shave no shade” thing just doesn’t work here. I actually forgot about this step and took a disposable razor with me and did a quick shave in the bathroom (shhh..don’t tell anyone.)
- Exfoliate. I have a strange obsession with scrub gloves, so I shower with them religiously to ensure that every day I wear my best skin. However, most tanning salons will recommend that you exfoliate the night before, so I showered at night with my gloves and in the morning I used a wash cloth. Tanning specialists recommend that you don’t exfoliate morning of because if gives the skin a little something to adhere to.
- Arrive with clean skin. Obviously you’ll be clean, but you also want to make sure that your skin is tanned product-free—no perfumes, lotions, body oil, etc. Again, this is to ensure the longevity of the tan.
What To Expect
- Bare it all. You’ll take off all your jewelry and strip down to you skivvies and slip on a thin strip of material that’s barely a thong. Let this be a lesson in self love. If you’re stepping into a tanning booth, you’ll be less self-conscious, but if someone is applying the tan for you, be prepared to stand topless in front of a stranger. Admitedly I was a little worried about being judged for my body—I’m less than well endowed in the breast department and my abs could use a little work. To lessen my body anxiety, I kept eye contact with the woman applying my tan and maintained casual conversation. Luckily, my tan specialist was easy going and made me feel very comfortable, and before I knew it I’d practically forgotten I was only partially covered.
- A bit drafty. As you are misted with tannin spray, you feel a bit of a chill. It’s nothing too drastic, but it may take a second or two to get used to.
- A little sticky. You won’t be too uncomfortable, but your body will probably feel sticky like it does in the height of a humid summer day. Because of this, it’s recommended that you wear loose fitting clothing for 8 hours post-tan.
- Shower the next AM. Unless, you get an early-morning tan, it’s best to wait until the following morning to shower since you won’t be able to get wet for 8 hours post-application.
- Sleep on a towel. The night of the appointment, I slept on a towel to avoid getting any residual tanning solution on my sheets. The stains won’t be permanent, but if you have white sheets, you’ll defintiely want to follow this step. A few hours after the tan your skin stains in the same way that indigo from your jeans may bleed on to a surface.
Depending on the tan that you choose, it’s likely that you’ll only become one shade deeper than your natural hue. More than anything, you’ll notice that your skin looks a bit rosier and your body—your legs in particular—will appear to have more definition thanks to a great technique called “contour tanning.” I went with a basic tan since this was my first experience. I’d do it again, but I going forward, I would opt for an at-home application instead of going to a salon so that I could choose the amount of coverage. However, if you are considering getting a spray tan for the first time, I definitely recommend going to a salon so you can pick up the tricks of the trade from the pros and institute them at home.
Tell us about yourself! Have you ever had a spray tan? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!