I am naturally very pale. Not in an effervescent way like Gwyenth Paltrow, but in a sickly, bad-skin kind of way. I've never been a big tanning bed kind of gal (they freaked me out before they were declared so dangerous), but I spent a lot of time in the sun in my youth, many time lathered up with some sort of oil.
As I've gotten older and smarter and less invincible, I try to stay out of the sun when I have the choice. I'm not crazy about it, we do after all spend large chunks of our year at a lake house, but I definitely no longer sun worship. Which means I look whitey-white most of the time while secretly craving that sun-kissed look.
Before my girls trip to Vegas last weekend, where pool-lounging was on the schedule, I decided to get a spray tan. This was not my first foray into the spray tan world, but I really only do it a couple of times of year. I do prefer it to self-applied self-tanners, since I have no patience or consistency with that.
I got the classic Mystic tan. I hear there are more fancy and advanced formulas these days, but I had a credit at my local SunWorks so that's where I went.
1. Shower and Exfoliate Before You Go. You're not supposed to shower for at least four hours after you get sprayed, so if you don't want to feel gross for the rest of the day, you'll want to soap up prior. I feel like the color really sticks to dead and dry skin in a bad way. If you're scrubbed and moisturized, you'll look more even.
2. Don't Wear Tight or White Clothing. I wore loose fitting cargo pants and a blouse-y top. You don't want to wear anything tight after you're sprayed because the color might collect or develop funny in those spots, and you don't want to wear anything white in case you miss any extra and it stains your clothes.
3. Apply Gobs of Lotion In Strategic Places. The salon will provide lotion to apply in-between your fingers and toes just before you step into the spray booth. I put globs in those places as well as around my nail beds. I also apply a thin layer to the tops of my hands and feet, my knees and elbows, and even my face. A lot of color collects here and it can look WAY too orange if you don't put anything there. Above is a picture of my foot just before I got sprayed.
4. Make Sure You Put the Shower Cap As Close To Your Hairline As Possible. Ask me why I am occassionally thankful for bangs.
5. Match Your Makeup Accordingly. Don't simply apply your old pasty makeup over a spray tan (hours later, of course). If the pale color is all you have, then apply it but run a bit of bronzer over it, even if that feels counter-intuitive. Nothing looks weirder than a tan person - fake or not - with ghost face.
6. Plan In Advance. I think the color that develops on the day you get the spray tan is way too dark for most normal people. I tend to spray the day before I want to look my best. So if you're in a wedding on Saturday, I would spray Friday morning. And, if it was my first time, I would definitely do a trial run before anything important.
Here's what I looked like Wednesday late afternoon after a morning spray:
This is laughably dark for how I normally look. The Gorilla kept calling me Snooki.
This is me on Day 2, Thursday evening:
I'm the blonde one. Pardon the blurry picture, I have a new point-and-shoot camera that I'm more or less unsatisfied with. Or confused by. Anyway, I look a smidge orange, but not noticably so. At least I didn't think so.
Here is Day 3, Friday night:
I look pretty normal here, but I'm definitely a couple of shades darker than what is natural. You can tell on my arms especially.
By the rest of the weekend it started to fade, but wasn't completely gone until Monday.
Two FAQ's: No, it didn't rub off on my white sheets (either at home or at the hotel) and No, the smell isn't that bad. I use good-smelling lotion when I get out of the shower and it combats the slight fake tan smell.
My salon is having a special for the airbrushed spray-tan, which is where a person applies it all over you with a nozzle (a la Dancing With The Stars) as opposed to the booth. I can't wait to try that next.
Are you scared of the spray tan or are you a repeat offender? Share your own concerns or tips in the comments!