February 18, 2010. Written by Kate Thompson
To tan or not to tan. That is the question. But when you can go from bluey-white to gorgeous brown in a matter of hours without any sun damage, why wouldn’t you?
I am whiter than white with freckles and the type of skin that goes pink or red before it turns brown (if it turns brown at all.) So when it came to considering a spray tan I was torn between excitement at the thought of what could be and trepidation that it may be an embarassing experience and I could end up looking ridiculous…
I walk into Caroline Anthony’s salon and at once see her tanning booth with the spray gun at the ready, obviously filled with a dark brown liquid. Caroline had previously recommended that I avoid any shaving for 24hrs before the treatment, exfoliate all over and leave off moisturisers, perfume and deodorant on the day of the spray tanning session. Being someone not used to getting my kit off in public I was worried about the ‘paper knickers’ scenario but she instantly put my mind at rest by saying that I could wear a strapless black bra and black bikini bottoms if I wanted as the spray would wash off anyway.
White and nervous, I disrobed, tied my hair up and was given a hairband to hold my hair off my face. I took my place inside the booth and Caroline went through the stances I would need to adopt as she sprayed me to ensure an even coating. I needed to bend my wrists up to avoid any of the spray colouring my palms and place one leg in front of the other so she could spray around my legs evenly. I contorted my body into a variety of easy shapes with my arms up and then down and so on.
She stood further away than I was expecting which was just as well considering what she was doing! The spray was very cold but luckily her salon was warm so it wasn’t uncomfortable. She began by spraying my body and finished with my face which, despite panicking at the thought, was absolutely fine. I just took a breath and she counted to three and sprayed.
It didn’t take very long – around 20 minutes from start to finish and once the spraying was done Caroline wiped my palms, soles of my feet and sides of my hands on a wet wipe before blow-drying me from top to toe which was actually quite nice.
Caroline explained that the Sienna spray tan works by an ingredient called DHA (Dihydroxyacetone) which has been used in cosmetic preparations for almost 30 years and has no known toxicity. It needs 8 hours to develop so I let it sink in overnight and then used the body scrub sachet that she gave me the next morning. I left the salon with a sachet of top-up tan to make it last for longer. It does look a lot darker when first applied but once I had showered next morning it looked amazing. In fact it looked so amazing I wanted to wear short sleeves and a short skirt straight away just because I could!
Many brides-to-be worry that a fake tan may rub off onto their wedding dress or make them look a little orange or streaky or just not quite themselves. I wish I’d had a spray tan before my wedding as it just makes you glow with health and look your best. If you’re considering a spray tan before your wedding I would suggest trying it out a month or so before the big day so you can be sure that it’s for you. Caroline offers spray tan parties which are the perfect pre-hen night idea. Gather a handful of your friends together, a couple of bottles of bubbly and take it in turns to get brown for the wedding. You could book a pre-hen night pamper day where you all get mini-manicures too before you go out on the town that night!
The Verdict: Not as scarey as I had thought it would be and much more natural looking than I had ever dreamed possible. It’s amazing! I’m already planning my next spray session before my holiday. I am well and truly hooked now!
A Sienna spray tan costs £22 for a full body or £16 for half body (decollete, arms and legs) at Aloe Body in Bristol and should last around 1 week. Prices may vary across salons and areas.
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