For the past three years I have been compulsive about putting on a 30 SPF sunscreen. My reward? A dead white skin tone. Sure I no longer have freckles and dark patches and I can brighten things up on my face with make-up, but my stick arma and white legs are on their own. I know that this means I am successfully avoiding sundamage, but I’ve actually used up a big tub of bronzer just this summer to try get some color.
I tried sunless tanning creams and the results were a splotchy mess. I decided to go for the gold and get a professionally applied spray tan for my entire face and body. Several friends recommended Portofino in New York where an individually applied tan is about $60.
Following their instructions, I shaved my legs and exfoliated my entire body with a Buff Puff. My skin felt very very clean. I was pretty nervous and asked my close friend Lisa to be my wing man. When we got to Portofino, Lisa went shopping next door and I stripped down and put on a tiny black paper string bikini bottom and covered my hair with a big plastic shower cap. The walls of the small spray room were covered with brown ceramic tiles. I told Sylvia, the tanning technician with a beautiful tan, that I wanted a very light color. She nodded and went to work. Rather than just standing there with my arms streched out, she started to call out different positions– sort of like a x-rated hokey pokey; “arch your back and stick out your butt, extend your hands and bend your fingers , turnside ways, put out your right foot and bend your knee”. These bendy positions were important to get the color into body creases. The spray itself was a fine cold mist.
I loved it the minute I looked in the mirror. I had really forgotten how flattering a golden, even tan could be. The spray tan hid lines and disclorations and made my skin look firmer. I was especially impressed how much better my upper arms looked in a sleeveless dress. After 15 minutes in a spray tan booth, I looked younger AND thinner. As you can see from the photos, I look tanned, but not like a new cast member of Jersey Shore. I went home with a big happy grin on my face. But I had to hurry. It was going to rain and if I got wet know, my new tan would streak. I was to avoid water for the next eight hours.
Spray-on tan is one of those not so secret tricks that make celebs look so perfect at red carpet events. It is definitely something I would do before a big event where you have to look especially hot like a black tie dinner or high school reunion. I would also think about a spray tan before a trip to look beautiful at the beach without the health problems of a real tan. But before I start planning my next date with Sylvia, I want to see how the tan looks over the next week as it fades away.
Have you had a spray tan? How long did it last? Were you happy with the results? I’d love to hear your experiences.