Long story short: the woman who ran the place took one look at me and refused to let me anywhere near that spray booth. OK, I exaggerate. She didn’t refuse to let me do it, but she did sit me down and strongly urge me against it, explaining that the tanning lotion would spray on very quickly, and dry in even quicker, and that if I didn’t use those precious few seconds to make sure it was distributed evenly over my entire body, I would wake up the next morning to a fake tan disaster of epic proportions.
“And on skin as pale as yours,” she concluded, “any little mistake is going to be really, really obvious.”
I took the wise woman’s advice. I beat a hasty retreat from the spray tan booth, drove to Asda (which was the only place open at the time: we were flying to Greece early next morning, so time was of the essence), bough a cheap bottle of fake tan, the brand of which I have long since forgotten, applied it meticulously… and woke up the next morning to a fake tan disaster of epic proportions. That’s actually another story for another time, though, so back to the spray tan…
For years, then, I thought no more about spray-on tanning lotions, preferring to stick to their creamier brothers and sisters. Then a few weeks ago I was in the supermarket, I saw Ambre Solaire’s No Streaks Bronzer, and thought “What the hell! It says NO STREAKS. How bad can it be?”
Well, on Sunday morning I decided to find out. Following the instructions on the bottle, I sprayed it evenly across my skin, holding the bottle about 40cm away from my body. Ah, who am I kidding? I have no idea how far I was holding it from my body. Do people actually measure these things? It seemed like a reasonable distance anyway, and I also, remembering the sage words of advice from my spray-tan booth friend, ignored the “no need to rub it in!” bit and smoothed it over my legs and arms a bit too, just to make sure it was even.
I was really impressed. As much as I appreciate the cream tanners I’ve always used, they annoy the life out of me sometimes. I mean, who has time to spend ages rubbing them in, then even more time walking around (in loose, dark clothes only), feeling uncomfortably sticky, smelling like biscuits and wondering if the fake-tan will rub off on your sheets that night?
This one has none of those issues. It takes seconds to spray it on, a few more seconds for it to dry in, and you’re good to go: you can completely forget about it and go about your business as usual, which is exactly what I did. (It does have that unfortunate “fake tan” scent, though, I’m afraid.)
And then, the next morning?
I woke up to a fake tan disaster of… OK, of not quite epic proportions, but it wasn’t good. And first of all, let me just say:
THERE WERE NO STREAKS.
It was as good as its word in that respect. There were, however, patches. Yes, patches. Glaring bits of lily-white skin, which I’d obviously missed with my spraying and rubbing, and which were now gleaming out from amongst the (rather nice) summer glow I had going on everywhere else.
What do you think I chose to do about this situation, readers?
Yeah, you’re right: I sprayed on some more. Yes, I did. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s the one thing I swear by when it comes to patchy fake tan, and luckily for me, it worked pretty well: today the tan is looking much more even, and while the patchiness is still detectable if you look very closely, I think another layer would probably get rid of it completely. Not that I’m going to be trying that, mind you: I’m out of the spray tan business for the foreseeable future, but if you want to give this one a go, I’d say just be very, very careful when you’re spraying it on, and make sure the coverage is even. It does have its advantages, but it’s perhaps not quite as easy to use as I’d assumed.
It’s £7.33 and available from Boots.