I had dabbled in self-tanners and tanning beds. Now it was time for the ultimate experience. The custom airbrush tan from Portofino Sun Spa! Luckily I walked up to the salon to make my appointment because I got to dish with the girl at the counter and find out exactly what I needed to do before my sunless tanning experience. She was very friendly and helpful and didn’t seem in the least bit shocked that I had never gotten a spray tan before.
Here were the particulars I needed to know before my appointment. I needed to:
- Exfoliate my entire body the evening before
- Shave my legs for smoothest application
- Not wear lotion, deodorant or make up the day of my appointment
- Wear loose, dark clothing and open toed shoes
Who knew? Whenever I had seen people getting spray tans on TV, like on E!’s Sunset Tan, for example, I had seen women with full-blown make up getting a spray tan. I’m glad I came in beforehand to learn that that is not done at Portofino.
Anyway, the next day, I came fully prepared for my custom tan experience. I was shown into a back room with my tanning associate- I’ll call her Brigit. I told Brigit I had never gotten a spray tan before and I wasn’t sure what the protocol was with regards to what to wear (or not to wear as the case may be). She said most women are naked while they get their tan. I, being modest in nature, opted to keep my undies on. This whole experience was foreign to me anyway and I felt more comfortable with my pants on.
I was instructed to step into the elevated booth that had fabulous faux croc leather wallpaper. Brigit then asked me which scent I would like in my custom tanning mix. The options were vast and varied from cucumber melon, to lavender. I opted for coconut, as I wanted to smell like I just got back from the Virgin Islands. She proceeded to spray on my new faux glow for the next 15 or so minutes. They are very thorough in that you must do a number of yoga-like positions in order for the tan to be evenly distributed across the body.
When it was all through I couldn’t believe how dark I was! My first reaction was not necessarily a good one. I thought I looked good but it didn’t look like me. I was EXTREMELY dark. Brigit informed me that I would be dark for a few hours and then it would go down, especially after I took my first shower, eight hours later.
It probably wasn’t wise for me to schedule a meeting for 11am (only a half an hour after I had gotten my tan). I was interviewing a girl for my husband’s shoe shop. He and his family own a fabulous European shoe business and they have a store on Montana Ave., just a few blocks down from Portofino.
I assumed that I would just walk out of the Sun Spa with a fabulous tan. It took a few hours to get to that fabulous state… in the meantime; I was incredibly dark, verging on orange.
It was probably in my imagination but my interviewee kept eyeing my skin in a suspicious manner. Later that day, my tan still dark and fierce, I went to see my husband at the warehouse. “Why are you orange?” Is the first thing he said to me.
Great. My worst tanning fear was realized. I holed myself in our townhouse and texted my fab actress friend. This was a beauty crisis. We traded lol’s between tanning anecdotes as I mused that this must be normal. I mean EVERYONE in Los Angeles gets a spray tan, don’t they?
My worries were in vein. Eight hours later, I washed my face and the bronzer in the tan came right off. I had the perfect glow to my skin. And the next morning, after my shower, my tan looked perfect and really natural! It is now five days after having gotten my custom spray tan and it is still going strong. The whole experience was a little harrowing and even more expensive (when all was said and done after tip, it was over $100). But the experience was positive.
Due to the price I probably wont get a spray tan too often (I am a recessionista after all). But I will try out some self-tanners as we head into fall. The next one I’m going to use is “Faux Tan” by Bare Escentuals.
What I gained from this whole experience? Don’t take beauty too seriously. Have fun with yourself and remember that laughter gives you the best glow!
PS- I do wish, however, that I hadn’t worn my Victoria’s Secret boy shorts during the tan because now I have the funkiest tan lines! I don’t know what I was thinking! Should have worn bathing suit bottoms.