Ok sure, a spray tan.....why do people even get spray tans? Is it because they're trying to pretend they just got back from Fiji? As I look back on the experience now, I cringe that this is what I thought. Thankfully, I started opening my mind and thinking about how I might feel if I had a nice, even, natural looking tan. I'd actually be able to wear a knee length skirt or dress and not spend the whole time apologising to people for the glare from my white legs (yes I have actually apologised - they probably wouldn't have noticed if I had not pointed it out awkwardly).
Ok awesome, but then I had some fears creep in, just as you might. Let me outline the main ones and what actually happened:
1. Wait, is this going to make a mess?
I messaged Jess about this in a bit of a fluster (this was the first of a few panicked messages, which she handled with much grace). Wait! She's coming to my house to do this? Where will we do it? Wont my carpet and walls get sprayed? Eeeeek. Actually, Jess has a really nifty tent thingy that folds out neatly into a compact space. One side is open for you to step into and she sprays from that side with tent capturing any residue from the treatment. No mess and no stress - hooray! I did have to sleep in my bathrobe as some bronzer rubs off in your sleep. I washed my robe and sheets the next day but to be honest, I didn't see any visible staining (maybe I don't toss and turn as much as some people).
2. Wait, am I going to look like an Oompa Loompa?
I haven't used tanning lotion before but I have seen enough friends end up looking like Wombles to have a few concerns. Plus, I watched that Friends episode of Ross getting a spray tan, further making me an expert on spray tan disasters. Jess uses an organic product that blends naturally with your skin tone and because it's being applied by a professional (and not me slathering on lotion saying "is this too much?") there's not an oompa loompa to be seen.
3. Wait, when you say "spray" - do you mean like having a cold hose turned on you?
I refer again to the Friends episode above. No, I don't base all my assumptions on what I see on Friends but honestly, I did not know how spray tans were applied and it did not look pleasant! I was pleasantly surprised that Jess's application gizmo was actually like an oversized hair dryer. She calls the treatment an Airbrush Spray Tan. Personally I think it should just be called an Airbrush Tan because I didn't feel like I was being sprayed. The air blowing on you is cool but not cold. As the air blows over you, you feel a slight spritz of moisture landing on you. It's not harsh or jolting, it's very gentle. Plus it smells like raspberries - mmmmm.
4. Wait, AM I GOING TO HAVE TO GET NAKED!!??
Ok, this only dawned on me, seriously, a week out from the treatment. Poor Jess gets another panicked message from me trying to ascertain just, ummmm, how much of myself do I have to expose for this treatment? For someone with a lot of body hang ups, the thought of stripping off in front of anyone other than my husband had me hyperventilating. With her usual grace and poise, Jess was able to put me at ease. She advised me that most people choose to leave their bra and undies on but of course, it's up to me. I'll admit, on the day I had to have a wine before she turned up to calm my nerves. Of course, when I stripped off and stepped into the tent there wasn't a gasp or even an audible intake of breath. You know why? Because Jess is a freakin professional. Things were made less awkward by me stepping into the tent with my back to her for a start so I didn't have deal with facing Jess straight on in my exposed state. She made me feel comfortable by talking to me about the airbrushing technique, the product she uses, why she had me stand certain ways to get an even tan. She enlightened me on the many reasons people get spray tans including to even skin tone, mask scars and boost confidence. She remained focused on the body parts she was spraying and I really felt taken care of.
So what was the end result? Well the next day it was, at first, hard to say. I could tell from my underwear line that my skin was browner but I didn't know what the overall effect looked like. We only have a shoulder height mirror in our house which, as someone with body issues, I'm very grateful for. But it does get a tad annoying when I want to see how my outfit looks or in this case, a spray tan.
It was a sunny day and so the girls and I decided to go to the beach. Why not show off the new tan? (even though I didn't know what it looked like). Since I had a nice tan, I thought well, maybe I'd put on a nice dress? And since I'm putting on a nice dress to go with my nice tan, maybe I'd do my hair a bit and put on some make up? I noticed how a little self care (the spray tan), had given me motivation to take care of myself just a little bit more. I'd gone this far, why not go a little further?
My 5 year old daughter was playing with the camera and I had a brainwave. I asked hubby to take a picture of me before we went out for the blog. “How does it look?” I asked hubby. “Well, you’re not smiling” he said. I grabbed the camera off him to have a look. Finally! I’ll be able to see how my tan looks without standing on a chair in the bathroom. I was absolutely floored by the picture. WHO IS THAT!? Some sun kissed goddess is sitting on my couch!
I just love the way it looks and I really feel beautiful. I'm starting to learn what Jess has known all along. That although some people talk about appearance as unimportant and shallow there is actually a depth to beauty. A depth that is scary to people like me who have believed for so long that 'I have just not got beauty' (this was actually the title of a diary entry of mine I wrote when I was 10 years old). The truth is your beauty is there for the revealing for those who are brave enough to be stripped bare.
Bron (recovering Beauty Phobe)