Ready, set, glow!

Summer’s here and for many that can only mean one thing…time to get tanned. With a natural skin colour that would probably be described as ‘pasty tourist white’ on a paint tin – I’m no stranger to fake tan. Sadly, in my attempts to achieve a beautiful bronzed glow, I’ve had my fair share of tanning disasters. Streaking, green armpits and just generally looking Umpa Lumpa chic – I’ve seen it all.
So, when I heard about The Tanning Shop, a salon that promises to deliver the ultimate healthy glow with a personalised tanning plan, I had to give it a go.

Before visiting The Tanning Shop, I was offered a choice of two tanning experiences. The first was a tan in the automated spray tan booth – think Friends, when Ross has his own tanning disaster and becomes ‘an eight!’ The second was the Sun Angel, a UV sunbed which analyses your skin type so there is no risk of over exposure, giving a ‘just off the beach look’ after a 20 minute session.

I went with option one, partly because I’ve never used a sunbed before (better the tanning devil you know) and partly because I wanted to see if the experts at The Tanning Shop really could achieve a ‘true’ glow with ‘fake’ tan.

Tan chosen, I was then sent a preparation leaflet to ensure I got the best possible results. The leaflet directed me to:

1. Thoroughly exfoliate and moisturise my skin 24 hours prior to the session to create the optimal surface for the spray tan to adhere to. Not exfoliating fully would apparently cause a patchy result.
2. On the day of my session, make sure I wore loose, dark clothing and avoid any soap, deodorant, cosmetics or lotion of any type on my skin – I’m not going to lie this wasn’t great as my session was in the evening, so I had to endure a slightly sweaty afternoon in the office.
Make sure you bear this in mind when booking your appointment as it’s all well and good being tanned but if you’ve lost all your friends after stinking them out the day before you won’t be popular!
Exfoliated, moisturised (and ever so slightly sweaty!) I arrived at The Tanning Shop all set for my spray tanning experience. I was quickly greeted by one of their friendly tanning experts, who asked me what shade of tan I wanted to go for; light, medium or dark. As previously mentioned, I’m naturally VERY pale, so I was cautious of anything too extreme. But, at the same time I did want to look like I had a tan, so the tanning assistant recommended medium.

The tanning assistant then explained how before my session I would need to liberally coat my hands, elbows, knees and feet with the free barrier cream supplied, paying particular attention to the nails – apparently these areas soak up spray tan a lot more. She also talked me through the positions I should stand in to ensure I got the ultimate coverage.

I was then taken to my own private booth where I was left to undress and get ready for my tan. Now, if I’m totally honest, I have a VERY short attention span (somewhere between Dory in Finding Nemo and a hyperactive five year old.) So, when it came to remembering the positions the tanning assistant had literally spoken about two minutes earlier, I did struggle. If you’re the same, thankfully there is an automated video touch screen you can watch in the booth, just to make sure you totally understand what you’ve got to do!

Lotioned up, sexy shower cap and sticky flip flops on, I got in the booth and pressed the green button to begin my tan. An automated voice then instructed me when I had to turn and where I had to put my feet. A few short sprays later and the tan was complete!

My tanning assistant then told me how I should avoid showering or getting wet for a minimum of six hours after the session. As my session was in the evening she recommended leaving it on overnight and showering in the morning for best results. However, note by doing this you will get tan on your bed sheets! She also said I shouldn’t moisturise until after my first shower and swimming was a no go as immediate contact with water, chlorine and salt water could affect the look. Other things to avoid included exercising for at least six hours and exfoliating for 48 hours.

The next day I woke up like an excited EXTREMELY tanned child on Christmas morning dying to see the results of my spray tan. I’m not going to lie, I was slightly worried when I saw just how tanned I was after letting the tan develop overnight – I was definitely an eight! I needn’t had worried though because like the tanning assistant said, the really dark residue coat came off in the shower, leaving me with a much more flattering and realistic glow.

I’d definitely recommend The Tanning Shop spray booth experience for a safe and easy way to get the summer look. Having your own private booth and an automated machine takes away the usual embarrassment of standing in front of a stranger wearing nothing but a pair of disposable knickers. And the fact that the process is so quick that you can be good to glow after a few short sprays is perfect for those last minute summer party and BBQ invites.

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