Honestly, my stomach was doing flip flops as I walked in Tan Bella. I couldn't stop replaying the scene in Friends where Ross gets a freakish spray tan. You can watch the hilarious clip here! I made sure to tell the receptionist (Christine) that it was my first time and that I had no idea what to expect or do. Should I hold my breath? Should I plug my nose? Will I have enough time to turn around? Will I look like Ross? She giggled at my inexperience and said she would walk me through the instructions when we got to the booth, and assured me that I would not look like an Oompa Loompa.
I showered and exfoliated with a loofah the night before—as instructed to do so when I called in to book the appointment. The morning of, I made sure my skin was dry and makeup-free. This step is important so when the tan sprays, it applies uniformly and the color wears off evenly. It was advised to wear or bring loose and dark clothing because anything too tight can lead to streaking and the self-tanner can rub off onto light colored clothes.
Christine walked me to the private room and gave instructions on how to pose and which products to use on my body beforehand. I was a bit frazzled since it seemed like a lot of directions, but she demonstrated each step and repeated the process thoroughly. I applied the tan-enhancing gel she gave me all over my face and body, popped in the Jolly Rancher they laid out for me, stripped down, and walked inside the booth.
I did have to move quickly into the four positions (facing the spray, to the right, to the left, and back) but luckily there was a voice recording telling me exactly what to do. The clear fine mist felt like a water spritzer used on hot days, a refreshing sensation on my skin. The spray started from the top of my head to my feet so each time it passed my face, I held my breath. After the misting, a dryer turned on to blast me from head to toe. In just a few minutes, I was out of the booth and patting myself gently with a towel.
I was in about out of the tanning salon in under 25 minutes. I had a few brown specks on my body but the receptionist assured me that the tan droplets will fade in the next few hours. I put back on my clothes—minus my sports bra in since it was suggested not to be worn to avoid streak lines—and headed back to the office. The scent of the self-tanner reminded me of tree bark, but no one complained about an odor emitting from my body.
My overall feeling of spray tans? It's an easy and painless process that will give me a sun-kissed glow for 7 to 10 days. A co-worker noticed my tan (and asked where she can get sprayed too) since I did jump a shade or two since she had seen me the day before. I won't be doing this on a weekly basis, but I'll definitely head back to a tanning salon if I have a special event where I'll want to look like I spent a week in Barbados.