Gator Glam: Mistakes of a First-timer, Spray Tan Edition

"FREE SPRAY TAN” is what the coupon said as I stared at it and questioned myself whether I was doing the right thing. Luckily, I had my friend beside me who was about to do the same, and it was both of our first times getting a spray tan. We had read all the articles on what to do before a spray tan, what to ask for and what to expect, but the real thing still seemed mysterious and scary. I blame the memes and TV shows where one is portrayed as an orange specimen right after a tanning session (I’m looking at you, Trump). However, with my friend by my side, I bravely entered the tanning salon. I chose to get a medium tan, since I wanted to see a change in color, not just a glow, to get the full experience. (Note: I am fair-skinned)

Mistake #1: Ignoring any instruction before getting into the machine.

I was told to go into a room where an enormous, loud, rocket-like machine stood in front of me. I got undressed, put on my hair cap and pressed the green button as I entered. The machine began to spray a cold mist down my face, chest and legs, but I panicked because I didn’t know how to position my hands, so I stopped my session. Apparently, there was an introductory video that I did not know about, so I played it and learned about the four different positions for every spray by following the numbers on the floor. “Stand with your toes to 1 and heels to 4, stand with your toes to 4 and heels to 1,” the machine said. As it finished, I asked the lady to restart the machine. Here’s the tricky part: it restarted the cycle completely, so (luckily) I stepped out as it sprayed what could’ve been my face, chest and legs again. I did not want to be tanner in the front than in the back because that would’ve been tragic.

Mistake #2: Disregarding the position of your hair cap. It must be strategically placed to prevent getting tanning solution in your hair.

Yes, I had to walk around campus with 1/4 of my forehead whiter than the rest. No, I did not do it on purpose. Apparently, the cap I used during the tanning session had slipped a bit while I was getting sprayed. Oh well, it was nothing a little bronzer couldn’t fix.

Mistake #3: Not taking the exfoliation part seriously

After a day or two my face, which had not been exfoliated for a week or so, was splotchy and I could see spots that looked whiter than the rest of my face. This was dry/dead skin that I did not remove prior to the session. Also, I noticed that the hyper-pigmentation from scarring/dryness, from past zits or sun spots, had become much more visible than before. The tanning formula seemed to pigment everything rather than even the skin tone. Ladies: exfoliate. Here are some recipes to do that.

Mistake #4: Thinking you look orange

You don’t. You are simply not used to seeing yourself in that tan, slightly orange-tinted color. I felt like I looked like I was wearing Cheetos powder, but I got a few compliments about how my tan looked natural and even. I was sketchy about the idea of getting a tan and looking orange-y, but knowing that others thought it looked good was relieving. It takes some time getting used to your new shade. In conclusion: you look good, do not worry.

Would I do it again?

Sure! Getting a spray tan was not bad, but I learned to love and miss my natural skin tone. I will consider getting a spray tan for any future special events or when I am in need of a glow. It was fun to go get a tan with a friend on a Sunday morning and get Dunkin’ Donuts after. It can even be considered a date with your BFF! Galentine’s Day, anyone?

Happy tanning, collegiette™s!