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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!

Kimberly is a Puerto Rican native while temporarily located in Gainesville. She is double-majoring in Journalism & Graphic Design. She likes to drink tea and coffee (not in that order), as well as fantasize about her future life in NYC or London. You can find her reading the news or watching crime/murder documentaries on Netflix.
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