I am as white as can be. I came out of the womb this way, and I have never been one of those girls who gets a natural glow about them after a summer at the beach…instead, I turn a fetching shade of pink in just a few minutes. I even spent a good deal of my childhood in California, but all I have to show for it is a collection of freckles that grows more dominant by the year.

Along with long, skinny legs, washboard abs and a flawless complexion, a natural tan has always been one of my goals in life. For just one summer, I would love to have a perfectly golden tan that I can rock with a cute sundress and blonde highlights. I am a shallow individual who wants nothing more than to look like Sienna Miller, so when I got the opportunity to try this new spray tan, I was all over it.

But back to the point: It definitely pays to do a little homework before you decide on the right one. Before you spray tan, there are a couple things you should know. A gentle exfoliating scrub will help remove dead skin cells and your top layer of skin, revealing a fresh layer that will absorb the DHA (dihydroxyacetone) from the spray tan a lot better. (DHA is the main ingredient within the spray tan solution which literally dyes your skin to give you an all natural tan without the risks of UV lights. Also remember not shower or swim for at least a couple hours afterwards.)

I think I need a little sun
I think I need a little sun

Day 1

Along with my photographer, co-worker and dear friend Kim, I showed up at Kai ready to get gorgeous. My spray tan technician, Cari, escorted us to a private room on the second floor where I got to strip down to well…nothing. (Clients have the option of getting sprayed in a bathing suit or their birthday suit, but for our photos, I have spared ya’ll and kept the suit on.) After the photo shoot, however, I lost the suit so that I would have no tan lines. (I had a low-cut dress to wear to a wedding that weekend and tan lines were not an option.)

To start, I stood on a paper mat with my arms out and my legs about a foot apart so that Cari could hit me with some water-based lotion on areas like my toes, elbows and knees. This is so that the tanning solution won’t look too heavy on that rougher skin.

Next she loaded up the airbrush with the lightest shade of dye and began to spray me down. This part is not uncomfortable at all – it just feels like a little blast of cold air.

I rotated in a full circle, raised my arms, spread my legs…and Kim got to see a lot more of me than she wanted to that day, bless her heart. But Cari was very thorough and got all of my crevices, dimples and even my face.

When she finished, I stood in front of a big fan for a few more seconds to make sure the dye was entirely dry. This entire process took no more than about 20 minutes, and I was able to put my clothes back on and get back to the office by the end of my lunch hour.

The good part? No funky smell and no rub-off on my clothes. The even better part? All of my co-workers noticed immediately…one even said it made my teeth look whiter. The best part? A tan is incredibly helpful if you are trying to look thinner. If you have muscle tone, it definitely highlights it, and if you don’t, well…tan fat looks better than white fat in my opinion.

In only a few minutes I look like I have been to the islands for weeks!
In only a few minutes I look like I have been to the islands for weeks!

Day 2

I woke up the next morning looking like a toned golden goddess. Well, maybe not toned, but my teeth still looked really white and my hair even looked a little blonder. Most importantly, I had the illusion of health and fitness, and really, that was my goal. I don’t always have the time to actually BE healthy and fit, but if I look like it to others, well…my mission is accomplished.

I showered first thing, and there was definite run-off in the water, but my tan was still intact when I looked in the mirror. And that is exactly what I did, like, all day. (Looked in the mirror, that is.)

Day 3

My spray tan was still with me and still looking nice and even. I was a bit nervous about shaving my legs in case it stripped some of the color, but no such thing happened. Phew.

…and since this was the day of the wedding, it figured I would wake up with an eruption on my face. But luckily I discovered another added bonus of a spray tan: They help disguise any blemishes on your skin. (Trust me on this, ladies. Your glow will detract from any of these imperfections.)

So along with my drop earrings, strappy sandals and gold purse, my spray tan and I attended this wedding in style. My Caribbean glow complimented my plum dress quite nicely, and not one person asked me if it was fake. Hooray.

Day 4

My arms and legs still looked bronze and even today, but my face and chest are starting to fade. Not too bad considering it is Day 4 though. This is still the tannest I have ever been in my life.

Day 5

Today my chest and stomach were looking a little splotchy, so I tried to preserve it as best I could with some unscented lotion. ::Fingers crossed I can stretch this out for a full week.::
Day 6

Sadly my bronze glow faded considerably today and my illusion of Sienna Miller is becoming a faint memory. Still, my arms and my legs look like they have been on vacation. Not too bad considering it is six days later…

Day 7

Those girls at Kai weren’t joking when they said this spray tan would stay with me for a full week. True, I resemble my paste-y white self a lot more now than I did seven days ago, but I think my spray tan and I had a pretty good run. It beats subjecting my skin to actual UV rays, and let’s be honest, it looks a heck of a lot better than my overabundance of freckles.

So I hope this helped if you’re considering a spray tan. If you’re anything like me, you don’t have enough hours in the day to work out, primp or lounge in the sun like I’m sure Sienna Miller does. And if you have an event and you need to look cute FAST, this really is the perfect solution. You can look rested, blemish-free, and most importantly, like someone who exercises for four hours a day. It is definitely fun while it lasts…