I’m a natural blonde, and I don’t tan well. Even when I’ve been on holiday for a week, I either return the same fluorescent-paper-white, or lobster-red. There’s no in between.
Yet I’ve always stayed clear of fake tanning as I don’t want to end up looking like I’ve come off the set of TOWIE or Geordie Shore, and when it comes to professional spray tanning the first thing that pops into my head is that infamous scene from friends (the one where he comes out looking like a different race).
But I guess if you don’t try, you’ll never know, right?
Well, Strip wax bar convinced me with one of their Summer packages. There’s a choice of three:
The Beach Bum package will appeal to those wanting to hit the pool or sea with minimum maintenance or panda eye potential. It includes: any bikini wax, a full leg wax, and a brow & lash tint (£99).
The Festival Freedom package was conceived with festival fans in mind and includes underarm waxing, any bikini wax, half leg wax (from the knee down), a brow wax, plus one small extra wax area of the choice (£99).
And finally, the Staycation package will appeal to those wanting a summer glow for seasonal events or parties and includes a full body spray tan, any bikini wax and an eyebrow wax (£89).
I opted for the third one, and booked myself in at their Chelsea branch for the wax. I usually do it myself (I’m a big fan of Nair’s microwaveable and stripless hot wax) but getting it done professionally was a lot less messy. I lay down, looking up at the chandelier (the interiors are reason enough for a visit) whilst every single hair was painlessly peeled away with their stripless hot wax. Next came the eyebrows, for which they used the same stripless hot wax – the eyebrow waxing did sting a little and make my eyes water, but that’s probably because I never bother to tidy them up! I left feeling soft and peachy.
A week later I made an appointment to get my spray tan done at their Notting Hill branch. I was advised to scrub the night before and arrive in flip flops and loose fitting clothing so that the fake tan wouldn’t smudge. I started to get a little nervous.
At the salon, I was shown into a cupboard-sized room which was used as a compact wet room for their spraying machine. I was told to remove all my clothes, so I did. Then I stood there awkwardly and butt naked for a while, waiting for the lady to come in and spray me. I started questioning whether maybe I shouldn’t have taken everything off (I have made that mistake before the first time I ever went for a bikini wax, and I lay down on the bed naked, and then when the therapist came back into the room she looked at me confused and told to put half my clothes back on – very embarrassing). But the lady came back in and plugged in the sprayer, spraying me from top to toe. It was cold, and it showed. Then she asked me to turn around, and bend over, touching my hands on the floor so she could do my crack. Excuse me? She explained that it’s so you don’t get a line under your bum cheeks, so I co-operated – hesitantly. After the spray tanning, she plugging in a drying device that blew warm air onto me, which was much nicer. She left the room and told me to carry on on my own. I couldn’t remember for how long, but I really didn’t want any smudges and the warm air felt rather nice so I must have stayed for a good ten minutes!
I left the salon feeling very aware of myself, but to my surprise nobody gave me any funny looks. When I got home, my boyfriend looked at me a little puzzled but couldn’t quite put his finger on it (done something different with your hair?), and when I caught my own reflection relief washed over me. I looked like I had just been on holiday – my skin glowed, was subtly bronzed, but only ever so subtle. I had tanned, like a boss.
The result? Feeling confident enough to go makeup-free for a week, and doing double takes every time I passed my naked reflection in the bathroom mirror. 100% worth it.