So, recently - in an effort to give myself a more lively glow - I tried one of those "mystic tans" that I had heard about. I haven't done too well in the past with applying self-tanner at home - it always ends up looking like I have some sort of skin disease once I'm out in natural light. So I thought yeah, maybe having an automated machine hose me down with tanner would have better results.
I have to hand it to the woman at the tanning salon - she was very friendly and very thorough with the instructions. She even had me watch a demonstration video which instructed you to remove all clothing before you get sprayed, yet to my disappointment, did not show people demonstrating getting naked. Pfft. Anyway, she warned me that there is somewhat of a "learning curve" with using the system. It seemed pretty damn simple to me, but once I got in there I understood what she meant. See, once you get in the booth the whole thing happens so fast, and this automated voice is giving you instructions that you can't really hear what with all the misting and blowing and whatnot. I was too focused on whether or not I should be holding my breath, and when I did take one I ended up getting a lungful of the disgustingly-sweet tanning mist that was filling the entire chamber - that can't be good. So if I hadn't been busy coughing that out, I might've done a better job at holding out my arms as instructed to get an even coating. Oops. I was just glad that the whole spraying time was less than 20 seconds, as I already was feeling claustrophobic and having visions of gas chambers in that short amount of time.
So, the results? Pretty good, slightly smelly, a few splotchy spots and streaks where it was uneven, but not too bad. I wouldn't want to do this right before going out in a bathing suit (not that I see that happening any time soon) as the streaks would've been pretty obvious - but with clothes on, it looked pretty good and wasn't orangey. Bad thing is, the color only lasted for a few days (it can last up to a week) - so for $25 it probably wasn't the most practical. In my case though, I had really lotioned myself up before going in there, and the lady did warn me that if the moisturizer you use beforehand has mineral oil in it (oops, it did) the tan may not "take" as well. So, see? Learning curve.
In case you are considering this, here are a few other points to remember:
1. Get naked. I'm not sure if your bathing suit would make it without getting stained.
2. They will give you some "barrier cream" which is to be applied where you don't want the tanner to look freaky - such as palms & fingernails. Other places that they don't tell you about that will look dirty-tan afterwards? The bellybutton and the batty-crease. Ew. Also, I put the cream on my elbows considering they'd be somewhat dry, but it ended up looking weird when they were still white afterward.
3. Remember to breathe, and also - when appropriate - to not breathe.
4. The automated voice does a countdown before you get sprayed on one side, then another countdown for you to turn around and get sprayed on the other side. I'm glad the nice woman told me beforehand to expect this, because once you're in there the voice is about as distinguishable as the teacher from those Charlie Brown cartoons.
5. Keep in mind that you'll smell oddly sweet and feel a little sticky but won't be able to shower for 4 hours afterward.
6. Towel off really well, and don't put your favorite bra on right after the mystic tan - I had no choice but to wear it or walk back through the salon carrying it - I chose modesty and now that shit won't wash out.
So, I can't say it was an altogether bad experience, but I also probably won't rush back to do it again. What about you? Do you get a summer glow the old-fashioned (and free) way or do you prefer another method?