Spray Tanning 101


I have never had a spray tan or used a tanning bed, but wanted to try the new Organic Airbrush Tan at the NY Sun Club. Summer is coming soon and I want to have some color on my legs the first time I wear shorts. Of course, I was slightly afraid of walking out with an orange tint or looking too dark, but decided to be brave and give it a try.  What do you wear for an airbrush tan? I thought I had to be nude, but when my 10-year-old niece said I should bring a bikini, I instantly agreed. She is way too smart for her age by the way.  So off I went with my itsy bitsiest bikini to be sprayed another color.

When I entered the tanning room, my technician and I discussed the color I wanted.  I was clear that I wanted as natural a color as possible, and not too dark. My technician assured me that I would like the shade and told me that she would mix a custom shade. It was comforting to have a custom color, but looking at the color of the liquid made me think I would be chocolate brown. Not so.  Fortunately, the color of the liquid is not an indication of the actual shade you will be. Thank goodness for that.

After mixing the colors for my custom airbrush tan, I was left to change into my bikini, but not before getting detailed instructions about preparing for the tan. I was  to apply lotion to the palms of my hands without rubbing it in and apply it to my knees and elbows as well. Finally, I had to wear soles that stuck to the bottom of my feet. Needless to say, I looked a sight, particularly when I added the finishing touch, a shower cap. Bring it on, I thought, let the games begin.

I stood in an area that looks like a big shower, and my technician aimed the spray contraption at my legs. It felt more like cold air than wetness, and in the heat of the room, felt good. She worked quickly, as I stood like a scarecrow with my arms bent and shoulder height, palms back. I rotated so she could spray the back and even had to bend over for full tanning under the backside. With every inch covered, my face then got a light spray and we were done.

I stood and admired my new color in the large mirror, and it was awesome.  Not too artificial or dark, but just right.

Now, the getting dressed part was tricky. The instructions say to wear loose, dark clothing, but I had dark leggings that had to be pulled on. Not so good. What to do? I decided to put my long, black puffy coat on over the bikini and wear my boots. I have never gone out practically naked under my coat before, but it felt sort of sexy and naughty.  I kind of enjoyed having my little secret. If you don’t want to leave practically naked as I did, I suggest bringing loose sweatpants and a loose top.

Instructions include not to shower or touch the skin for 6-8 hours, so I don’t recommend making any plans the evening you get an airbrush tan. It needs to set and messing it up just isn’t an option. To be safe, I showered the next morning, but I warn you that awaking to the scent of a spray tan is not pleasant. Don’t wear any nice nighties because they will have an odor. It washes out, but permeates your clothes. When I showered, some color washed off, as I was told it would, but did not affect my tan. I was also told not to exfoliate or shave for 48 hours. In addition, I was warned not to use Dove Soap because it strips the color.

I followed the instructions and my color lasted about five days, with the deepest shade remaining on the lower half of my body. Final verdict: Love it! Will definitely be doing this again….but will bring loser clothing to slip into afterwards.

New York Sun Club
382 Third Avenue (27th street)
New York, NY 10016

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