Sunbathing’s not for everyone! I’m not a fan — it’s not good for your skin, and I get quite bored of laying around! So rather than no bronzed skin altogether, I opted for a high-quality spray tan at The Beauty Retreat in Old Portsmouth.
Going to the independent salon saved me from the risk of turning into an Oompa Loompa which often comes with trying to do it yourself, and I also avoided those horrible tan lines!
But! it wasn’t until I booked in with the Retreat that I learned that it’s not just a case of turning up and stripping off — there’s so much more involved, which can make the difference between a faux glow that meets an untimely streaky death, versus one which lasts up to ten days.
1: Preparation starts before you get to the salon
This means getting your skin in the best possible condition prior to treatment — the better its condition, the better and longer-lasting your tan will be. Start exfoliating every day, three days prior to your new spray tan, and make sure any waxing is completed 24 hours prior to the spray tan. This will help you avoid a less-than-desirable darkened pore look.
For an exfoliator, I use a natural coconut oil mixed with epson salts. Scrub it all over, then hop into the bath or shower to wash off. Then, to moisturise, I’m using Lush’s Dream Cream — absolute amazingness in a tub, and definitely a must-try.
2: Arrive at your appointment cleaned and buffed!
Try to shower and exfoliate about eight hours prior to new application. This will allow the skin to settle and be at its best pH balance level for self-tan development. Avoid putting heavy body lotions on on the day of your treatment, as this can lighten the self-tan.
3: Wear loose clothing and pedicure-friendly shoes
There’s nothing worse than walking out of your appointment with a fresh tan, only to realize that your bra strap left a nice little line on your shoulder! Go for a dark baggy top.
At The Beauty Retreat, they use the queen of all fake tans: St. Tropez, with three different options: the classic, the express, and the dark one! The Retreat will recommend which one would be best for you. I opted for the classic, which slowly develops over the course of eight hours.
I also love that the tans at the Retreat are double sprays. This way, they don’t miss any patches of skin, so after eight hours, the tan is fully-developed and you’re good to go and shower it off to reveal your new golden colour.
Another tip: pat dry after your shower, or run around naked in the house ’til you dry off!
4: Moisturising is key
Proper hydration is what will make your glow last, but an oil-rich formula will make it slip right off. Use a very basic lotion that isn’t oil-based, and moisturise in the shower or right after (use that Lush Dream Cream).
All of the staff at The Beauty Retreat are friendly and welcoming, and are trained in how to use their new state-of-the-art tanning room. I paid £20 for my classic tan, but you can go a little more indulgent with the express or darker tans for £25.
The treatment lasts about 30 minutes, but it’s money well-spent, as an overall glow can make you feel better and more confident.
Book yours by calling 02392 827 200, or by visiting their website at beautyretreat-portsmouth.co.uk.