I don't do fake tan. I've never been on a sunbed in my life (and never would) and up until Friday the 3rd of July I had never ever used fake tan. When I was younger I used to use a tinted body moisturiser but it smelled like crap and it was always streaky. As I got older and a little bit more confident I realised that I was quite happy being pale. It suits me, and as a woman working in IT it's pretty much expected of me.
I decided recently that I would emerge from my cave of monitors and have a go at a spray tan. The main reason for this is that brides of all sizes and shapes that I've met have talked about getting a spray tan for their big day and most have looked absolutely lovely. I know a few brides who didn't bother and they also looked gorgeous. I was curious; was it time to loose my tanning virginity? What if I waited until closer to the wedding and didn't like it? Would I have to spend 19 hours scrubbing it off in a blind panic? I decided that now was the time. I was off on holiday for a week to celebrate my hen party with the girls and it doesn't really matter if you're a bit orange when you have your head in a bucket with tequila in your hair.
I selected Gloden in Reading for the most practical of reasons; I drive past it every single day on the way home from work, I know they have spray tan booths and I know that they have free parking behind the salon. It was a match made in heaven for my lazy arse and so I exfoliated every inch of skin like a crazy person and dragged one of my bridesmaids (Hi Lozza B) down with me as a fellow tanning virgin. Rather usefully, you don't need an appointment at Gloden; you can just turn up.
My first impression was that the salon was cool. Just like, cool. There was a touch-screen kiosk at the door that you used to select your punishment (spray tan? sunbed? The choice is yours!) and it also collected payment. It was much more efficient than queuing at a counter to be served and made the whole process much speedier.
We were helped by a lovely lady (I can't recall if you mentioned your name, I'm sorry!) who appeared to be the salon manager. She was very well informed, calming and friendly and the fact that we were new to spray tanning encouraged her if anything. The lady took us into a room (a closed off room with a lock, not an uncomfortable tanning showroom) and showed us how to use one of the fully automated spray tan booths. It was incredible. My inner nerd was beyond excited. The machine itself was about the size of a large shower booth but had an open side and was in no way claustrophobic. The lady gave us a couple of hair nets and showed us how to use a blocking cream so that we didn't get streaky wrists. I was immediately put so at ease by this lady and her friendly demeanour. I also immediately forgot all about the blocker cream and forgot to take my engagement ring off. Nobody is perfect guys.
The spray tan process itself took about 15 minutes. There was quite a bit of posing and drying and turning and posing and drying and posing, drying and turning to pose but actually I managed it all without a hitch. The machine prompts you to place your feet on numbers 1 to 4 (with your toes on number one and your heels on number 3, for example) and the machine does the rest. I'm making it sound way more complicated than it actually is.
You can choose your shade (the lady recommended that we have a number 2 which came out perfectly) and you can choose whether to be naked or keep your underwear on. We went naked because we're strong independent women, but honestly it wasn't embarrassing at all as you're in a room with nobody but Mr Spray Tan Booth Schwarzenegger, a.k.a Robot Tan Machine Man.
When the machine had finished I got dressed and spent a few minutes stood in front of the fan trying to dry off my tan. I felt like my clothes were rubbing off the tan and that I would get blotchy but that didn't happen at all. My skin felt amazing; this was likely down to the fact that the machine sprays you with a lovely moisturiser afterwards and then dries you from head to toe. I also didn't smell like biscuits in the way that a traditional bottled fake tan makes you stanky.
I waited a few hours (I think it was 4) and then had a shower before bed. The next morning I awoke in a panic, mainly because I had an hour to get out of the house and to the airport but also because I was petrified I'd look in the mirror and find that I had Katie Price 2009 face. The reality was very different, I really loved it!
It was odd seeing myself so dark (I'm aware that it isn't dark at all, but it is for me) but once I got used to the initial shock it was really lovely and by the time I arrived in Turkey a few hours later it was a lovely warm shade. I would highly recommend using Gloden in Reading if you, like me, are a bit nervous or ill informed when it comes to fake tan. I won't be doing it every week, but for special occasions I think it's a really fun girly 15 minutes and makes quite a big difference to the way you feel on the night. Do you know what the best thing is? IT COST ME £6. Six pounds. Six English Pounds. Gloden had a spray tan sale on. I spend less on a glass of wine! I'd highly recommend; brilliant staff, very clean salon and an excellent product.