I don’t know how it happened. Really, I don’t. I self-tan at home all the time without incident. I’m a big supporter of it, actually. But somehow, some way, I’d never had a proper spray tan until last week. And you’d think I was going to away on some far-off trip to where they speak another language the way I was grilling everyone I knew about how to prepare for it.


You see, I had a beach day coming up and I wanted the contouring. When you get a by-hand spray tan, the technician can go back to certain areas of your body, exaggerating lines, creating the look of more chiseled muscles and downplaying your trouble areas. Oh, I wanted the contouring. Badly. Plus, I knew I was going to be in good hands—celebrity tanner Sophie Evans of St. Tropez was doing it. And if celebs from Kate Beckinsale to Victoria Beckham trust her to make them look fabulous, I knew I could count on her too. But I knew it could be tricky, especially the immediate after-care, so I kept grilling people to make sure I knew exactly what to do. And now I’m going to share what I learned so you don’t have to do the same thing if you’re a first-timer.

The things I knew going in:

—I had to shave and exfoliate the night before to prevent patchiness but also give my skin enough time not to get irritated by the spray.

—I had to wear dark, loose clothes and ideally go without underwear.

—My cellulite was going to be less noticeable (HUGE selling point).

—I was going to smell like tanner for a day.

—I’d either go naked or wear disposable panties during the process. (I opted for nude to prevent lines but sort of wish I had worn the undies to see the before/after.)

Things that surprised me:

—Evans sprayed me three times on all sides. Two coats to get me tan, and then she went back to get the areas she wanted to contour with a darker shade.

—She sprayed my neck under my chin to make my face look thinner.

—She also hit the area right under my butt to make my booty look higher.

—I could dress almost immediately. I had visions of standing naked for a half hour waiting for it to dry.

—The temporary bronzer in the formula was intense. When I finally rinsed it off eight hours later in the shower, the water was brown for several minutes.

In the end, it’s not something I would do all the time—not touching anything for fear I’d leave behind a tan stain was kind of a pain. But my skin looks so smooth, the contouring is amazing, and it really did up by confidence on the beach. Verdict: Not a weekly event for me, but I’d say it’s now a pre-vacation must.