Where and how to get the best spray tan in Sydney
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Fake tans haven’t had the best rap in recent times. Last week in Daily Life, an incisive article by Celeste Liddle – a self-titled “non-white feminist” – contemplated how bizarre she finds the bronzing weapon-esque spray-guns, and since Jersey shows proliferated – the ‘Shore’, ‘licious’ and ‘Real Housewives’ iterations, specifically – artificial tanning has become as tacky as Hello Kitty nail art, only without the potential for a subversive hipster slant. Ask any Natural-Is-Couture fashion aficionado as well, and they’ll be quick to let you know that there’s nothing ironic or iconic about iodine-stained kneecaps.
But, really, does the average Big Day Out punter care that their simulated skin tone looks more haggard than haute? Based on anecdotal experience, I’m going to go with an unequivocal no. After witnessing horrendous fake tan after horrendous fake tan over the rained-soaked Australia Day weekend (not to mention last week’s coldest February weekend in 20 years), I think it’s time we stop the bastardization of this wonderful beauty swindle in its tracks.
Now is the time to reclaim the service that permits mini-skirts and ripped jeans in winter, shaves off a healthy five kilos with zero effort, and gives you an unassailable glow. You know, that kind that makes your peers believe you actually ventured into the sunshine and shed the aforementioned weight. While I may be no health or exercising expert (the above method is – self-consciously speaking – compromising at best) I am rather learned in beauty faux pas.
With a longstanding history of orange-tainted skin, blotchy neck blunders and leprosy-resembling cracks across my every skin surface, I’ve picked up a few tips, and would like to share them with you, fellow tanorexics! Let’s abjure those carroty blotches and bruises together with these five wonderful products and places, whilst avoiding DIY and bathroom jobs at all costs.
It’s easy to dismiss the Vietnamese-owned Sydney nail-and-tanning juggernaut. With two always-busy stores in one Bondi Junction block, a Paddington salon just a few kilometres down the road and branches in Newton, Northbridge, Neutral Bay and Potts Point, the budget beauty chain does not even loosely resemble an Endota spa or That Place Your Mum Took You To Before Your Cousin’s Wedding In Year 12. But please, leave your snobbery at the (neon light embellished) door.
Fake tans, shellac and waxing services are available here, and for good value too – as long as you’re specific. I have a friend who asked for a ‘very dark’ spray tan on her almost-purple post-winter legs, and the tan came out so atrociously off-colour it was green. But, if you’re in a rush and low on cash, specify to the lovely ladies that less is always more, and make sure you ask for the Natural Tan (ha ha) brand to be misted on conservatively. In just two hours, you’ll be sweet for a shower and some skin-bearing get-up.
Once, after attaining particularly great spray tan there, a 17-year-old Facebook friend of mine wrote on a shameless mobile upload, “nice collarbones”. Is there actually a bigger compliment in the world?
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In a very different branding vein, international beauty chain Ella Baché doesn’t offer a nasty old spray job, but rather, a Sunless Tanning experience. How refined! The Parisian skincare brand has salons scattered across Sydney (and, you know, the world) and getting sprayed in a Baché salon is the closest we’ll all come to skincare heaven. Carefully chosen elevator music greets you as you sit in the waiting room, accompanied by just one top-knotted overly-perfumed professionally-made-up clerk and that refreshing whiff of superiority. The problem with such grand constructions of luxe though is that Ella Baché is strictly by-appointment-only institution. Don’t expect to rock up on a Saturday at 4pm and get in, there’s a line, sweetheart – and you’re causing a scene.
A home-tanning specialist
Now I’ve been using a lovely make-up and tanning artist for quite some time now who, by just a tap on my ‘favourites’ list, comes to my place – tanning tent and all – with every beauty apparatus available on God’s green earth, including – but not limited to – gloves, those cotton-slash-paper caps, and a can-do attitude. Sadly, she is relocating to the US (otherwise I’d share her name and number with y’all) but using a service like this is great because a) there is no bra-less awkward running from the salon to your car b) you can lie on your towel-covered bed waiting for your tan to dry, without the frightening potential of rain/ sweat/ seatbelts ruining your glow and c) a judgement-free arena. A service like this allows you to build up trust and rapport with a readily-available professional and prevents the potential of having to wait/ make excuses as to why you won't get a wax at your tanning salon.
Once you have your fake tan on (I have no intention on lecturing you as to why it is imperative you exfoliate before spray day) generously apply whichever sorbolene/ ponds cream you have an affinity to (I’m a massive advocate for the No Frills supermarket brands – but hey, if an Issey Miyake lotion happens to surface in your bathroom, that’s cool too) all over your body, so the brown stuff will remain intact for longer.
Spray tanning isn’t exactly a cheap habit (and by no means do we endorse solariums, or, God forbid, the actual sun) so apply some cream to get more bang for your buck. Joints – like elbows and knees – are great places to initially apply, and work the lotion out from there. Only apply after the tan has fully dried though – wait a minimum of one day – so you don’t accidentally ruin everything. Remember, the road to hell (or back to the salon) is paved with good intentions.
Model Co exfoliating wipes
Eventually, your brilliantly bronzed glow will degenerate into a dappled mess (no matter how many suggestions you followed or products you sparingly applied) and, at such stage, get yourself some of Model Co’s double sided exfoliation wipes, which remove the fake tan effortlessly – and thus quickly readying you for the next round of skin-care fun. The hydrating wipes are cheap and come in a seemingly endless container – I’ve literally had mine for six months and fake tan (as I’m sure you have gathered) fairly regularly. If you can’t be bothered with the effort, shaving your legs gets rid of excess fake tan quickly, or you can just go back to the salon with the remnants and ask for a botched cover job. No judgement, it’s your life.
Other notables: The Le Tan home-tanning range (always better when someone else sprays for you, but sometimes things get desperate and their mousse really is top notch), Model Co’s Instant Self-Tan, Bondi Sands Self Tanning Lotion in Light/ Medium, Dior’s Auto-Bronzant Self-Tanner Natural Glow for Face, Any MAC Bronzer. Also, light or neon nails match nicely with bronzed skin, just as an afterthought.