I Tried a Spray Tan: A 40-Something Managed Mom Review

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Manic:   Want to tan but don’t have the time and don’t want the risks associated with sunbathing. 

Managed:  Ignored my kids’ teasing and got myself a spray tan. 

I booked my service at Dolce Salon & Spa (www.dolcesalonspa.com) and I was impressed with the result.  For $25, my entire body was completely spray-tanned in less than 3 minutes.  Quick and easy. 

Right after spray tan. It get darker over the next two days. See picture of my 3TV segment below to see tan on day 3.

My spray tan was done inside a big machine, called a misting booth.  The woman who assisted me, told me that most folks do this alone, with the guided voice of the machine telling them how to stand.  She also told me that most people go in the machine wearing nothing. 

I opted for her to stay in the room and I wore a bathing suit.  Before going in the machine, I was instructed to exfoliate my skin, so that dead skin cells are removed. It is best to remove makeup, deodorants and moisturizers that may lessen the success of the spray tan.

Then she told me to put a little lotion on my feet, hands and elbows because these areas can sometimes turn out darker than the rest of the body, so applying a thick moisturizer such as body butter on these areas will lessen the tanning effects. 

Next she placed a shower cap on my head and showed me the big sign on the wall with a picture of a perfectly tanned gal demonstrating the poses that I would be doing in the machine.  An automated voice told me when to switch poses, so that areas like the inside of my arms get tanned, too.

Before going into the machine, I asked her about the safety of the spray tan chemicals.  She told me exactly what I had read prior to booking the appointment.  Spray tanning is FDA approved and the main chemical used is called DHA, which has been FDA approved for personal care use for over 20 years.  Everything I read stated that there are no harmful effects other than minor skin irritation for those who are allergic.  Allergies to DHA are rare.  It is not recommended for pregnant women to use DHA simply to err on the side of safety. 

However, do keep in mind that you are spraying chemicals on your body, so for me personally, I will only do it for special occasions.   So, with my concerns about the chemical spray, I asked her for a mask or goggles to protect my eyes and my lungs from inhaling the stuff.  I was told that neither was needed and to instead close my eyes and hold my breath while being sprayed. 

Off into the magic machine I went ready for an instant tan.  I chose shade #2, which is the medium shade.  I didn’t want to overdo it, but I did want to see a difference.

As the soothing computer voice told me when to switch my poses, I closed my eyes and held my breath.  But the first spray startled me, and sure enough, I breathed in!  Yikes!  Oh well, I knew when to hold my breath for the rest of the spray tan session, which went by super fast. 

And that was it.  I was done, tan and ready to be on my way.  It was so easy and I liked the results

It almost seemed too good to be true.  So effortless and easy.  However, I did have two issues.  All day long, folks asked me if I had sunburned my face.  And my kids…well, when they saw me…oh boy, I couldn’t live that one down!

They teased me about my red splotchy face all day long.  So I called Dolce and they told me that it is normal for some women.  They also told me not to worry, that my face would match my golden-toned body the next day after I showered.  And, thankfully, I did like my face the next day. 

The bottoms of my feet looked stained, too, which is also normal and faded each day.

So, do be advised, DO NOT have a spray tan the day of your big event.  I recommend two or three days before because I liked it best on day #3.  

My spray tan lasted the expected  5 to 7 days.  I truly didn’t notice anything happening as it wore off.  I wasn’t blotchy and I wasn’t exfoliating a bunch of dead spray tan skin cells off, either.  Like a real tan, it naturally faded and my bathing suit line got a little lighter each day, until it was pretty much gone by day #7. 

I think that next time I’ll try an airbrush tan as opposed to the tanning booth.  With this type of tan, you have a professional spraying you, so you have more control over where the spray goes on your body.  I will also probably skip my face all together. 

Overall, I would have to say that I was impressed with the ease, price and effectiveness of the spray tan.  It was worth the bucket of teasing that I took from my kids.  I guess they don’t think it’s cool for a middle-aged mom to get a Dancing with the Stars-type tan.  I disagree, but I won’t be going on a regular basis, either.  It was fun to be tan for a week, though.

To see how my stylish spray tan looked on day #3, click on the segment below to see me in action, doing my Channel 3 gig, with my fake and fab tan!   I forgot to take a picture for this column, but this shot of me doing my segment best shows my results….

What is your spray tanning experience?  Share here in the comments section.


  1. Erin Cole says:

    I have always wanted to try a spray tan but was afraid. Thanks for being my guinea pig, Rachel. : )

  2. I’ve always wanted to try that as well. I’ve had good luck with an at-home self tanner by San Tropez. It gives a natural-looking color (no oompa loompa orange) and it doesn’t have that funky smell that so many of those products do. If I had the money though I’d save myself the hassle of doing it myself and go in weekly for a spray tan to maintain my summer glow.