As I contemplated my own spray-tanned fate, I was met with almost overwhelming encouragement. “[Spray tans] look great on all men and all skin tones,” said Pradas. Paulsen, who begged his mother to drive him from his small town in Nebraska to Omaha for his first treatment, believes “everyone should experience a spray tan at least once once in her life,” he said. “I feel better after getting a spray tan. For me it’s an instant boost and a form of self-care.”
So what should first-time tanners know so they don’t get publicly embarrassed like Davidson did? Pradas says to be careful with the timing and understand that there are two types of spray tan: an express and an eight-hour version. The former can be washed off in the shower within one to four hours, depending on how dark you want the tan to be (the longer it lasts, the better it sets in). The eight-hour version that Davidson likely got will develop over time, but the top layer of bronzer can’t be washed away until that period is up. “So at one point you can look waaaaay darker than you wanted because your skin has developed under the bronzer,” Pradas warned. The express method usually has more shades available, but it’s more expensive than the eight-hour version. Some people also find that the eight-hour tan looks better and lasts longer. Even with spray tanning, one really wishes for longer: they usually only last 5 to 12 days. But while that doesn’t last long, it can be a way to thread the needle for the skincare obsessed to get a nice tan without prolonged exposure to the sun’s harmful rays. Pradas also recommends that clients should exfoliate well on the big day, drink plenty of water, and avoid deodorants, colognes, and moisturizers.
When the time comes, there will be other important decisions to be made as well. “I asked my boy, I was like, ‘Do I do my dick and my ass?'” Davidson said of his spray tan. “Can I get one of those Borat speedos? (Davidson’s boy’s response: “No, let it know, it’s more impressive that way.”) Here’s something to consider if you decide to spray tan ahead of your next Zoom meeting or influencer video, or if you’re really into the role like the sun-kissed John F. Kennedy or your new girlfriend’s Marilyn Monroe. As for me, I’d rather not think about the dilemma Davidson brought his boy — but maybe a Met Gala invite will change my mind.
This article first appeared on GQ.
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