Stripping off again! (in the name of beauty)

Over the years I have done some odd things so that I can write about the experience. I've driven a steam train, raced a traction engine, performed ladies clog dancing and gone yachting with some terrified youths from Milawi who clung to me as our tiny craft rocked on a particularly blustery day.

I've experienced faith healing, crystal healing, clairvoyant readings, spirit writers, hypnotism in varying forms and a particularly embarrassing session with a regression therapist where I ended up calling on my memories of a BBC period drama rather than tell her I was not regressing anywhere despite her best efforts.

I've been walked on, wrapped in cling film, mud and seaweed, been jet-washed in icy water, floated in a coffin-sized dark tank and had hot stones piled onto me.

All of these things were at best exciting and interesting and at worst made good anecdotes at dinner parties.

But this week I kinda topped the lot. I got (almost) naked and let one of the mums from my children's playground spray-tan me, wobbly bits and all.

 That sounds weird I realise. I should clarify that the mum was not some random woman with a fetish but my beautician friend Nic who is fully qualified to offer sunless tans from Urban Tan.

She has been making my nails look amazing for a long time now with Gelesse UV gel, and she also offers waxing - not been brave enough to try that service yet. I'm a fan of the razor with the occasional foray in the summer into some Nair  for the old bikini line and since I'm blonde I am lucky enough not to need any moustache removal.

But I love being brown and let's face it without an airplane ticket, a sunbed or the risk of smeary legs with my home-done lotion I'm going to end up whiter than Snow White by Christmas so jumped at the chance to try out some professional sunless tanning. 

I dragged along my friend Claire (as always!) and can recommend going first time with company. Girls giggling together made it more hen-night than solo strip tease.

Nic has a cosy little room she uses as a salon and she'd set up a huge pop-up tent-cubicle which gave me privacy and stopped any draughts.

She offered me paper knickers and/or bra but I opted for some old undies of my own - and was brave enough to go topless.

I thought it might be weird stripping in front of a friend but actually while chatting about the product and choosing a colour, having barrier cream put on cuticles etc and having the whole process explained I didn't feel awkward at all.

I joked that it might be better for me to do a handstand to avoid white patches under my saggy "I've had 7 kids" belly and boobs, while she checked to make sure the nozzle was clear and spraying evenly onto some paper, then we were off!

I giggled - I felt much like a fence might being Cuprinol-ed but it was a pleasant feeling. The spray was not too cold and following Nic's simple instructions I soon lost any lingering nervousness as I turned and posed for her to make sure my tan was natural-looking and even.

I stood to dry for a short while then carefully put on loose, dark clothes to avoid any last minute smears or marks. Then I drove off to enjoy coffee with another set of mates who commented how well I looked! I couldn't help myself - I had to show them my white bum to demonstrate how great the tan was!

Overnight the tan deepened and my white bum was a big contrast to the tan round it. DH joked that I looked like Mrs DeVere from Little Britain - thanks love! But in the shower, as Nic had promised, the spray colour washed off leaving a lovely natural glow underneath. Oh, and  although I'd been warned a bit of the spray might rub onto my bedclothes -it didn't.

I was expecting a few orange patches around knees and ankles but I have to say my whole body was pretty much perfect. As days have gone on a few patchier areas have appeared  but it still looks great. 

Nic told me I could expect the tan to last about a week so it would be perfect for a special party or to start your holiday looking good in swimwear. I went swimming two days after being sprayed and my cossie looked much better than it normally does in November!

Top tips for a top sunless tan - before you go - exfoliate. I just scrubbed hard with one of those scrunchy nylon ball things you get in every Christmas gift set.
Don't moisturise. Don't wear deodorant. (although I did and it was fine) Take a hair band if you have longish hair to help tuck it under the lovely paper hat. Check you aren't taking any drugs which are photosensitive. Wear loose dark clothes (including underwear to avoid ending up with a white bra with brown tide marks) and if possible slip on shoes/flip-flops and no socks.

 All of these tips will create the best outcome for a natural looking tan. It sounds a lot of faff as I write it down but it really wasn't. My tan looked just as it would after a week in Cyprus. My friend Claire doesn't actually tan very well naturally so her's was even more impressive change - wearing a lovely snuggly cream jumper the next day she looked like she'd been skiing!

So be brave, strip off and try a tan. At this time of year it might just make you feel a bit better when you peer into the mirror in the morning!

Disclaimer: I received a free Urban Tan session for the purposes of this review. All views and opinions as always remain my own.

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