Reader Roadtest: Fake Bake Spray Tan

Can a spray-on tan give you body confidence? One woman finds out.

Francesca Castagnoli
Francesca Castagnoli flaunts her faux glow.

Now that the country is experiencing an early spring heat wave, it’s easy to forget that just a few weeks ago a Nor’easter was ripping up trees and flooding roadways. Watching the storm I realized I was suffering from post-winter-stress-disorder, a topic I wrote about on my blog, where I mistake the plain old winter blues for thinking my life is in a real crisis. The storm made me realize that bad weather depresses me and that I needed an instant I  pick me up. When I was invited to try Fake Bake an organic, all natural fake tan spray I knew I found my answer and booked an appointment.
 As my spray day approached I started to have deep Snookie fear. I imagined myself orange and shiny like a supermarket pumpkin rather than sun kissed and radiant like Dana Delany on the cover of this very magazine. My husband, David, even sat me down and said, “I like your skin tone, no I love it, I don’t want you to come home looking like someone you’re not.” I padded his knee, anxious to feel sunny on the outside and reassured him that if it was really bad it would wash off in a week.
At the appointment, I was greeted by my technician who asked me to undress in a private room and exfoliate with exclusive Fake Bake wipes that felt like damp public school paper towels with a hint of grit. I let her know I was ready, stepped into a black tent with nothing on but a paper thong and allowed myself to be sprayed with the water-soluble, organic, mist that contains skin firming peptides and is paraben-free.  The machine was about as big as a Mighty-Might vacuum and the sensation of cold air made my nipples perk up, but it was  too late to be embarrassed.  I closed my eyes and let her spray tan my face. When it was done, I opened my eyes and was afraid I looked like the FTD man. The technician told me to wait a few minutes and then get dressed.  There were no mirrors in the room and I was anxious to see the result. When I stepped out of the room there were a couple of pale would-be Fake Bakers in the waiting and they all collectively said, “Wow!” when they saw me.
I blushed under my bronzer and looked in the mirror. I was transformed from a tired, winter hermit into a honey-toned jet-setter who had just returned from a jaunt in St. Barths. The new splash of sun made skin look healthy and younger and my teeth look whiter. I even felt thinner because the tan had made my winter chicken skin and cellulite look smoother—albeit temporarily.

I walked home smiling at strangers. But the best part, was that I felt playful about my body again, instead of needing to cover it up with tights, boots, and turtleneck sweaters. That evening, I brushed my teeth in nothing but my underpants. I started to tease David by flashing my sudden and dramatic bikini line. He kissed my fake tan neck and said I smelled faintly of fruit. Outside, it was cold and rainy again, but inside, I felt summery and more confident than I had in months. It was like getting an infusion of body confidence and by now we all know that confidence is the best aphrodisiac. A romantic evening and at least one orgasm later I can safely say, that Fake Bake is the safest and happiest sunless suntan around.

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