Spray Tanning: Bronzage in a Bottle

Peaks Mountain Spa

The Peaks Resort & Spa

The days were ticking by in Telluride before I was to leave for a month of travels. As with every pre-trip departure, I had a ton to do. But I was prioritizing my chores and a last-minute beauty treatment had made it to the top of my list.

My mountain pallor wasn’t going to cut it back east where I knew I’d be sporting all kinds of summery attire including a bathing suit. Although it can be delightfully warm—even downright hot—in Telluride in the summer, we do typically have a good amount of rain and cool weather, so it can be a challenge to build up much color, especially if you spend a lot of time at your desk. (The little tan I had was truly a hiker’s tan, so clearly I needed some quick evening out.)

I set up an appointment for a spray tanning, one of the newest services added to the many treatments offered at the Golden Door Spa at The Peaks, Telluride’s landmark resort. I had already seen one girl that had been spray tanned this spring and I was truly amazed by the results.

Peaks Spa Treatment

Peaks Spa Treatment

Lisa, a very bronzed and friendly blond, ushered me into the tiled space and proceeded to explain the treatment. I opted to wear the throw-away thong she had laid out for me but decided to forego the mini-bra. I stood there quite naked and rather chilled while she coerced the machine into motion. Finally the spray shot out with a burst of cool air. She deftly maneuvered the long hose as it chuffed and wheezed like a vacuum. Organic beet juice blew out from the bottle attached to it, turning my skin a honey brown right before my eyes.

“O.K., now lift up your left arm. Good, turn out the inside of your leg. Yeah, that’s right. Now the other leg. A little more,” she politely commanded with all the concentration of a dedicated artist.

I was grateful that she was so sweet and conscientious or else I might have felt completely ridiculous standing there in my birthday suit in front of this complete stranger in my many highly revealing poses.

We stopped to assess the coverage and my degree of brownness. I turned to notice that my back end was nicely covered although it partially resembled a hot cross bun since the thong had left a strip of white up the middle, just off center enough to appear odd.

Totally undeterred, Lisa set out to remedy the problem as I discarded my last shred of modesty by throwing out the thong.

Finally I appeared ready for the beach.

Lisa stood there chatting with me as I dried next to a heat lamp sandwiched in between two fans. She talked about how she had made the conversion from extensive tanning bed use to spray tanning.

“This way is so much better for your health,” she emphasized.

I found all of this interesting but by now I was ready to put my clothes on and go home. I wasn’t quite dry though, so I stood there and baked like a chicken beneath a warming lamp in the deli while Lisa ducked out to deal with another client. I never had any patience for laying in the sun, so even the twenty minutes of drying required here seemed long. Just as I thought I was good to go, I touched my chest for doneness. The tan came off on my finger and I was left with a white patch. I reached for a Kleenex to smooth it out and ended up creating more damage. I gingerly put on my clothes (I had no other choice!) and padded out to see Lisa.

She couldn’t have been nicer but still, she seemed somewhat disconcerted by my predicament once she took a look at my chest back in the treatment room. She sprayed on some more until the patches turned medium brown and the rest looked the color of mahogany. I fretted.

“Come back tomorrow and we’ll fix you. It’s best not to fool with it anymore today,” she explained.

“But I won’t have a minute tomorrow,” I practically whined. “I’m leaving for a month.”

She dusted me copiously with baby powder so that I could safely dress and go. I was happy not to have to stand naked any longer in this chilly room in front of someone I had met just an hour ago.

“Don’t worry. You’d be surprised how this works itself into the skin overnight.”

I mumbled something about exfoliation, words I’m sure she perceived as a threat. She suggested that I perhaps just rub it all gently the next morning with one of my netted puffs and shower gel. I shuffled off with a dreaded feeling in my stomach, imagining that now I’d look like some kind of a giraffe in my beautiful decolletés (plunging necklines).

I could hardly wait to jump into the shower the next day. I quickly saw a flood of beet juice swirl down the drain. I braced myself and looked down at my chest: It was an even and luscious shade of brown. I gasped as I realized I had started to wash my belly with the netted puff. Pouf! Much of that golden tan was now rubbed off. I grabbed a bar of soap and completed the job. I knew from now on, I’d be careful to lightly wash my face and body and then pat myself dry. I loved my new summer look and I quietly vowed to preserve it. I was told my spray tan could last as many as fourteen days and I was determined to eke out every bit of its golden glow.

Peaks Resort & Golden Door Spa, Telluride, 970-728-6800, www.thepeaksresort.com

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