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The Muddy spray tan test

There's nothing fake about today's spray tans. We tested out five of the bronzing best and loved the results.

I love a tan! Not a real one mind, haven’t managed to get this face in the sun without a hat since I got a case of chloasma with my first born (dark skin patches over my whole forehead). But fortunately with the leaps and bounds in spray tan technology, it’s easier than ever to fake it, and Northants has no shortage of skilled ladies to do the job. Step forward our first five…

Crazy Angel at Beauty Calling

Jackie Chambers at Beauty Calling has been my go to girl for the last decade (and counting). She’s mobile, which has always been a plus for me as a London commuter (in my old life), and will rock up with tanning tent, tables, stools and the kitchen sink (I honestly don’t know how she does it). In the Muddy household we affectionately call her Jackie Tan (Jackie Chan, natch), and she can do the top to toe of beauty, all under one roof; yours. On this occasion me and grand Muddy opted for the Crazy Angel speedy tan (wash off in two hours) as we were hot footing it to a hotel in Stansted. The two hour tan is really, rather convenient, and you don’t have that biscuit smell lingering for ages (much to the joy of him indoors, Mr M hates the digestive waft and he is the main laundry bod in the house, so it’s fair enough when he displays dissatisfaction at the Turin shroud effect on our previously well laundered pillow cases). I didn’t find the speedy tan as deep as the one you leave on longer, but it’s definitely easier to fit into a packed schedule and at £15 it’s v reasonable. I’d recommend the two hour speedy for weddings or events that are in the UK where some of the deeper tans can look a bit TOWIE, but if you do want to go darker, play ‘speedy tan bingo’ and leave it on for an extra hour.

Kissed by Mii at Grafton Spa

Muddy Award 2016 Winner Grafton Spa is in the fabulous little shopping emporium of Wakefield Court, where you’ll also find ARTea and another Muddy Award winner Vitreus Art (more lovely people). It’s a cute salon when you walk in. Definitely not one of those overly, feng shui’d salons, all chrome and steel minimalism. It has a nice, buzzy feel; lots of products and things going on and the tanning room is sizeable, so they take it seriously! It’s by Kissed By Mii, which I’d never heard off, but all the brochures looked pretty swish. It’s very dark when it’s first on, quite muddy in fact ( rather apt), and it has a strong smell, though not unpleasant. I went out for a food review that night to the Tap and Kitchen in Oundle and felt a bit self conscious, but Mr M said you couldn’t really notice. However the next day, wow, step forward bronzed goddess. The tan was quite dark, but it had the olive, yellowy undertones of my skin colour, and it looked natural and even everywhere. At £25, it’s a wee bit more expensive than the others, but worth every penny, and get this, it lasted over two weeks!!! No patchy bits apart from two and a half weeks later with just a tiny bit on the ankle which came off in a zealous pre-holiday exfoliation, wihich left me buff and ready for tan three.

Sienna by Penny Bennett

Another mobile tanner that takes the logistical stress out of a tan (because, let’s face it, all aspects of a beauty visit contribute to your choice)! Penny is very personable which is always helpful when you have to get your kit off (she’s actually concentrating more on the fitness arm of her brand these days, but I had a great tan so I included it anyway)! The tan itself goes on really lovely, so you can actually go out newly sprayed and not like you’ve been rolling in mud. Confession time though! I left mine on 48 hours before I washed it off, and apart from slightly over tanned feet, it looked great (I wanted to maximize the tanning effects, even though I’m fully aware it stops working after 12 hours – nowt wrong with a lass hedging her bets ; ) It washed off to reveal a lovely mid brown colour, especially good on the legs and no offending staining and my face looked tanned and well covered. It faded quite quickly but I was in the pool/sea every day, which always shortens tan life. Penni used a 9.5 (intensity of tan), but next time, especially if holidaying or swimming every day, I’d get a 10/10.5 I think.

St Tropez at Halo 26

A lovely little salon in Long Buckby, I revisited the first all over tan I’d ever had – St Tropez (if it’s good enough for Mossy)! Back in the day you used to be applied manually and the treatment would take over an hour. Thankfully with the advent of spray tans, these days it’s all over in a jiffy. The girls at the salon are super friendly and there’s a separate room for the tanning.Most tans give you the spiel about it working off your individual skin tone and body chemistry, giving you your own unique glow, but St Tropez really plugs into this vibe (probably to allay fears for newbies who worry about turning into an Oompa Loompa). I washed the tan off the next morning and it was a lovely golden sun kiss, great for understated, but probably not dark enough for the die hards or a foreign trip. The lovely ladies at the salon did go easy on the spray as I’m not always a fan off the muscle man look, but they’re happy to spray over a couple of times for a deeper colour.

Fake Bake at Rockabelles

I love Rockabelles, a retro, one stop shop for all things hair and beauty. I went along for an up-do and make-over (which I’ll talk about in a blog post soon), but while I was there, I heard they had an expert tanning lady (Susan Connolly since you ask), and by golly does she know her tanning. It was all very professional, sticky things on feet, cream on all the bits and bobs, and she talked me through contouring and a big list of do’s and don’ts. It’s Fake Bake at Rockabelles, which is the choice of many beauty experts and celebrities alike. Apparently, if you want to fashion a tan like Jennifer Anniston and Cheryl Cole then Fake Bake is the fake tan du jour. Like all the tans, I kept it on until the next day, and washed it off to reveal an all over bronze that wouldn’t look out of place on a first day trip to the beach. It did fade quite quickly, and I wasn’t using the pool much (too cold), but I was lily white to start off, so maybe no base colour didn’t help, but on the whole, I’d say this was good for most bods.

As always, let us know your go to girls for spray tans, sharing is caring!

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