For most of the year, us Michiganders cover our bodies from head to toe for legitimate fear of frostbite. 'Winter is (constantly) coming' - Two hands up top for my Game of Thrones reference!! However, come Spring our layers shed exposing our porcelain skin. And if you're anything like me, you're skin's near glowing after months of hibernation. Help. 

As a busy mom of two, my leisure time spent laying in the sun is on pause... "Ain't nobody got time for that!" And as a woman who's concerned about preventing wrinkles and more importantly, skin cancer, I'd rather not risk my health if there's a better alternative.

So last week I went to see Sarah, owner of Smooched Grand Rapids located downtown inside Manic Muse Salon off Lyon Street. The salon was modern, clean and welcoming. Sarah greeted me with a smile and genuinely seemed happy to see me. Located just off the main room is the space with the spray tanning booth where Sarah works her magic. She does everything by hand which, in my opinion, is WAY better than standing in one of those machines that simply spins around you. We talked through shades of color, carefully made a selection with her guidance and about 30 minutes later I was the perfect shade of summer. And just in case you're wondering, yup... I stood completely naked in front of someone I just met. And honestly, I sort of regret having on underwear... the lines didn't match up with my swim suit. I mean, lets be serious, it's nothing my waxologist and half the intern staff at Butterworth Hospital hasn't already seen! 

Sarah is a professional and she's got her method down to a science. She chats with you the entire time and gives you clear direction on how to stand and when to move so you get your absolute best tan. She gauges her 'shades of tan' on a scale of 'Kardashian' which I found humorous. Are you a Kim? What about a Rob? 

I walked out of the salon smelling like a sugar cookie (she uses all natural products that smell amazing!) and feeling awesome. There's something about being tan that makes me feel more confident which meant not being afraid to show a little (tanner) leg at our Watermark Member Member Banquet. 

I've had many spray tans over the years (even before kids) using a handful of different places around town and after a week and a half post spray with Sarah, my tan is still going strong which is much longer than I've experienced in the past. My tan has even survived three trips to the pool which usually causes fading due to the chemicals. Sarah charges $45 for a full body tan. 

You can read more about what to expect on the Smooched website, but here are my personal tricks of the trade: 

  • Wear loose fitting/black clothing to your appointment like athletic shorts/pants and a t-shirt. Anything that won't rub against your skin post tan for at least 4 hours giving the spray time to soak into your skin.
  • Plan your visit at a time when you don't have any commitments involving water at least 4 hours after your appointment. As in, don't plan to wash the dishes, use the hose, give your kid a bath, etc. Water during the hours following your spray means risking streaks. No bueno. 
  • FYI - You'll look darker in the hours following your appointment than your tan will actually be. Sarah instructs you to shower off 4 hours after your visit which gives the spray time to set. When you shower the shade will lighten to the appropriate color you discussed prior to your appointment. And yes, there will be some color that washes off you in the shower... you'll see it go down the drain. Looks like dirty water! 
  • To make your tan last longer be sure to lotion! Also, avoid exfoliating your skin for a bit and dab dry when you get out of the shower rather than rubbing. 
My main squeeze and me at the Member Member Banquet Saturday evening. 

My main squeeze and me at the Member Member Banquet Saturday evening.