**In the spirit of my day job, here's an executive summary (for readers in a rush!):
❤️️ Spray tan is the way to go if you've the time and the cash. Samantha at King Hair & Beauty is a spray tan ninja. She delivered a beautiful even tan, using Bellamianta, in no time. You decide the depth of colour by choosing when to shower.
❤️️ In between sprays, I've been converted to gradual tan lotion. But the ONLY one that works for me is... La Mer. Tough on my bank balance-incredible on my skin! **
If you follow etainliving.com on Instagram (@etainlivingdotcom and more recently Snapchat too @graceiebaby) then you'll know that I was a born-again spray tan virgin.
I say born-again because my previous spray (a disaster in Dublin 6) was a year ago and the one before that was 15 years ago, back in the dark ages when they didn't actually spray you (at least not in Wicklow anyway) they just rubbed you with the lotion and charged you for the privilege.
Nevertheless it was back in Wicklow that I discovered the joys of a good spray tan in the hands of an expert.
Samantha is an inspiration. She gave up a career in the legal arena to pursue her dreams of beautifying others and now she has her own salon - King Hair & Beauty - in Wicklow. She uses Bellamianta, an Irish brand, which you may know I wasn't too impressed with based on their gradual tan offering. But this was totally different, due in no small part to Samantha's artistry. The tan develops quickly and you determine the depth of colour by choosing when to shower. Just over two and a half hours was enough for me. I'm never sure if you're supposed to scrub off the base colour (which I now know is just a guide for the person spraying so that nowhere is missed) but Samantha's face when I asked her, suggested not! You just stand under the shower until the water runs clear. Then moisturise. Voila. You're tanned. It's like magic. My Mum even thought it looked good. High praise considering this is how I looked when I came back from the salon:
My tan lasted well for about a week with some TLC on my part (minimal scrubbing but much moisturising). This helped it fade beautifully. There's nothing worse than grubby skin and tell-tale knees and ankles.
King Hair & Beauty also specialises in high-end hair extensions, henna brows (which I didn't even know were a thing!) and lashes, including the much vaunted LVL lash lift. That's next on my wish list! 😍
The Bellamianta spray tan is only €20 for the month of June but Samantha books up FAST! Yes you can get Belliamianta at lots of salons but you're paying for her expertise and perfectionism. That tan will be flawless or she's not letting you out!
If you want to know more, she's on Facebook @kinghairandbeauty and prolific on Snapchat! @candhhblog (Samantha is also the gal behind well known blog Champagne and High Heels - endless talents!)
I'd add that Samantha is lovely! Made me feel so comfortable and was a wealth of knowledge on all things beauty.
Tell her I sent you! Might even see you there...I'm eyeing up a lash upgrade!
And so to La Mer...
The consensus on this was that it had better be fantastic given the toe curlingly expensive price tag. Almost €100. Eep.
Thankfully it is!
Firstly, it smells reassuringly expensive. Like a fancy men's cologne or a musky candle in a high-end hotel loo. Secondly, forgetting the tan for a moment, it glides on and delivers an immediate luxurious sheen.
I've been applying it at night (with a mitt) and waking up to the softest, shiniest legs ever. AND they're tanned!! It's like an added bonus!
I bared my lightly (and evenly) tanned legs on a boat trip today despite lashing it on last night after a bottle of Cava 🙌🏻 It's fool-proof.
This is a keeper for me. It's natural looking on my face and arms (my freckles add a certain authenticity 😂 ) and it's the first at home tan that's developed without any patchiness on my legs.
One application gives a light but luxe glow to my deathly pale skin. That's perfect for me at home or in work etc. Two days in a row was a proper tan... a good holiday option.
So I'm going out on a silky smooth tanned limb here...it's well worth €100. I've already had three full body applications and there are at least another three or four left.
I'd love to hear about any other tans you think might rival La Mer?