As Sandton slips into winter, if somewhat delayed this year, so end the never-ending Sunday tanning sessions next to the pool and other sun adoring weekend activities, turning Sandtonians into the pastel army of War Boys from Mad Max: Fury Road until September. A grim thought for sure.

Then came the Irish to our fair shores and skins, with a tanning solution (excuse the pun) called Vita Liberata, an odourless and non-toxic tanning brand listed in the world’s best spas including St Regis, Ritz-Carlton and Burj Al Arab to mention but a few.

With one foot on route to a four day trip to Mauritius, it was time for The Sandton Times to get up to speed and look like permanent residents of the island. Expert tan artist, Beata, juggled load-shedding schedules to bring a touch of summer in a bottle and a convenient home visit is all it took to look like summer never ended.

Armed with an Air Compressor, a mobile pop-up tanning booth and a trained eye for application, the process only took a few minutes in an open space in the house, leaving behind a subtle lasting tan that claims to wash out of clothing and stay for up to 4 times longer than regular tans. Colour options come in different shades and Beata was knowledgeable on what would work best for certain skin tones to not go from Norwegian to Moroccan, overnight.

The experience, although initially cold on the skin as the liquid blasts out of the nozzle like a fine haze, was professional, pleasant, convenient and most of all, not messy. The tan process and application is not all that different, for those used to choosing a spray tan over hours on a sunbed, yet there are some subtle differentiations. Using a special cream, Beata covered those tell tale areas on the body, like wrists, knees and elbows to ensure the tan looked more natural, not leaving those orange patches which are a dead giveaway of a cosmetic tan. The product also felt more natural on the skin and absorbed quite quickly, starting the tanning process from the first few seconds. Best of all, it all happened without having to leave the house!

Spending the rest of the day in normal clothing and only permitted to wash the remaining residue off a few hours later, first hand experience revealed that the formula did have that classic spray-tan scent to start, which faded over time and disappeared after the first shower. Even though all exfoliation steps were followed ahead of time, the tan didn’t last as long as anticipated, but this could have also been strongly influenced by the excessive exposure to the seawater of the Indian Ocean in Mauritius, which tends to have some corrosive elements.

However, snorkeling aside, regular moisturizing with a non-chemical, aqua cream tends to extend the life of the tan along with not using any excessive scrubbing in the shower. The tan left The Sandton Times looking like new yacht owners and added an instant healthier look enhanced by wearing light colours like white.

The inside of the grey pants worn for the first 24-hours of the process, still had some evidence of tan liquid even after it had returned from dry cleaning, so best to wear something loose and dark initially right after application to avoid a few washes to get all the residue out.

Having gone through the process and compared to some of the other tanning services available in Sandton, this is one worth going through again, and careful avoidance of exotic trips, should keep the glow going well through the winter months.

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