Rosemary Mac Cabe

Hemlines, heels and haute couture – your daily dose

Debs season beginneth proper – preparations at La Make-up Academy

My own debs, a frightening eight years ago, was a tame affair compared to what I see in magazines and television nowadays. I bought a dress (strapless, but of course) in a boutique in Clane and applied Clinique self-tanner in the …

Tue, Sep 7, 2010, 10:25


My own debs, a frightening eight years ago, was a tame affair compared to what I see in magazines and television nowadays. I bought a dress (strapless, but of course) in a boutique in Clane and applied Clinique self-tanner in the dim lamplight of my bedroom the night before. Today, of course, the “kids” spend a lot more than I did, in both time and money, and to aid them in their preparations, LA Make-up Academy on Chatham St has put together a debs package for would-be debutantes to beautify before their “big day”.

The package, at €125, includes a full body Xen-Tan spray tan, manicure, false eyelashes (with optional jewels, which, for the record, I would totally go for), an up-do and make-up application. To break that down for you, a spray tan usually costs around €40; make-up application €40; an up-do from €40 up, so it’s a really good value deal. LA Make-up Academy got in touch with me last week to offer me a trial (a chance, I thought, to relive my glory days), so I went along for the spray tan while Ciara Norton, blogger extraordinaire, went along for the rest of the package (which she is writing about for me as I type this very moment).

So what did I think of my experience?

Image (the closest I could find to my appearance, post-tan) via Getty Images

The salon itself is tucked away upstairs on Chatham St, above Anewspace. When I arrived there was a troup of women arriving for a class upstairs in the academy part of the salon, and I was shown to a couch, offered a choice of beverage (herbal teas, coffee and water) and asked to wait for a few short moments while my room was prepared. I was then shown into the tanning room.

For the uninitiated among you, a spray tan is pretty much like a paint: it is painted all over your body, you wait for it to dry and then, 12 hours or more later, you shower so that the outer layer is washed off and the tan has developed beneath into (if you’re lucky) a beautiful golden bronze. The spraying is done in a room with some form of booth; LA Make-up Academy’s was a little like a three-sided tent.

I was offered paper knickers (if I were you, I’d leave them off; if you’re going to get spray tanned, tan lines shouldn’t be high on your list of priorities) and given a pair of sticky soles to place on the bottoms of my feet. This is a genius tactic, and not something I’ve encountered before, as it prevents the usual tell-tale muddy soles occurring. Then I was sprayed, head to toe, front and back, for about 10 minutes, with an air gun. It’s not a hugely comfortable experience, if anything because the spray itself is quite cold, but I was made feel very comfortable (mentally at least) and, when I was sprayed, I was given the hose part of the gun to dry myself off with. Like a hairdryer, for your body!

What about the results? As with most things (hairdressing, waxing), my tan looked great the day after. I was a lovely golden colour, I didn’t smell too bad (tan smells bad; Xen-Tan smells a bit like tan with a touch of vanilla, which is marginally better than most other tans) and the tan was very even. But, like all tans, these things don’t last, and by day three (post-Electric Picnic), I was looking a little patchy.

Would I go for it? Without a doubt. The entire experience was flawless, the tan looked great for about 48 hours, I won’t lie (and, if you’re going to a debs or to a wedding, that is the crucial time frame) and the package itself is incredible value.

Do you have a salon tan that you favour? Or do you do it yourself? Let me know in the comments!

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