By Crystal Dey
Years ago, I attempted to tan in an ultraviolet (UV) light tanning bed. At first it was relaxing – a tropical-themed, coconut-scented room, The Beach Boys’
Kokomo playing on the radio. But, as I lay on the hard plasticy surface with goofy goggles protecting my eyes, I smelled something cooking – me!
Still stymied by the stigma that being pale was somehow uncool, I tried sunless tanning products, the do-it-yourself kind. A little more effective, but took a lot of prep work and maintenance.
Beauty trends have come a long way from the beach blonde baby-oil bronzed Barbie doll look I grew up admiring on my mother and older sister. I have now embraced my
natural hue and protect it with my SPF 30 sunblock.
In the modified words of Kermit the Frog, “It ain’t easy being cream.”
If you’re looking to get a little sun-kissed this summer you have some options.
Bronzers are face and body make-up that come in powder, gel, spray and stick varieties. They are intended to be applied and washed off. Most will wash out of fabrics, but it’s important to allow drying time before dressing to prevent staining.
Pros: Not permanent. Spray bronzers provide the most even coverage.
Cons: Powders don’t have staying power. Gels tend to turn orange on most skin tones. Stick bronzers are stroked onto skin and can be used for larger areas like legs but may
need to be combined with a concealer and set with powder.
These come in an array of lotions, sprays, gels and mousses, all which contain dihydroxyacetone (DHA), a safe sugar that interacts with proteins in the epidermis to produce a darker skin shade.
Pros: Can be applied in stages to gradually reach desired level of tan. Gels are fast drying.
Cons: A lot of skin preparation: need to shave or wax the day before applying, exfoliate the day of application and may need to spot moisturize to avoid creasing and blotches. Some sensitive skin types may be allergic to fragrances or preservatives in these products.
A lot of traditional tanning salons have incorporated the Mystic Tan, or another UV free mist, sunless tanning system into their services.
Pros: An even all-over tan in seconds. Salon professionals are on-site to answer questions.
Cons: Similar extensive prep to skin as at home sunless tanners before application, and can be more expensive. Need to wait approximately four hours for product to set before working out or showering.
Be the natural beauty you were born to be.
Variety is the spice of life. Ivory, tan, mocha, olive, ebony, whatever your shade – own it and protect it like your life depends on it, because it actually could.
Avoid extended exposure to sunlight.
Cover high-risk skin types with loose fitting clothing.
Rock a sombrero…or another wide-brimmed lid.
The night time is the right time. If you’re prone to burning, maybe summer nights are more your forte.