I basically called my mom for help. Except when I say mom, I mean an esthetician.
Here’s the deal: I like to be tan.
I feel my best when I’m all
bronzed up; I feel sexiest and prettiest when I’ve been out on the lake all day.
My skin looks better, my eyes brighter, my whole body feels tighter and hotter.
If you want to lecture me about skin cancer and wrinkles, you can, and I will
listen. It’s just a personal preference.
I used to be a pretty big tanning bed user, but
I quit that habit a few years ago. I'm not gonna bash anyone for
it, because that would be incredibly hypocritical. It is a specific type of
wonderful to be encased in that little spaceship of warmth for 20 minutes in
the dead of winter blasting Britney Spears--I totally get it.
This winter has been really, really rough on
me. It’s so cold and snowy, and I’ve started feeding off the negative
temperatures. I felt ugly, cold and tired all the time. I needed the boost I
knew a tan would provide, but I wasn’t willing to hit the beds again.
I debated popping into my local Darque Tan for
a Mystic Tan or two. I’ve used these booths many, many times in the past when I
needed a fix. I loved going to bed pale and waking up all sun-kissed like a
goddess. However, I could never fully master the whole “lotion your feet and
hands” trick, and the tan always faded and flaked awkwardly after a few days.
And even though Mystic Tan booths are the easiest thing ever, I’m still
terrified I’m going to end up like Ross and forget to turn around and turn into
a walking tangerine.
Artificial tans are the result of a magical
little simple carbohydrate called DHA, or dihydroxyacetone. It’s a colorless sugar that reacts with
amino acids in your skin to turn paleness into tan. Germans started using it as
a sunless tanner first back in the ‘20s, and Coppertone was first to capitalize
on a sunless tanning product, introducing “Quick Tan” in the ‘60s. Self-tanning lotions you can purchase at the drugstore contain about 3 to 5% DHA, while your average
spray tan mixture containing 5-15%. If too much DHA is applied, that’s when you
Gradual tanning lotions never get me
dark enough and I loathe the smell. Self-tanner and I have never gotten along,
and believe me, I’ve tried them all. It is impossible
to self-tan yourself. I mean, how do you get your back?
But I needed a tan. My whole being was crying
out for a boost.
So I called in the big guns. In the Twin
Cities, that’s Glow Mobile.
Glow Mobile owner Melanie showed up at my apartment--that's
right, they come to you--and unloaded a little spaceship-esque tent right in
the middle of my living room as not to damage any walls or furniture.
We briefly chatted about my desired color and agreed on a
noticeable, but not obnoxious, shade. If you're getting a Glow tan, you know
it's customized for you. One shade does not fit all. (Just remember to shave and
exfoliate the night before and refrain from using any lotions or oils to
prolong your color. This is very important.)
And then I got naked! Well, I wore a G-string
because I think tan lines are kinda hot.
Melanie prepped my skin by spritzing me with a
pH-balancing solution; she said that's an important step towards not turning orange, and it helps your color pop and last longer.
Next, she sprayed my entire body with her
airbrush gun, including my face, with the mixture. It smelled lovely, like
vanilla. She posed me in order to fully, evenly "tan" me, having me
lift my arms and turn back and forth. After we were done, she looked me over
and made sure each inch was perfect. A spray here, a tweak there, and bam! It’s
This process took 10 minutes tops. Once she was done, I was
perfectly tan. There weren't any weird spots on my feet or between my fingers.
I looked like I'd been on a vacation and come back to snowy Minneapolis bronzed
Melanie advised me to let the color “marinate” for 24 hours for the
best, longest-lasting tan. I’m gross and went three days. When you’ve been
artificially tanned, stay away from hot baths, chlorine and exfoliating agents
like lotions that contain AHAs. They’ll wear away at the tan and it’ll fade
An airbrush tan isn’t cheap; Glow charges $65 per tan. However, as I
write this, I’m on day four and it hasn’t budged, flaked or turned orange. Glow
uses a high-quality formula, a pharmaceutical-grade DHA that’s paraben-free,
vegan and nut/allergen-free. And it doesn’t smell like stinky self-tanner,
which is a huge selling point.
Airbrush tans like Glow’s are perfect for brides and special
occasions. Melanie said she sprays her brides a few nights before the wedding
so the tan settles perfectly. Technicians are trained to highlight and contour
your body to make you look slimmer and/or more toned if you so desire. They
even do bodybuilders, but that takes a few sessions.
If you’ve got an event coming up that you need to look killer for,
by all means, get yourself airbrushed. Or get one just to beat the winter
doldrums like I did. I think I’m addicted now.
Please tell me some of you guys are tan people. Let’s talk about this.