Let me take a moment to fully express my shame. As an advocate for being skin cancer free, I never thought I would spend time, and a considerable amount of money, in a tanning salon. As a fair-skinned lady I have grown to love, or more likely accept, that I would never have a natural Jlo glow. Nope. Not me. I was destined for the more blotchy sunburned/ mildly darker look.
Of course I dabbled into the fear-inducing world of self tanner (June through August all my bath towels take on a light brown hue) and for the longest time that was enough. Enough until a few weeks ago when the harsh reality of 4 days in the Tennessee sun sent me into a panic. After MONTHS of snow and indoor entertainment, I was the fairest I’ve ever been. My first venture outside was going to be the most exposure I had ever had to the solar goddess. What would become of me?? So after much deliberation I decided it would be the responsible thing to gradually develop a base tan, making my milky complexion just a little more prepared for what was to come.
So here’s what happened.
Part 1: The Stakeout
After the decision to get tan was made I needed to find a salon in my area, this proved to be easier than expected. I found out there was a popular little salon in a shopping center right around the corner from my house. On the way back from the dry cleaners I stopped in for a preliminary check. The salon was well decorated and the young girl behind the counter seemed nice and offered a variation of suggestions based on my needs. I filled out a questionnaire which quizzed me on my skin and past medical treatments. The first thing I noticed was the prices, the bed I was recommended was $19 per session, go ahead and do the math, take deeps breaths as to avoid fainting. For those of you not in close proximity to a calculator, shit is expensive. Who knew so many people where spending hundreds of dollars a month on a faux glow?
Part 2: Virgin Huecides
The first time I actually used the salon I opted for 8 mins in the bed which was originally suggested. I made sure to let the girl know it was my first time and some instruction would be necessary. She led me into a private room which contained a tanning bed and a small stool for my belongings. On the bed was a towel shaped as a monkey and tanning goggles. She said I could wear as much or as little as I was comfortable with in the bed. For me that meant underwear and no bra. The thought of being butt naked just didn’t seem sanitary. Once I was comfortable, I needed to pull the top down and press a green button. They register the time at the front desk, so the bed automatically turns off after the 8 minutes is up. The first few moments of tanning required some composure, I couldn’t help but feel like I was in an illuminated coffin. After the initial moment of discomfort I relaxed. The bed did heat up quite a bit but the built in fan certainly helped a lot. After about 5 mins I started to get antsy, I hate the thought of burning, and paranoia was settling in. Just when I was contemplating an early escape the lights went out, it was over. I was pleased to see a barely noticeable deepening of my skin tone, after bidding farewell to that helpful employee I was already planning my next visit. I was almost certain I was now addicted and would probably end up looking like the tan mom.
Part 3: Get Cocky
Three days later I stopped in again, as a seasoned pro, I decided to try my luck with 10 minutes. This time around I was much more relaxed, I knew what to expect, and since I was already satisfied with the outcome, my burn-paranoia was nowhere to be found. After the time was up I again noticed a slight deepening, but as I went about my day I started experiencing some sensitivity on my chest and legs. After a close inspection I discovered some burning in certain (errr) sensitive areas, nothing too bad, but enough to make me reevaluate my decision. After an emergency conference with one of my good friends, we decided I got a little too ambitious. If 8 mins worked for me, then that’s where I will stay. She also suggested the indoor tanning lotions, which most places sell for an insane price.
Part 4: The Tannest of them all
I am waiting for the burned areas to calm down before I venture back in. This time for 8 mins and covered in protective lotions. I still crave that summer tan for Bonnaroo and I already spent too much $$$ to give up on it now. That being said, I know this will not be something I will continue with, health risks aside, being a chronic tanner is not cheap. One month of unlimited visits could easily cost $150 and up, and for that price I will stick to covering myself in Tanwise every other week.
Sally Beauty $10
Happy summer sunning.