Skin Care

By Anya Strzemien

I fake it. I’m confessing once and for all that I don’t rely on blush or getaways to Miami to look healthy in the wintertime. A few years ago, I made the discovery that 20 minutes in a tanning bed on a gray day in February left me feeling and looking like I had spent a day at the beach. For fear of being called out for this Georgette Burns concept of beauty, I hid this occasional habit from all but my closest friends, and allowed everyone else believe that I have a naturally olive complexion. But now that fake tanning has become acceptable behavior north of New Jersey, I’m coming clean. However, I realize that if this vanity is to continue, I’ve got to find a safer option, so I went to Brazilian Bronze Glow Bar to research spray-on tans.

Treatment day: I popped into SoHo’s Brazilian Bronze Glow Bar and was met by Sally Blemkey-Tchassova, a former professional ballroom dancer from England. I stood in a small, curtained-off space wearing nothing but a paper g-string (this is an option for the more modest of clients), while Sally used an airbrush to carefully apply her own tanning concoction to my body. The advantage of having someone perform this service for you, as opposed to using a Fantasy Tan automatic spray booth, is that Sally took special care to distribute the tan in a natural-looking way. For example, she made my stomach slightly tanner since stomachs tend to be a shade darker, and she also took the time to apply liquid latex to my finger and toenails so I didn’t walk out with orange nails. Considering that Sally has sprayed the bodies of J. Lo and Britney Spears, one could feel a little insecure standing naked before her under a harsh light, but Sally is careful to make you feel as comfortable as possible. After less than 10 minutes the spray session was over and I was led into another tiny room where a fan and a hairdryer finished the job in several minutes. When getting this treatment, be sure to bring loose-fitting clothes to wear home afterwards. The tan takes about 8 hours to set, and I recommend leaving yourself a light schedule in the hours following. You won’t look like a freak, but you won’t look completely normal either. After washing, the resulting tan is supposed to last about 5 days.

1st day: When I woke up the next morning, I showered off the excess spray and was left with a very pleasing tan. I glowed all the way to a breakfast meeting, to the bank, and to work, and essentially spent the day giving out the Glow Bar’s phone number. One co-worker xeroxed all the information I had about the treatment for his wife, who’s a skin cancer survivor. The results were as natural as a fake tan can be, and the general consensus was that I was not orange.

Day 2: Sally recommended that while I have the tan, I not scrub my body too hard, and I definitely had to lay off my beloved loofah for a week. So I noticed on the second day that the tan was disappearing in places that got a lot of washing, namely my hands and face. By that night I realized that I had subtle white splotches around my forehead and eyes, areas that, as it turns out, I rub when I’m under stress.

Day 3: The tan on my face continued to fade as I used astringent each night, while my neck and the rest of my body remained very tan.

Day 4: My face was now snow white, but the tan on my body was still going strong.

Day 5: I had to loofah my neck and arms because I had an important meeting to attend and my skin was beginning to look the shade and texture of a stucco wall.

Conclusion: The Brazilian Bronze treatment is amazing, but due to its inconsistencies in the days following the first, I think it’s best for a special occasion such as a wedding or party (unless you don’t shower, wash your hands, or touch your face). When it starts to get blotchy, an abrasive material like a loofah should even it out. For more information visit http://www.brazilbronze.com or to make an appointment call (212) 431-0077 or email sally@brazilbronze.com .

Originally published December 2003
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