Test Driving a Man Tan

As a native Californian trapped in New York, I’ve watched my former consistently bronze glow fade to a somewhat gray shade of pale. So…what’s a guy to do, you may be thinking? With sun safety in mind – I plan to age gracefully – I hit the city streets in search of a sunless man tan.

Smooth Synergy is a medi spa located in Midtown East. The spa’s Organic Spray Tan, which promises a natural looking tan using a unique combination of mineral salt bronzers, beets, sugarcane and the approved cosmetic tanning agent, DHA 20 beckoned.

Smooth Synergy is clean, minimal and perhaps a bit bland in appearance (to be expected from a medi spa, in all fairness.) I was led back to the tanning treatment room by esthetician, Kyung. As a giant sized man…6’6″ and rapidly growing in diameter, I cringed when I saw the Tan Tent, a three walled nylon space obviously built for much smaller bodies. After disrobing, a cool, ultra fine mist was applied in long, gentle strokes at relatively close range to the body – you can choose from fair, medium or deep, depending on skintone and desired intensity (I chose medium.) The spray itself had a refreshingly cool bite on a steamy June afternoon – very refreshing.

After 20 minutes of quarter turns, slight bends and repositioning to target every pale area, I emerged a bronzed god. Well, maybe not exactly, but color was immediately noticeable and it developed further over time…accompanied by the heinous aroma of DHA 20. My girlfriend could literally smell me from two rooms away and neither of the cats would come near me. Be forewarned, the color also rubbed off on my clothing, pillowcases and sheets, though it did wash off easily in the laundry. For those guys considering:

– Arrive 10 minutes prior to your appointment to fill out a brief intake survey at the spa, which gauges your patterns of sun exposure and medical history.

– Exfoliate before your treatment to ensure even application. Steal your gal’s scrub in the shower or try the MenScience Exfoliating Body Buff Gloves

– Wear what you feel comfortable in – loose fitting, dark clothes might be best to avoid stains and streaking. You can choose to wear either boxers or briefs during the treatment.

– Don’t shower for at least 8 hours following the spray tan.

– For those of you who are single…plan to spend the evening alone. For those who are coupled, don’t be surprised if you’re asked to sleep on the couch.

– Expect your sunless tan to last 5-7 days.

While many people choose spray tans for special events or weekly maintenance, I would opt for good old-fashioned California Sunshine. No muss, no fuss and most importantly, no stink!

Smooth Synergy is located at 686 Lexington Avenue. To make an appointment for an Organic Spray Tan, call 212-397-0111.

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