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Tanning goggles

To tan or not to tan?

Summer is nigh and you know you want a tan. But what about that pesky cancer thing?!
(Note: this article originally appeared on Check them out. You won’t be sorry.)

If there were a Facebook group called Skin Cancer is Whack, Yo I would totally click the link in my news feed and become a fan and write on its wall and click “like.” In fact, this group would have like tons of fans because who doesn’t think skin cancer is whack, yo? And honestly, what better way to promote awareness of a serious disease like cancer than a Facebook group? (I’m looking at you, bra-color-status-update viral campaign. We’re all super aware now. Job well done.)

But here’s the kink in my plot to become a fan of not liking something super icky like skin cancer: I have a tanning membership. Yep. Forty dollars a month. Unlimited. Tanning. Membership. Like every other busty, blonde-haired, blue-eyed white chick with self-esteem issues, I slather on tanning lotion, place a towel over my hoo-hoo and descend into warm, purpley UV nirvana for approximately 10 to 15 minutes, 12 months of the year. I know that shit’s bad, but like most Americans and 80 percent of people under the age of 25, I think I look better with a tan. Plus, I get mad vitamin D.

Now that the government is plotting to charge me extra for my time in the tanning bed, and not to mention that one day I may end up looking like an old catcher’s mitt, or even worse, Donatella Versace, I decided to delve into my tanning fetish and determine if that monthly $40 could go toward an alternative that doesn’t put me at the crippling risk of a fatal disease. Don’t get me wrong, I still desire a bronze glow capable of eliciting daily catcalls and the random street harassment that I’ve grown so accustomed to, I just figured it’s probably time to save a few bucks and a few cancer-free skin cells to boot. Below are my findings.

(Note to dudes: I know at least some of you have fallen to the siren call of the fake bake; don’t try to brush this off as a female-only activity. All I have to say is, GTL.)

UV-Free Tanning Options

Sephora Sun DiskSephora Bronzer Powder

$20. Completely safe. Even has super sparkly gold sparkles for what I assume is to achieve a fairy princess look. Comes in a neat disc shape that could double as a fake Big Stuff Oreo. NOTE: word to the wise: do not eat.

End Result? Nice, natural but without much staying power and only useable on face, prompting the question, “Why are your hands and basically your entire body like a different color than your face?” Also acceptable: “That’s what she said.”

JergensJergens Natural Glow

$7.49. Like the Nicoderm of tanning lotion, it’s supposed to gradually darken your skin in a step-by-step process. It’s seemingly safe, but with lots of unpronounceable ingredients that who are we kidding, will probably turn out to cause cancer too.

End Result? Streak city with hints of Jersey Shore orange. And don’t plan on participating in any sort of water balloon relay race an hour after applying. Trust.

Spray tanSalon Spray Tan

$20 for 2 sessions. (Hello, deal!) This one’s super legit because there’s machinery involved. There’s also lots of instruction needed upfront, making me feel that I should have been rewarded with a certificate when it was over. The pre-spray process involves something called “barrier cream” being applied to fingers, toes, palms and cuticles. At this point I was already planning on royally fucking this thing up. I also had to review the required postures to ensure that I’d be evenly covered. From there I contorted myself into something similar to the Discobolus of Myron while visions of that Friends episode where Ross fights the spray-tanning booth and the spray-tanning booth wins ran through my head.

End Result? With the exception of a minor barrier cream glitch on my right pointer finger (told you so), I’m pleased with the spray tan’s cancer-free, natural and even application. Could live without having to wear a hair net and having to endure the near-Kelvin temperature in the room, but all told I think the spray tan might be my latest obsession.

In the end, I learned that there are many ways to look oddly darker than most white people in the wintertime, and they don’t have to involve harmful UV rays. With my new spray tan session purchases, I not only save money, but also can continue on with my lovely vapid existence and know that the only cancer I’ll be getting will be from my constant chain smoking.

  1. Lola on Monday 8, 2010

    The article about sunless tanning was hilarious and informative. Thanks for making me laugh.

  2. Lauren on Monday 8, 2010

    Glad you enjoyed it. I’m here to serve.

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