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30 May

Am I The Only One Afraid Of Self-Tanning?

Posted by Bikini Owner


A photo posted by TanTowel (@tantowel) on


What is it about being tan that is so incredibly alluring? In my mind, it's always been a symbol of laid-back leisure, combined with an inherent sign of health, in that outdoors-y, "fresh air and sunshine are good for you" kind of way. Now, I know that sun damage is a real thing, and I am totally in the habit of protecting my skin daily with sunscreen. But come that first warm, bare-legs day in May or June ... I just want to be tan.

For me, the hardest part of crossing the gap between spring and summer is the gradual baring of limbs — that day when it's too hot to wear pants signals to me that I've got to hop on two things: shaving my legs more regularly, and amping up my skin tone from "pallid" to "bronzed." Even as a person with Mediterranean heritage, long months that lack sunlight leave me paler than you'd expect. There's also a conundrum that occurs after a few weeks of sandal-wearing with long pants: My feet, clad usually in Birkenstocks because they are finally being embraced as chic (and they are so insanely comfortable), get more sun exposure than my legs, so I'm left with a perplexing web of stripes across my instep that need sorting out. Which is where the self-tanner comes in. 

A few years ago, on a mid-winter trip to a Miami, I fumbled with some creamy sunless tanner the night before my flight and stripped down on the beach to reveal streaks that were decidedly orange in places. Definitely not cute. A sunless-tanning strike commenced, and I spent several years grinning and bearing it on short, warm-weather getaways, you know the kind — when you're not at your destination long enough to really get a glow, so you just saunter around looking winter-white on the beach in your bikini. 

This year, however, something changed. I've been chronicling my journey about training with Robert Brace for, and one of the results of feeling super-toned and fit is that I've been dying to get into some of the dresses that I bought for spring—winter in New York seemed to last up until about two weeks ago, so at my first chance I was eager to go bare-legged on a recent 70-degree day. My legs, however, were in a sad state and I was determined to do something about it. When you write about beauty for a living, you often have myriad product samples stockpiled in your bathroom and floating all over your desk—a box of Tan Towel self-tanning wipes just happened to be part of the flotsam and jetsem I've accumulated for review. Determined to conquer my phobia, I prepped by legs by exfoliating and shaving, and made sure they were well moisturized. Swiping on the self-tanner in wipe form is far easier than applying a cream-based formula, and I was done in less than a minute. Which seemed too fast. But sure enough, in about three hours my legs were decidedly bronzier then they were when I woke up. Emboldened by my success, I also used a wipe on my arms to make sure I looked even, and by the day's end I looked just bit more glowy and sun-kissed — not dramatically so, just enough to not be pale.

The Tan Towel comes in a darker shade for deeper skin tones, but I feel content with the gentle bronze shade of a single application, at least for now. Come later in the season, I just might go for it. 



A photo posted by TanTowel (@tantowel) on