Fake Tans Reveal a Deeper Shade of DC
Traditionally fake-tan refuseniks, Washingtonians are finally embracing spray-on bronze this summer.
June 25, 2012
If there ever was a poster woman for the capital city’s new take on tanning, it’s local author Susanna Quinn. “I don’t even put my face or body in the sun unless I have a factor 80 on,” says the 42-year-old. “I even bring a rain umbrella to sit beneath while I’m watching my daughter play soccer on sunny days.” But take a closer look at Quinn and you will see perfectly bronzed arms and a sun-kissed face that tell another story: She is one of a new breed of serial faux tanners—those who forego the sun but invest in a high-maintenance ritual of weekly salon sprays.
“Washingtonians have really started to equate a natural suntan with wrinkles and skin cancer,” explains Kelly Lovallo, a DC-based mobile spray tanner known for her bespoke bronzing and a VIP client list that includes everyone from the Real Housewives of DC to US Chief of Protocol Capricia Marshall. “These tans are becoming part of a sensible skincare routine rather than vanity,” she adds.
Quinn, for one, is proud of her fake-it status. “It shows I take care of my skin,” she says, and she’s not alone—high-profile skin experts are also partaking. “I’m a big fan of spray tans,” says Tina Alster, clinical professor of dermatology at Georgetown University Medical Center. Her go-to place? “It has to be Glow Salon in Georgetown (1334 Wisconsin Ave. NW, 202-338- 4569),” she says. “I’m always telling patients who are insistent on having a tan to make the switch to fake tans and bronzers.”
Over at Nectar Skin Bar—which offers half-hour airbrush tans at $55 each—there has been a five-fold increase in bookings. Manager Melissa Nist believes one reason is that salon treatments have moved up a notch. “We use an organic brand from California called Chocolate Sun, which allows us to mix from a palette of colors to create everything from a light base tan to a seven-days-at-the-beach color.”
But most clients seem to like just a hint of faux-sun glow. “We’re not in Orange County—we don’t want to look like Oompa Loompas,” Quinn quips. Lovallo seconds this: “No one wants to look like they’ve just gotten off the plane from Jamaica; it’s about looking healthy and well rested. A tan is the best shortcut to masking a lack of sleep that I know of, which is probably why at least 20 percent of my customers are politicians.”
DC’s faking-it aficionados are also enlisting the help of a host of products that complement their newly bronzed bodies. Space NK founder Nicky Kinnaird says the best products at her Tysons Corner store (703-556-4569) are the Life NK Japanese Wash Cloths—“an easy, no-mess exfoliating treatment that will help to remove dead skin cells and provide a more even tan”—and NIA24 Sun Damage Prevention 100% Mineral Sunscreen. “Remember, a fake tan doesn’t protect you against sunburn,” she explains.
The better you prep, the better your tan will look, advises Lovallo. “I recommend a nongreasy scrub like DermaDoctor KP Duty Body Scrub,” which promotes even coverage and lengthens the duration of your tan by removing dead skin cells. “Afterward no bikram yoga, shaving, or exfoliating for 24 hours, and make sure you moisturize twice daily. Then you will truly be one of Washington’s bronzed and beautiful.”
Celebrating the White House Correspondents’ Association’s annual dinner at Carnegie Library.