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Why fake is sometimes OK

Posted: April 1, 2014 9:01 a.m.
Updated: April 2, 2014 5:00 a.m.

When it comes to tanning, fake is OK with me. Wait, let me clarify, fake in the sense of spray tan or self-tanners, not tanning bed fake. I think one realization I’ve come to over the years is that skin care is absolutely essential as I grow older. This includes moisturizing daily and always wearing sunscreen.

As a child, I used to hate those times on the beach when my mom or grandma would pull us all out of the ocean and make us reapply our sunscreen. We’d have to sit on our towels and let it “soak in” for 30 minutes, staring longingly out at the sea. Today, I’m thankful for their foresight and for the various layers of sunscreen piled upon my skin.

Nowadays, I find more joy in a day at the beach than in almost anything else in the world. The beach is my Zen place, my haven, my destination. I could drowse in my lounge chair for hours and hours on end with the soothing sounds of the ocean lulling me into an extended stupor. I wish I were there now. I wish I were there always.

The reason I can enjoy the beach so much is because I rarely allow myself to get a sunburn. Since the creation of spray-on 30-plus sun block, my life has been really simplified. It’s actually kind of fun to reapply.

However, we can’t always have a perfect, beach baby tan all the time (nor should we.) Recently, I remembered why I love products like self-tanners so much. As I’ve mentioned, I was recently in a wedding as maid of honor. It was a very stressful role and that stress didn’t include stress for preparing a tan. In fact, I didn’t even think about tanning, until about a week before when accompanying the bride to her bridal photos.

She had a very dark tan which she’d gotten from time spent in a tanning bed. While I cringed at the thought of lying in a tanning bed, I also had to admit … the tan looked good. I began to worry. I was white as a sheet of copier paper at that point.

Still, I didn’t do anything about it. Not until the night of the rehearsal dinner when I realized all the bridesmaids were more tanned than me. OK, so the bridal party will look like five girls who spent their winter on the beaches of Cancun and one Casper the friendly ghost. Not to mention, I was the only brunette in the party which also accentuates the paleness.

When I got home, I dug through my cosmetics until I found my self-tanner and you better believe I made no waste applying that goodness. When I woke up in the morning I was slightly darker than the night before, which is good because spray tanner darkens you over a process of several days.

I didn’t have that kind of time anymore. I needed immediate results fast. Luckily, I was at my mom’s house and she recently competed in (and won!) Dancing with the Stars of Lee County. She had a can of some very high-powered instant tanner. I’m going to share the name now for all of those women out there who have to be in weddings, pageants, dancing competitions, etc., and don’t have the time or desire to fake bake -- Sally Hansen Leg Makeup. That stuff is legit.

I went from white to bronze instantly. I was amazed and thrilled! The best part is it lasts all day, until you take a shower and then it rinses right off. I have to say, it was much better to go through the wedding day, especially the photo part of it with a little help from my (fake tanner) friends.

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