Mirra Guide to Sunless Tanning: I Don’t Need No Man, I Need Tequila and A Tan
Everyone has a mantra that guides their life. Whether it’s “don’t judge a book by its cover,” “treat others how you want to be treated,” or “mo’ money mo’ problems,” mantras are a key ingredient for every individual’s spirit. What is mine, you ask?
“If you can’t tone it, tan it.”
I went to a tanning bed for the first time when I was fourteen. I didn’t have my driver’s license, yet, so my friend and I WALKED to a tanning salon near my childhood home in St. Louis, Missouri. We lied about our ages (I believe you had to be 16 to tan) and signed the releases. Our nervous giggles did not tip off the stoned receptionist, who proceeded to lazily describe the products and services from which we’d be choosing. What an exciting way to spend an afternoon (in Missouri)!
I chose a bed and donned my goggles, climbing in and shutting the lid suspiciously. Within about ten minutes, the bed turned off, and I emerged from my UV coffin. I felt lethargic, sticky, hot, and a little nauseous. But, when I moved to grab my clothing, I noticed that I had achieved a complexion that usually required hours of sun exposure. I exited the room and found my friend in the lobby, red as a beet. I shrugged. Life is tough; we can’t all be UV queens.
Throughout high school, I tanned periodically, always achieving amazing results. Yes, my parents often wondered why I would leave the house looking normal, yet arrive home with a shimmering Cleopatra glow and a pep in my step. I just informed them that my fellow cheerleaders and I had gone spray tanning, duh. Since spray tanning was a popular pastime among the Midwest middle-aged, they did not bat an eyelash.
Yes, I knew tanning in UV beds was, and is, terrible. Yes, I had read that article in Seventeen about the girl who woke up with melanoma, like, the day after tanning in a UV bed. And yes, I did see THAT scene in Final Destination. But the results were so reliable and consistent! And, after all, it’s better to show up to a pep rally late than pale.
When I moved to Northern California for college, my need for a tanning bed diminished. I was able to harness the natural tanning power of the sun – the REAL sun – whenever I wanted! But, to my dismay, I failed to achieve a comparably glorious glow by sitting in the sun for ten minutes. When I brought up the prospect of revisiting my old friends, the tanning beds, to my sorority sisters, I was met with extreme shade (no pun intended). But, since it was a sorority house, the shade was (thankfully) accompanied by twenty different recommendations for sunless tanners.
Ladies and gentlemen, in the spirit of Mirra realness, I will be providing you with a guide on how to tan sunless-ly and safely. With these eco-friendly, organic, non-toxic products in your back pocket, you don’t have to spend hours in the sun to throw shade.
Organic spray tans
This is for those of you who’d rather have a machine or a technician spray your crevices with tanning formula than apply it yourself. Organic spray tanning is seriously the answer to my prayers. Not only does it contain ingredients that actually bind moisture into the skin, it actually repairs skin cells that have been damaged by the sun. On top of that, many organic spray tan solutions actually diminish wrinkles and rashes, while camouflaging dry skin spots and irritation.
You know how, after getting a spray tan, you’re required to sit in smelly solution for 6 to 500 hours before showering? It’s like, why did I spend $30 only to be tortured by my own odor and forced to avoid human contact for half a day? Well, during that dreaded purgatory, traditional spray tan solutions sit on your skin, drying it out and actually depositing unwanted synthetic colors, alcohols, perfumes, oils, and parabens. Some even contain (gasp!) lead, mercury, or arsenic. WUT.
This is NAWT how organic spray tans function. Organic spray tans actually include aloe and vitamins that nourish your skin while you wait for your tan to develop. They even contain beneficial vitamins and antioxidants that prevent aging, so you can fight those wrinkles and fine lines WHILE getting a summer glow. And, to our delight, they do NOT release that chemical smell that makes you question why you even got sprayed in the first place. Huzzah!
Can organic spray tans get ANY better? Yes, child, they can. Organic spray tans are also kind to the environment, lacking any animal derivatives, fertilizers, GMOs or synthetic chemicals. Many even come in eco-friendly packaging. Are you living, yet?
I know, I know, I sound like the holier-than-thou sorority girls that shaded me a few paragraphs ago. But, seriously, why would you ever use a tanning bed or toxic spray tan solution when you can trust an organic (read: magic) spray tan?
If you can’t make it to the salon, or you don’t want to shell out a month’s rent for a spray tan, we’ve got you. Below is a list of certified nontoxic, organic, cruelty-free self-tanner brands that work just as well. You’re welcome!
Suntegrity was founded to provide a healthy alternative to sun-protection products that contain chemical UV blockers and toxic ingredients. Suntegrity products provide broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection and contain super anti-oxidants and amino acids, which repair skin. Suntegrity also uses nontoxic preservatives. Yas! Their golden bronze shimmer serum is infused with antioxidants & organic extracts to help skin stay supple, in addition to leaving your skin with a luminous, sun-kissed glow.
Created by celebrity makeup artist Bethany Karlyn, Prtty Peaushun uses natural ingredients and their products are vegan, gluten-free, fragrance-free, paraben-free, and nontoxic. Plus, the name is super cute.
Their Skin Tight body lotion contains "subtle light-reflecting particles in a natural emollient base [that] give the skin a gorgeous, flattering glow."
This line is “tested on French girls, never on animals” (love it). Oh, and it’s also vegan, organic, and cruelty-free. J’adore! We love their Lumière bronzing body oil for a sun-kissed glow.
Herbivore Botanicals, which was co-founded in 2011 by an ADORABLE husband and wife out of their ADORABLE Seattle kitchen (goals), created a line of products that are nontoxic, cruelty-free, ethically-sourced and organic. Beat THAT. Although they don't specifically have any tanning products, their Coco Rose Body Polish is the perfect exfoliating scrub to wash away dead skin before your spray tanning appointment.
Remember, my children – if you can’t tone it, organic spray tan it.