To Spray Tan or Not?

Two of our style staffers square off on the seasonal ritual

Spray It!
Here’s the thing about getting sprayed (well, the first thing, at least): A tan makes you look and feel thinner. I’d quote various experts here, but I don’t have the room, and you know it’s true, anyway. A tan hides imperfections the same way your go-to LBD magically erases your love handles and accentuates the awesomeness you do have—especially if your sprayer knows what she’s doing and does you some favors with muscle contouring. It’s safe. It’s also instant. If, all of a sudden, a special event or vacation pops up and you haven’t exactly been counting calories, less than a minute in the booth can do the same thing visually as depriving yourself of pizza, beer and chocolate for three weeks. It’s not about reaching a certain look: It’s about reaching a certain feeling—about yourself—and if you can do that with the aid of a little stinky DHA, then so be it. You go, girl. —C.D.

Don’t Spray It!
Decades ago, white people began tanning. Once a sign its bearer worked outdoors, toasted skin came to symbolize just the opposite: that you didn’t work and instead lazed at a beach, pool, country club, etc. Today, although everyone knows a tan causes early-onset unsightliness and the deadliest of cancers, people still want to look tan, because they think tan looks thinner, richer, better. So they fake tans. They apply bronzer. They stand naked while strangers spray chemicals on them. But here’s the thing: A fake tanner never looks tan. Never, ever, ever. No matter how expert the application, imitation pigmentation always appears, in a word, off, or, in another word, orange. (See also “Loompa, Oompa.” Or “Housewife, Real.”) Fake tans are like faux fur or electric cigarettes: They look ridiculous—and their premise is wack to begin with. White people. Pale faces. Accept it. Pale is the new tan. —L.M.

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