Beauty

girls on a beach

Ask Jean: The Best, Safest Tan
(Vacation Edition)

Jean

We want to answer your most pressing questions—or, you know, just the things that you’re curious about. Please keep them coming to: [email protected]. Below,
a q for our beauty director, Jean Godfrey-June.

We want to answer your most pressing questions—or, you know, just the things that you’re curious about. Please keep them coming to: [email protected]. Below, a q for our beauty director, Jean Godfrey-June.

Dear Jean, I got a spray tan before I flew to a weekend wedding in Belize.
It looked great until I went for a long run on the beach, barefoot: The sand rubbed away the color on my feet! And then when I swam in the hotel pool, the tan faded further. I hate to check a bag for such a short trip. Do any brands make travel-size self-tanner? —Deena T.

Dear Jean, I got a spray tan before I flew to a weekend wedding in Belize. It looked great until I went for a long run on the beach, barefoot: The sand rubbed away the color on my feet! And then when I swam in the hotel pool, the tan faded further. I hate to check a bag for such a short trip. Do any brands make travel-size self-tanner? —Deena T.

Dear Deena, Until this summer, I checked a bag no matter how short the trip—precisely because of this issue.

When do I most want a bit of a tan? On vacation. On vacation (a balmy one, in any case), I want to not be tempted to go SPF-less in order to fit in with all the other non-blotchy-pale vacationers. I want to feel sleek and glowy in my bathing suit the minute I get there, and I want to stay that way at least until the plane ride back. Because on vacation is where a person is most likely to encounter chlorine (which seriously shortens the life of any self-tan) and sand (which completely erases it, full stop), you’ve got to bring backup. Yet most self-tanner comes in full-size, TSA-unfriendly bottles or tubes.

So the news that clean, nontoxic tanning cloths actually existed was wildly intriguing to me. That they came from the all-time-greatest self-tanning company, Vita Liberata, which makes the better-than-anything Invisi Foaming Tan Water was even more so.

I brought them on a beach weekend to Long Island—no TSA problems to surmount, but truly the two packets weighed less than a lip balm in my bag and spacewise added virtually nothing. I brought two because it seemed impossible that one cloth could do the job—and, of course, I needed backup. Sand! Chlorine! Salt water!

I had a bit of a tan already, from the Tan Water. The first evening, I accentuated said tan with the new GOOPGLOW Body Luminizer, threw on a strappy dress, and felt glowily beachy all night. The evening ended with some takeout lobster rolls eaten on Egypt Beach, taking in the impossible enormity that is the full moon on the tip of Long Island in summer.

By day two, after a long walk and a swim at the beach (lots of SPF 50) and a long dip in the pool, I had the ankle-cutoff farmer’s tan of a professional tennis player, and the overall tan had faded some. So right before bed, I opened up a packet and smoothed the cloth on all over, including my face.

It took literally a few seconds to do, and one cloth was, surprisingly, enough. I dotted my ankles and toes with a bit of Goe Oil, my ultimate vacation moisturizer, to blend the tanner perfectly. It dried almost as fast as it went on, so I went straight to bed, very happily not marinating in self-tanner smell—I don’t know how the Vita Liberata people do it, but they achieve both the best and the most scentless color—and instead luxuriating in the faint scent of monoi (gardenia and coconut) from the Goe.

I woke up with a great, even, subtle but glowing tan, all over. From a single cloth! The tan lasted well into the following week; someone at work asked me if I’d been away for the weekend: “You look so rested.” For some reason, a subtle tan reads as rested to most people—and I, for one, am more than happy with that. And while I’m still devoted to the Tan Water when I’m at home, my packing strategy (and relationship with the TSA) is officially forever changed.

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