Manolo for the Big Girl Fashion, Lifestyle, and Humor for the Plus Sized Woman.

April 18, 2008

You Asked For It: No-UV Tanning?

Filed under: Makeup,Swimwear,Uncategorized,You Asked For It — Francesca @ 9:16 am

Internet friend Jennifer wrote:

I was wondering if any of your readers had any experience with using Mystic Tan as a big girl.  Regular tanning beds work fine, but for those of us that want a little color without the damaging UV rays I was wondering if there was any advice.

Francesca had never heard of Mystic Tan before receiving this letter, and she is of two minds about it.

As the ultra-fair girl in a high risk category for the unsuperfantastic skin cancer, Francesca is quite intrigued by the possibility of an even, non-UV tan.

On the other hand, Francesca thinks it is somewhat ridiculous that tans are considered, somehow, more attractive than the clean, soft, untanned skin.  Why should those of us whose skin burns like sweet-potato french fries be pressured to have anything other than the creamy, porcelain skin we were born with?

On the third hand, if you want a tan, who is Francesca to stop you?

So, if you have any experience with this Mystic Tan establishment, please share your thoughts.

And, Francesca wants to know: Is a girl with a tummy roll meant to lift it for the spray? Or does she tan on the outside and have a white line under the tummy? Inquiring minds want to know.


  1. The Anastasia has also always wondered why it is considered to be more natural and healthy to tan than to keep the natural porcelain skin color she has. (Which after some tanning turns a slightly bisque shade of beige. Which is not noticed by anyone.)

    So mystic tan is some kind of fake bake? Than of course you should use a peeling first and lift your rolls, unless you want to look like a zebra.

    Comment by Anastasia — April 18, 2008 @ 12:01 pm

  2. I have tried Mystic Tan, trust me, do not put yourself thru this horrible procedure. You have lines on your feet, it will crust up in any crack or roll and it’s a bitch to maintain! I have found Lancome Bronzing products to be superfantastic! They don’t have that horrible smell most bronzers have and it goes on without streaking or an orange effect. It is an expensive product but if you are willing to pay for Mystic, the best advice i can offer is go to the Lancome counter girlfriend!

    Comment by jen — April 18, 2008 @ 12:14 pm

  3. I’ve always wondered why people with light skin think tan skin is better–after a while it starts to look a little crispy.

    Plus, there’s the whole inconvenience of burning. And getting skin cancer (especially when my family has a pretty solid history of it.)

    Comment by Jessica — April 18, 2008 @ 12:51 pm

  4. I used it for a one-of, mid-winter get-away vacation, and it worked very well. It is expensive, but it lasted the week while I was away and let me feel less self-conscious in my swimsuit as it covers a lot of skin imperfections and makes cellulite less noticable. And as jen says, you do run the risk of lined feet, but I found that this was preventable by 1.) wearing the little disposible booties provided (this is an on-going problem) and 2.) rubbing off any solution that gets on your feet immediately after leaving the spray. I also rubbed off most of the solution from my elbows and knees (they will stain darker if you’re not careful). And it should be noted that the result is not jaw-dropping in one use; I looked like I had a fairly natural mild tan, and so I was satisfied in using it only the once.

    Long and short: I’m typically quite happy being naturally, blindingly pale, but would use Mystic Tan again if I were going on another tropical vacay.

    Comment by Loey — April 18, 2008 @ 12:59 pm

  5. I have never used Mystic Tan and therefore cannot address the first question. On women who have beautiful porcelain skin I agree that the tan is not always an improvement and often the opposite. But for those of us not blessed with clear porcelain skin and have rather been given biscuit-colored, acne-prone, spotty skin with a slight green tinge, a moderate tan can give a nice healthy glow. And clear up the acne. Plus it is what happens naturally when in one’s preferred environment of the outdoors, rather than cooped up at one’s workplace. Even when wearing appropriate sunblock.

    Comment by Marvel — April 18, 2008 @ 1:30 pm

  6. I had a friend who used to do it religiously, and it can give a very nice, deep, natural-looking tan with the second application. You need to exfoliate and moisturize well the night before, though. Patchy is not pretty.

    MysticTan tempts me every summer. It takes me about three weeks of careful, regular exposure to turn from alabaster to a gorgeous olive. It was enough work when I was a teenager and had nothing to do but spend every afternoon at the lake with my friends. Like Loey, I’d do it if I were going on a tropical holiday but not all the time.

    Comment by Sara — April 18, 2008 @ 1:33 pm

  7. My experience with Mystic Tan was nothing short of tangerine-tinged tragic. First, it smells. All fake-bake that dyes the skin smells because the sour smell (to me it smells like sour blood and dirt) is part of the chemical reaction. You may not notice it as much as I do, but not only can I smell it on me, I can smell it on other people.

    Also, there is the Orange Factor. I’m sure, theortically, there are Mystic Tans that don’t turn your skin starlet orange but this fair girl hasn’t met one.

    If things have changed, please let the rest of us know!

    Comment by Plumcake — April 18, 2008 @ 2:18 pm

  8. I did it for a wedding once. It was fine. I didn’t have any problems. Just be cautious of any areas that you may have rolls or creases. If you can stretch in a way that smooths them out it might be helpful.

    Comment by Alyson — April 18, 2008 @ 2:50 pm

  9. I tried Mystic Tan for the first time about two weeks ago. It gave me a fairly nice-looking tan with the exception of some streaking on my legs and dark orange toes. I forgot to check under my belly. It is just the same as the tan that comes in a bottle, only it’s sprayed on in a fine mist.

    However, I HATED the mist. I hated being trapped in a booth full of spraying mist and feeling like I couldn’t breathe. Supposedly it’s nontoxic but I am still paranoid about breathing in weird chemicals. The whole experience was a bit traumatic for me. I won’t be doing it again.

    Comment by Patia — April 18, 2008 @ 3:21 pm

  10. After falling for all of the false promises from cosmetic companies like E**** L*****, C******, A****, etc… I am resigned to the fact that any tanning product will turn me into an Oompa Loompa. A lovely adobe/burnt orange color. I will live with my sun damaged/fish belly white skin unless I decide to broil myself in a cooking bed or under the blessed warmth of Sol…

    Comment by Jennie — April 18, 2008 @ 11:09 pm

  11. I have never tried Mystic Tan, every summer I think about it though. I have tried spray tans before though. The color I get is a lovely golden tan, no streaks, no orange. Here’s the issue I have though:

    I am a mix of Norwegian, Irish, Scottish, German and American Indian. I have blond hair, green eyes and when untanned, pale skin. I’m not blinding white, but definitely pale. I can, however tan. In fact I tan very very well. When I was 19 I went to a tanning bed 3 times a week for 3 months. I was scared I would turn that weird orange color some of my friends turn when they go to the tanning bed, I made my mother tell me if I started to get a hint of orange. Never happened. Instead my skin started to match my cousin’s, and she is of mixed race (white/black). My mother said you could see my eyes glowing from across the room. The color was rather pretty (a brownish black), and my legs looked awesome (couldn’t see any of my cellulite or scars). I ended up stopping since I know tanning beds are bad and they are expensive. Now I only occasionally lay out (I use sunscreen of course).

    I would love to use spray tans, but they are always the wrong color. I need one that turns me a nice “cool” brown, not a “warm” golden brown, which just looks wrong on me. Anyone have this problem and/or uses something that gives them the right color?

    Comment by Jeni — April 19, 2008 @ 1:16 am

  12. Big Hat.

    Like the Rene Russo’s in the fabulous remake of The Thomas Crown Affair (with the luscious Pierce Brosnan).

    SPF 60.

    That is all.

    Comment by littlem — April 19, 2008 @ 4:17 am

  13. I am naturally quite milky white. Generally I’m content to leave myself this way – I live in Brooklyn, not Miami Beach. However, when I was in my sister’s summer wedding a few years ago, I was concerned that my blindingly white skin would not photograph well. So I went to Mystic Tan. I had a pretty good experience. It’s important to listen carefully to the directions that they give – i.e. to wear the booties, and to put the special cream on elbows, knees, and hands. These are areas that tend to absorb color unevenly and can end of streaky. The whole experience is a bit surreal – you go naked with booties and special little goggles into a little booth. When I was done, I was a a bisque color rather than alabaster. However, one of the bridesmaids wanted a more dramatic change and had it done a few times, and wound up a lovely light brown color.

    Comment by Kate — April 19, 2008 @ 10:39 am

  14. A friend of mine tried Mystic Tan before a Dominican Republic vacay, and she loved it, though she had problems with it being a little darker in some areas (she has dry skin, and thinks this was to blame). She’s also stick-thin, so she didn’t have any rolls to worry about.

    When it comes to self-tanner, I prefer the Jergens brand of self-tanning moisturizer. It works pretty well if you use it regularly (for me, every day for a week or so), but it smells. It has a “honeysuckle” scent, but it really smells like self-tanner with a hint of sweetness – not pretty. I usually put it on at night, and wear old pajamas.

    However, the Jergens ritual is a winter thing. Once April and the warm weather hit (like it finally has here on the East Coast), I’m all about the tanning beds. I like the stand-up booths; they’re very comfortable and I don’t feel claustrophobic in them. My mom hates it, as she has very pale skin and has had a few pre-cancerous moles removed, but I love it. I don’t go to get orangey-dark, but I like having a little color, and I tan very easily and very well. A few 6-8 min sessions is all I need for a tan summer. I go a couple times a week for a couple weeks to get started, and then it’s about once every two weeks to maintain it.

    It’s weird though, as I have no problem going in the tanning beds, but when I’m outside, I slather myself with sunscreen. Hmm.

    Comment by Jenna — April 19, 2008 @ 12:59 pm

  15. I don’t get it. Why bother with this spray-on stuff when there are so many self-tanners on the market? There are even gradual tanners that help you avoid “missed spots”.

    Comment by Gauss — April 19, 2008 @ 10:24 pm

  16. I have used Mystic tan in the past and don’t care for it. (Two words: cheeto fingers) I am a gardener, so I usually have a pretty healthy glow, not too dark, on my shoulders, arms and face. The only thing I really worry about is my legs, which are glaringly white! I mean really, really kick-ass Irish ass white. I don’t want super dark, just take the edge off, please! I have found for just a little color, the gradual tanners like Jergens or Neutrogena work the best. Not too much, just enough.

    Comment by Eilish — April 20, 2008 @ 2:15 am

  17. White and proud! What’s the point of attempting to turn one’s self into somebody else?

    Comment by Melissa — April 21, 2008 @ 9:37 am

  18. As someone who’s been described as having skin color like skim milk – “wow, you’re practically transparent!” – I’ve mystic tanned a few times. Though I have one left me more kraft dinner-y than as though I’d just gotten back from Tahiti, I did have a one really good one. The best experience was going to a place that came highly recommended (most important!!!) from a number of people. I opted to have one of the mystic ‘technicians’ spray me with the dye, rather than hope for the best with the booth. This prevented streaking, splotching, and kept the dye away from elbows & other areas that take on too much color.

    Also, the reason for mystic tanning was that I was going to be in pictures (my brother’s wedding) and being that pale never photographs well for me.

    Comment by lizb — April 21, 2008 @ 3:26 pm

  19. If you have any STRETCH MARKS or scars, mystic tan or the storebought tanners don’t really work. I’ve tried them both, and my skin turns a nice shade, but my stretch marks and scars stayed nice and white. It was NOT a good look. On another sun related note, my stretch marks tend to sunburn, even if my regular skin does not. It’s like they can’t absorb the products, whether it’s SPF or a tan in a bottle.

    Comment by averywhitegirl — April 21, 2008 @ 7:52 pm

  20. I did the Mystic Tan thing once, to please a boyfriend who thought I was too pale. (And by too pale I mean I’m nicknamed ‘Powder’ and I glow under black light… no joke really) it didn’t work out so well, it was kind of a cheap brozen/orange color on my skin =\

    Well I’ll say this for the whole “tan is beautiful” thing… white is beautiful too. A hell of a lot more beautiful then skin cancer scars. They’re not small I promise you about 6 inches long and they don’t heal nicely, plus where ever they need to cut to test lymphnoids. And the odd circle the “drain” leaves… not to mention the pain of surgery and the new treatments for early stage skin cancer is not fun (it’s like the worst stomach bug EVER for about a month straight, but atleast you don’t lose your hair) In short: Please think about what you’re doing to your skin I’ll save spouting off all the statics, but skin cancer is very common and not fun. Please take it from someone who knows

    Comment by Erin — April 22, 2008 @ 2:02 pm

  21. My heritage, hair & eyes are just like Jeni 1:16, but I have warm (yellow) undertones. I also tan very well, but the doc says it’s not a good idea anymore with my sunburn record, so spf 45 everyday it is. I’ve been using the Neutrogena gradual sunless tanning lotion stuff on my legs, arms, neck, and shoulders every few days for several weeks now and have gotten a nice slightly darker color that pleases me. I’ve been using the lightest color and think I’ll stick with that throughout the summer. I’m fine with being on the pale side. Anyone found a nice sunless tanner for the face?

    Comment by Lori C. — April 23, 2008 @ 11:20 am

  22. Politics and opinions aside…

    I’ve actually spray tanned paying customers. I even had a certificate to say I could do it at some point.

    You lift the roll: if you’d tanned naturally that area would still be mildly tanned, so it doesn’t look too unrealistic. Be aware that if you’re going home on a hot day after the tan, and sweating is likely, that the area under the roll may come out strangely much like any other area that will sweat.

    Go for a formula that contains a green pigment to avoid the orangeness.

    Oh, and I love my porcelain skin, and wouldn’t change it for the world: but much like others dye their hair and I do not, others will tan (and look damn good).

    Comment by leymoo — April 23, 2008 @ 12:28 pm

  23. I am another one of those semi-transparent types. I love my clown-white self, but at the beach it’s nice to have a little color. I’ve tried the fake-bake out of a bottle, and it looked fantastic and smelled horrible for two days until my body decided that the stained skin was an enemy invader. My skin pretty much sloughed off, I got shot full of cortisone, and my dermatologist brought in colleagues to take a look at me. So, if you have sensitive skin, you might want to be careful of the Mystic Tan, and don’t try it for the first time before a wedding or vacation.

    If anyone has recommendations for bronzers that don’t actually stain your skin, but are reliably waterproof, I’d love to hear it!

    Comment by Tachina — April 23, 2008 @ 12:39 pm

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