Three years ago, after reading one too many copies of Cosmo, I decided to go and get one of those full-body spray-on tans one day before the King William Fair.
The chipper 18-year old girl at the CausticTan made it sound so easy. Turn around several times in the tan booth, rub the excess into your skin, and allow the tan to develop over the next three to four hours.
First of all, the tan booth smelled like toe-fungus goulash. Also, I swallowed some of the spray tan, which turned my gums a glorious golden brown.
I was so pleased with the general results in the streaky mirror of the booth that I completely forgot about the four-hour developing time. What first appeared as a healthy blush later looked as though I was wearing the lifeless pelt of Sesame Street’s Ernie.
And that, my friends, was the last time I attempted to do something unnatural with my skin. The worst part is, I didn’t even stand out at the King William Fair the next day. Two weeks of constant Fiesta partying can do some freaky things to human skin, and there was plenty of party damage in evidence that day.
So, how do you avoid looking like Nosferatu’s cousin the one time of the year when you are assured to run into everyone you have ever known since birth?
This year, I want everyone I know to survive Fiesta with the skin they went in wearing, so I called my friend Nichole Nanka-Bruce, the aesthetician for Diamond Kut Salon, for a little advice.
“My recipe is pretty basic,” said Nanka-Bruce. “Use a sunscreen of 30 SPF minimum, wear a hat and loose, long-sleeved clothes, and alternate every beer with a big bottle of water. And `wear` sunglasses. Take off your makeup before bed, and get plenty of rest.”
Nanka-Bruce reminded me that sunscreen isn’t just for standing around near loud music venues once a year — people need to remember to wear sunscreen every day.
“People think if they are in a car, they aren’t getting sun, or if they’re wearing clothes, they’re protected. Ninety-five percent of skin cancer is caused by sun exposure, which happens any time you step outside your house.”
Same goes for you with naturally darker skin, she adds.
Waleska Agosto, co-owner of Gourmet Body Treats in Schertz, has her own post-party recipe that she recommends to her skin-focused customers: “Your body is amazing. It will heal itself if you treat it well. After a big night, blend some fresh fruit — grapes, strawberries — and slather it on your skin for a natural anti-oxidizing mask.”
Agosto also uses egg whites to tighten the under-eye area, which can suffer the effects of tasty, tasty alcohol. Save the yolks for your hair, she suggests, for a protein-rich wash in cold water, which you’ll need after sun exposure and chronic blow-dryer use.
As for my own skin, I am as translucent as one of those invisible man toys, and any dastardly behavior shows up on my skin right away, so I don’t do anything that might remotely be construed as fun. If you’re looking for me at King William, scan the crowd for the biggest hat on the shortest, palest person. The only tinted thing you’ll see on my person is a fruit cup. Come and find me. Maybe we can count sunburns together. •
Buy Buy Love
The latest sunscreen product to pass FDA requirements is a compound called Mexoryl. You can find it in higher-end sunscreens, and it has been popular in Europe for more than a decade. Most sunscreens only protect from UV-B (B for burning, as Nanka-Bruce calls it), but sunscreens containing Mexoryl also protect you from UV-A rays (A for aging, says Nanka-Bruce).
Prep your skin for any event with LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics, the international organic and natural beauty-product phenomenon. Most products range from $12-$25. Located inside Macy’s at North Star Mall. (210) 308-5874, lushusa.com
This Schertz-based company covers all the necessary body basics, from moisturizers to shampoos, while remaining organic, upbeat, and helpful. And they carry a full line of vegan cosmetics! Whooooo! (210) 659-7992, gbtorganicspa.com or
Diamond Kut Salon
Nichole Nanka-Bruce, aesthetician, is Diamond Kut’s newest addition, and she is offering $10 off your first facial as a new customer. Diamond Kut is my favorite place in town to bliss out and get my hair and nails done — because I’m picky and they are talented. One of SA’s best-kept secrets. 2922 Hillcrest, (210) 735-1684, by appointment only