Counter Confidential: The Green Queen

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Counter Confidential

"The Green Queen" by Undercover Beauty Agent

Who doesn’t love a gorgeous, sun-kissed glow? But a year-round bronze is hard to achieve unless you live on an island—and Manhattan doesn’t count! Spray tans are a safe way to achieve a healthy boost of color without the messiness of creams or oils. But even with the advances in fake bake technology, less is always more. Recently, a client of mine learned this lesson the hard way.

My client decided she was done with liquid bronzers for good, and stopped by my counter to return a few. “I’m getting a spray tan,” she eagerly whispered to me. It was her first one, and I happily congratulated her on the big beauty step. I even raved how I preferred spray tans because they looked more natural. My opinion quickly changed when I saw her three weeks later.

At first glance, she looked normal. Yet the more I watched her, I realized her skin had a green tint to it! Her legs had flaky patches the color of seaweed! Her verdant complexion looked sickly—I couldn’t help but ask if she was feeling well. She shakily laughed it off and quickly recapped her spray tanning experience. Long story, short: The salon applied too much tanner, and her already golden skin did not take well to massive amounts of bronzer. Like patina on rust, the tanning chemicals turned green on her skin. I could tell she was trying to hold back tears as she told me the story.

I immediately recommended lemon juice slough off the artificial skin. That was really all I could do at the counter, but I did mention that she should go back to a self-tanner. She agreed. The moral of this jaded experience? Experiment with caution. Don’t be afraid to try out new things, but stick to beauty solutions that work for you. You can always go back to something you love, rather than trying to like something you hate.

And if you’re not a professional spray tan junkie, try these fantastic sunless tanners:

1. Tan Towel Full Body Classic Towelettes ($24)

Streak-free, odor-free, and mess-free. This 3-in-1 tanner exfoliates, moisturizes, and tans in one towelette. It’s perfect for on-the-go gals, or if you don’t really have time to apply liquids.

2.Bliss Tan for All Seasons ($36)

Yes, it’s a spray tan. But unlike a professional spray tan, you can try this at-home alternative in the comfort of your own bathroom. This tanner instantly gives a sheer golden bronze and dries in five minutes. You won't turn green, we promise!

3. Alba Botanica Natural Very Emollient Sunless Tanner ($11)

An affordable and fast-absorbing option, this eco-friendly alternative is also filled with vitamins to ensure healthy, hydrated skin.

Undercover Beauty Agent is just an average makeup artist at your local beauty counter who's reporting true stories exclusively for Beautylish: "I love what I do because I get to make people feel beautiful on a daily basis. I'm a beauty advisor in New York City by day and a secret beauty agent by night, totally ready to share all my insider secrets and gossip."