Since the emergence of Jersey Shore's Snooki, people have started to give an even more critical eye to tanning than in years before. And as summer nestles into its groove, it has me wondering if the beaches will all of a sudden go barren with droves of leery ladies hiding under the nearest canopy in fear of a great orange uprising.
And to the dismay of dermatologists everywhere, sun-kissed golden glows are still reigning supreme. And take it from a girl who's already brown without a ray of sun—I'm looking to take my toffee hue to new mahogany heights. This summer promises to prove "chocolate" is the new tan!
Yup, you read correctly. I'm a sista blessed with naturally tan skin and I, like legions of other women of color, await the first beach-friendly day of summer for my chance to lay out and safely roast my glow to a deeper chocolatey brown.
Not sure what sparked this seasonal obsession—perhaps the lovely contrast white sand makes sprinkled over a burnt sienna baby toe? That's neither here nor there, but I embrace it—safely!
When it comes to African-American skin, we've all heard "black don't crack," but I'll leave that to represent the lining of my high-priced Teflon cookware and not my face. Sistas, as all women, must be careful to protect our skin from the sun while seeking that darker tone. Smearing oil all over your body and laying in the sun does nothing more than solve the mystery of what a slice of bacon might feel like. Trust me! SPF is essential and can be found in most tanning products.
Aside from sun-blocking, I've also found that having a trusty "browning buddy" is key. The sun can be one of nature's great sedatives and tanning with a friend can help you avoid nodding off and taking in too much sun exposure. Besides, who else will re-fasten your bikini top and be sure the waiter refills your cocktail while you're face down in an Us Weekly avoiding those tacky tan lines?
Times a-wasting! Grab a girlfriend and a get your calorie-free "chocolate" on. Happy tanning, Beauties!
Dre Brown's favorite 3 Sunscreens
1Neutrogena Fresh Cooling Body Mist Sunblock SPF 45
Very light and effective while still allowing for a nice toasting.
2 Ambi Even & Clear Daily Moisturizer SPF 30
Made for women of color and great for balancing the skin tone. I mix a little with a loose bronzing powder for a quick all over glow that's light for Summer.
3 Alba Botanica Coconut Dry Oil SPF 15
A great way to get golden and stay supple with natural coconut oil (bonus: you'll smell like a delicious tropical dessert!).
Driven to infuse each encounter with joy-inducing laughter, Dre Brown seeks to offer those she reaches both something for the eye and for the soul. Based out of New York City, Dre splits her time between makeup artistry, hair styling, strategic marketing, writing and entrepreneurship. Follow her exploits on her blog: a Dre in The Life and her Beautylish series "Confessions of a Nouveau Natural Woman"