Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Tan in a can

One of my lifelong addictions has been sun exposure. Drugs, alcohol and cigarettes never had much allure, but I’ve always loved to sit in the sun. No matter how much I read about skin cancer and melanoma and wrinkles, I still think I look better with freckled cheeks and tanned legs.

I admit, I’ve come a long way from my high school days, when I used to slather on a thick coating of baby oil before laying out in the sun for hours. (A co-worker of mine when I was working for Zellers as a cashier actually ended up hospitalized when she used vegetable oil instead of baby oil. Yikes!)

Reading the whole Saturday paper cover to cover while sitting on my porch swing in the full sun with a regular flow of coffee is one of the few things I really miss about my childless days.

I’m careful about sunscreen now, at least this early in the season, and I’m fanatical about using it on the boys. But I just don’t have the time to enjoy the sun like I used to, and much to my surprise, I find I’m not as tolerant of the blazing sun as I used to be, either.

Despite the fact that I think I look so much better when I'm at least a little bit bronzed, I've always turned up my nose at anything to do with ‘fake’ tans. The gym where I work out has a couple of tanning beds, but I’ve always eschewed them as dangerous. Besides, if I am going to have a tan, I’m going to earn it, dammit. (Yeah, I have some weird ideas rattling around in my head. This is the line of thinking that won’t let me consider highlights for my hair.) And frankly, I was afraid I’d end up looking like this:

But here it is, the second week of May, and I've been too embarrassed to bare my fishbelly-white legs in public. Finally, my curiousity over the whole 'sunless tanning' idea got the best of me, and I bought some of this.

President's Choice Sunless Tanning Lotion. I LOVE IT! (And no, I'm not being paid to shill anything. But if the marketing folks at Loblaws are reading, I can be bought, and the price is right.)

I've been a little leery of the whole tan in a can thing, but I think they've come a long way since the orange skin of the 80s. I had visions of having to do major exfoliation (who has the time?) or ugly brown streaks, but it goes on smooth and is very subtle. I can't see the tan per se, but (most importantly) I am no longer blinded by the glare off my legs. Most impressive, and only $7.99.

So now I want to know, what else have I been missing? Maybe it's time to get brave and actually (gasp!) colour my hair?

Do you use "cheater" products? Coloured contacts, lash lengtheners, teeth whiteners, tan in a can? What else can I buy that mother nature forgot to give me? And if you see me looking a little more orange than usual this summer? That's just all the extra carrots I've been eating.