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Myth Debunked: Black Girls Can Tan

ELLE Beauty Assistant, Busi Manunga, got a spray tan... and it looked good!

Like all millennials, I love YouTube. And, of course, when I’m not watching make-up tutorials – something I consider to be a job requirement and not procrastination – I can often be found watching videos of people experimenting with all manner of beauty trends, often laughing at the (mostly negative) results. This is how the idea of getting a spray tan came about.

After watching a YouTube video of a woman with a complexion that’s darker than mine rubbing fake tan onto her skin and achieving a ‘natural’ glow, I decided I had to try this too. I got hold of Skinny Tan, a brand known for its spray tanning facilities and products, so I could put the tan to the test.

Gradual Tanner from Skinny Tan

Xané du Randt, the specialist spray tanner at Skinny Tan, was the woman for the job. As I’d never had a spray tan before (we all know the myth that black women can’t tan, although we don’t really know where it comes from), I had to do my research before jumping into the deep end. That’s how I discovered that exfoliating is a must before getting a tan of any kind. Exfoliating rids the skin of dead skin cells, allowing the tanning product to adhere evenly to the skin so you won’t have to deal with splotchy patches. Once I had exfoliated, I was ready for Xané to work her magic, which she did within 30 minutes as she sprayed me from head (she sprayed my face) to toe, so that I’d be completely even-toned.

The results? Honestly, besides a marked tan line around where my thong had been and a slight shimmer to my skin, I couldn’t see much of a difference. Well, at least I wasn’t orange, I thought. However, as the hours went by, my colleagues began to notice a definite glow to my skin, as though I’d misted my skin with something. Eventually, I noticed that while my skin didn’t look darker, my skin tone appeared brighter and I really did glow when I looked in the mirror, as though my fairy godmother had polished my skin.

While my stretch marks weren’t completely disguised by the tan, there was a marked difference in their appearance, so I would definitely tan again – if only for the advantage of that. I have strawberry legs (visible pores on my skin that look like dark spots) and the tan completely covered those, making me happy – for the best part of a week.

Would I do it again? Yes! Would I recommend it? Yes!

Because a spray only lasts for about a week, this would definitely make it into my pre-holiday to-do list. The glow was so beautiful on my face that I immediately thought that this was the “bridal glow” women hope to achieve for their wedding day. The spray tan didn’t make me darker, but boosted my complexion’s radiance and gave me a golden glow.

Worth the try and certainly worth debunking the myth: black girls can tan. 

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