July 11, 2014

to tan or not to tan

Nothing but scorn and a sniff of snob for any girl who came back from summer holidays with a hint of tan lines. We, the palest girls at the ballet academy, had nothing but contempt for those who felt the need to expose their bodies to anything other than pain.

You see, the ideal ballet dancer was pale as alabaster, her hair as dark as a raven's wing, as petite as Tinkerbell.  And skinny. Obviously. Since the petite thing didn't apply to me (5'8"and counting) I had to double down on the pale, the midnight black hair, the skinny.  I had a girl crush on Sherry from Chicago. She was in a class above me, dyed her hair black and was a pale as a snow cone without the syrup topping. Skinny too. I was smitten and naturally had to emulate her in all things.

So, along comes a holiday in Kenya, on the beaches near Mombasa. Glaring white sand, glaring blue water. Hot and humid. What a nightmare. I was confronted with the concept of people actually traveling somewhere with the intention of allowing sun to not only touch their skin but to color it brown. I held out for three days. Dodging daylight was so tedious. On day four, around noon, capitulation was at hand. I did like to swim. Swimming was condoned as the only sport acceptable outside of ballet.

Looking in the tiny bathroom mirror next morning: Rocky. The 'after a fight with Apollo Creed shouting Adrian!' Rocky. Eyes swollen shut, skin (on the verge of purple) red and a weird crust around my hair line. Just when I gaining awareness of beach babes with smooth bronzed skin, sun-kissed noses, sun-streaked hair as an acceptable alternative to pale. My stacks of Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Elle, Marie Claire demonstrated this to be a possibility. I could see them with my own eyes spread out like golden croissants on the beach here and now. In a pickle couldn't begin to describe how I felt. More like coming out the wrong end of a meat grinder.

The moral of this story? Don't be a snob. Use lots of sunscreen. Wear a hat. And maybe expose that skin to the sun once in a while. It's healthy. You know, in small doses. California raisins are best in oatmeal cookies, not lying around at the beach.

Enjoy your summer lovelies. Sunscreen ahoy!

Sunscreens we like: 
  • Vichy Capital Soleil 50 SPF for the face (really the best I've tried so far. Protects and keeps it moisturized but not in a sticky sweaty way, in a keeps skin supple way) 
  • Lierac Sunific: Serum Starter Bronzage (prepares the skin for tanning; good to use a couple weeks before intensive exposure) 
  • Heliocare sun products: all are good
  • Eucerin Sun cremes: available in Austria, Germany, Switzerland. Cheap, organic, great
photo of very skinny girl courtesy of elle.fr (don't let skinny girls intimidate you please)

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