I got a spray tan once—the kind where you stand in a booth and hope for the best. I came out looking like an Oompa Loompa and smelling just as funky—the result of DHA, a key ingredient in sunless tanners. Unfortunately, this doesn’t stop me from wanting to be bronzed. Let’s face it: Unless you have flawless, alabaster skin like Anne Hathaway, most of us just look better tan.
Who better to transform my pasty, mid-winter body than Sandra Avelli, a Greek-goddess-like model and bodybuilder (could it get any worse?) who creates custom airbrush tans for fellow competitors and recently started offering her services at Extrados spa.
When we meet, Avelli assures me that she won’t make me look like Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler. Instead of using a standard shade, she custom-blends color for each client to control the shade and depth according to their skin tone and desired results. I strip down to my underwear, don a hair net, and step into a tent-like structure.
Using a wand-like device and a steady hand, Avelli sprays a fine mist back and forth over my face and body. The organic product she uses smells surprisingly fresh, not putrid. She then applies a second coat to ensure the color is even and accurate. Avelli adds a bronzer to the solution so I look tan immediately, even though the color won’t develop for another four to six hours (a bonus for anyone who has a same-day event or is seeking instant gratification).
I love the color. It’s deeper and more natural then anything I’ve ever achieved using sunless tanners—and it lasts a whole week. Even my husband, who has been privy to many beauty experiments gone awry, remarks on how great my tan looks. Take that, Anne Hathaway.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Sandra Avelli is no longer working for Extrados, which now offers a version of this service. This type of airbrush tan can now be found at Sola Salon Studios: 3519 West 70th St., Studio 21, Mpls., 612-840-7376.
What: Airbrush Tan
Where: Extrados, three metro locations, extrados.com
Time: 30 minutes
Price: $60 full body, $20 à la carte
Shed It Boot Camp
Instead of making another New Year’s resolution to lose weight, just shed it. This month, The Shed kicks off an eight-week boot camp—a fat-busting blend of interval training, cardio circuits, core work, and personalized nutrition planning. The Shed’s proprieters recently returned to the Cities after running popular L.A. fitness studio The Burn. $800 for 58 sessions. 2800 Lyndale Ave. S., Mpls., 612-720-2121, theshedfitness.com
Before you plop down another paycheck at the beauty counter, consider Claudius Galen. The second-century herbalist knew better than to use indecipherable ingredients or fancy packaging when he created the world’s first cold cream. Lucky for you, his naturally restorative formulas form the foundation for Minneapolis-based skincare line, Galen Labs. The chemical- and paraben-free collection includes Dead Sea bath salts ($24), prized for their theraputic benefits; Twelfth Element Face Serum ($32), an anti-aging blend of essential oils and antioxidants; and Wildcrafted Shea Cream ($32), an unrefined shea butter that has garnered a cult-like following for its ability to heal eczema and soothe skin allergies. How’s that for fancy-schmancy? For a list of retailers, visit galenlabs.com