Caught Orange-Handed: The rise of self tans for prom


Elaina Gibson

After self tanning, girls are left with orange residue on their hands.

Elaina Gibson, Staff Writer

During the dark months of the winter season when she can’t be tanned by the sun’s U.V. rays, junior Megan Mayer and many other students turn to self-tan products to mimic their summer skin. 

Girls spray tan in preparation for a school dance, or special events. But throughout the winter Mayer uses self-tanner more frequently.

“For dances and events, I get them professionally done, but sometimes I just do them on a random night by myself because I don’t want to spend the money,” Mayer said. 

Junior Norah FitzGerald says her self-tans only last for about a week so she finds herself making a habit out of it. Mayer and FitzGerald agree that self-tanning helps them feel better in their own skin. 

“I like them because they give me summer bronze during winter when I’m not naturally getting tan,” FitzGerald said. “They boost my confidence a ton.”

 Freshman Lucy Watson says after self-tanning her hands are covered in orange splotches. Even though Mayer has given herself many tans, it doesn’t stop mistakes from occurring. 

“When I self-tan, sometimes I mess up and my hands look like I’ve dumped them in orange paint,” Mayer said. 

FitzGerald has had her own mishaps with self-tanning. The first time she received a spray tan she didn’t wash it off in time making the color a little more orange than what was attempted. 

“I looked like a pumpkin,” FitzGerald said. 

Watson said doing them right makes a big difference and they usually turn out good, but if you don’t take your time they can look bad and splotchy. Choosing the right brand of self-tanner impacts the final result. 

Mayer says there are many options for self-tan at stores, but ultimately chooses a more basic brand to keep it simple. 

“I use the Jergens foam self-tan because it works really well for me, but it makes other people look too orange,” Mayer says.

Junior Caroline Beck doesn’t care if people fake tan but thinks they can look unnatural, especially on people who are paler. Beck said she wouldn’t self-tan because she thinks they would look crazy on her, and make her really orange. 

“I’m a pale person, but I don’t see that as a bad thing or something that needs to change,” Beck said. “In the summer I will naturally tan, but I don’t want to force a tan and have it not look good.”

In a recent Instagram survey of 50 students, 22% of Stags said they fake tan. 

“I think more people are realizing that it’s fun and trendy,” Mayer said. “The more people that do it the more people feel like they can as well.”