Marble accents and expertly maintained equipment greet customers visiting Pearland's Soigne Tans, where soul sacks can bask in an array of tanning options. Beds and standup apparatuses bronze epidermal layers with different levels depending on skin type and astrological sign, and UV-free sprays mist limbs and torsos with natural-looking, streak-free shades. Knowledgeable staff wield handpicked products by brands such as Supre and Emerald Bay to moisturize and prep skin for sunless sunning.
Guests who come inside any of Malibu Tan’s many locations are greeted with a handshake. Though that might seem like an old-school approach to customer service, Malibu Tan’s owner encourages it as a genuine way for his staff to connect with each client and provide them with customized services. For more than 15 years, Malibu’s friendly staffers have also connected with higher-profile clients—including the Houston Dymano Girls team—by helping them choose the best of each facility’s tanning options for their skin types. With UV tanning, regardless of whether a client prefers a supine or standup system, they are bound to get a strong tan, as all UV bulbs are changed 200 hours before they hit capacity or finally crack open and release a butterfly. There are also plenty of UV-free options such as VersaSpa sunless tanning, which darkens exteriors with a hydrating DHA-based solution. Each location also offers tan-enhancing products from Swedish Beauty and California Tan.
Inside the climate-controlled Sun Angel tanning bed, a mist carries calming scents while a sensor automatically measures the tanner's UV light sensitivity to reduce the chance of sunburn. E-Z Tan provides a customizable tanning experience to the greater Houston area with four locations, furnishing each bronzing shop with four types of UV beds, which also include the Affinity 950 Ultra Power bed which helps patrons obtain the darkest results possible. E-Z Tan clients also have a sunless option in the form of the private, self-serve Mystic Tan spray-tan booth that uses automated technology to mist bodies uniformly, from contours to crevices to extra sets of knee joints.
At Nautica Tan, the staff knows that darker skin isn't the only benefit of tanning. Clients also emerge more relaxed, and skin imperfections such as stretch marks and cellulite are hidden. Seven levels of UV beds coax melanin to skin surfaces, whereas spray tans give skin a sun-kissed glow without the sun or rubbing skin with a light bulb.
At more than 30 locations in the Houston area, clients check in at marble-fronted reception desks to meet with a member of Darque Tan's International Smart Tan Network—staff trained to determine the best path to their bronzing goals. Sessions take place in private rooms that line a column-flanked hallway, where five different levels of UV beds give skin the perfect level of tanning. Mystic Tan and VersaSpa sunless-tanning systems imbue clients with a hydrating, natural-looking glow, which can be customized according to skin tone, desired shade, and spirit animal. A full-time cleaning staff keeps each center in pristine conditions by referencing a 50-point inspection system. Most locations have books, televisions, and kids’ play areas to keep children entertained while adults are bronzing.
As 2009 Miss Houston USA Angy Torres knows, it doesn’t take a discriminating judge to spot the streaks of an imperfect spray tan. That’s why she counts herself among the many clients who trust Body Brushed, an airbrush-tanning studio whose trained professionals could fool even the sun with their golden, UV-free tans.
Body Brushed’s specialists carefully coat their clients' skin with a DHA-infused solution formulated to create a golden tan that can last for up to 10 days with regular moisturizing and proper maintenance. The studio’s in-office and mobile services aren’t limited to sunless tans; they can also customize bodies with airbrushed makeup, tattoos, and full tuxedos.
A wildly successful alternative to traditional day spas—its more than 300 locations blanket 36 states and half a dozen countries—Planet Beach Contempo Spa is a futuristic relaxation station where state-of-the-art machines administer all the spa and tanning services. These friendly automatons sometimes replace familiar treatments, as in the Luminous facial, a light-based service that delivers blemish-busting results similar to those of a conventional facial. But other equipment maps out new spa territory entirely: the Hydro-Derma Fusion chamber moisturizes the whole body with nutrient-rich steam in order to offset the effects of a dry climate or a rear-end collision with a salt truck. Other machines whiten teeth, spray tan skin, and massage muscles.
Planet Beach operates on a gym-style membership system, meaning members purchase packages or pay flat monthly rates. As members spend more time at the spa, they get to know the helpful assistants who are always on hand to demonstrate how to use the equipment without activating its ability to cry.