Although Tan at the Islands’s name suggests that clients leaving the salon are heading home from the beach, they might be better off heading toward one—they’re likely to be not only tanner but also slimmer and smoother skinned. Inside the salon’s private tanning rooms lie four levels of state-of-the-art, high-pressure Sun Ergoline UV beds, which vary in number of bulbs so that clients can speed up the tanning process without wasting a wish they earned from a grateful flounder. Airbrush equipment outfits skin in a mist customized to each patron’s skin tone, and Mystic spray-tanning booths alternate tanning sprays and drying gusts to lend skin a seamless bronze for up to 10 days. Skin also benefits from red-light therapy, which is said to boost collagen production. Clothes and accessories from brands such as Lucky and True Religion line the walls of the salon’s boutique, enabling customers to don beachwear that shows off newly golden skin tones the way people taunting 7-Eleven security cameras show off newly blue tongues.
In 2001, the first iTAN Sun Spray Spa opened its doors. It had a simple goal—to make clients feel and look lovely with professional tanning services. Today, the spa has more than 30 Southern California franchises, each offering a slightly different assortment of teeth whitening, tanning beds, spray-tanning booths, and self-serve spa offerings.
The Smart Tan–certified staff prioritizes keeping up with tanning technology by stocking state-of-the-art tanning beds such as the Sun Angel, which uses sensors to customize a blend of UVA and UVB rays, practically eliminating overexposure. Many beds come equipped with stereo sound systems, misters, and fans. Just down the hall from these beauty gadgets, Mystic and airbrush machines bronze limbs without UV rays, and self-administered spa treatments dispense relaxing red-light facials, infrared-heat bodywraps, and aqua massages.
Tan By the Sea in Carlsbad and Deep Tan & Spa in Encinitas keep skin bronzed seven days a week, regardless of the season. To deliver the sun-kissed look of Apollo's cheekbones, the facilities offer tanning beds—which range in intensity from the introductory Sunrise 3500 to the lamp-riddled European high-pressure TurboPower 25000s—as well as VersaSpa chambers that provide summer-worthy façades without the stern gaze of UV rays, misting clients from head to chakra with clear or bronzing solution in as little as 60 seconds. Decorating the salons are swimsuits, sandals by Havaianas, and products by Designer Skin, Hempz, and Australian Gold. In addition to tanning specialists, the spas' teams include aestheticians as well as technicians who can brighten pearly whites with dental-grade treatments.