the bronze (anti) age

Guerlain--the gold-standard for getting bronze.

My dermatologist gave me a talking-to the other day. I wouldn’t call myself a tan-orexic, but I do like my sun on vacations, and I’ve been known to jump into the occasional tanning bed before a black-tie event that calls for a strapless gown. But truthfully, I felt a little sheepish in her office this time, knowing that I was about to tape a TV segment on anti-aging skincare–and because of this, am currently steeped up to my crow’s feet in wrinkle creams, eye potions, serums, and antioxidants. So like a good little patient, I’ve dived full-force into the prescription retinol scene, upped my daily moisturizer to SPF 30, and am attempting to make peace with pale skin (and self tanner).

There’s one product that’s taking the sting out of this lifestyle change, and that’s my compact of Physicians Formula Glow-Boosting Pressed Bronze Booster (say that three times fast).  On the one hand: A bronzer is a bronzer is a bronzer…a few swipes with a big, fluffy powder brush and you get that sun-kissed glow. On the other hand: Some are too shimmery. (I don’t know about you, but when I get color on vacation, sparkles don’t magically appear on my face.) Other bronzers make me look oddly dirty—like I haven’t scrubbed in a while. And a few turn me downright beta-carotene orange. Not unlike an Oompa Loompa.

The perfect tone of tan--but cheaper

Without a doubt, there are some truly terrific bronzers on department-store shelves these days; Guerlain was the first company to actually start the trend back in the mid-Eighties, and they’re still on top of their game. But that game costs $47. I like to play cheaper, and my non-sparkly, non-orangey Bronze Booster (which comes in three shades) is my sport of choice. Available for $13-$15 at,, and

 So where do you stand on a tan? Is pale pretty again? Or are you still toiling with fake baking and/or (gasp) the real-deal ball of fire?


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