When clients enter Safely Sunning on South Kansas Avenue, they see a House Rules sign that reads: “No self-depreciation allowed. You may not apologize for being naked, body fat, skin folds, cellulite, wrinkles, stretch marks, unpolished nails, ugly feet, big boobs, small boobs, one boob, no boobs, scars, body hair, veins, or the proper functions of being a woman...Remember that you are something amazing.”
Owner Heather Souther knows the confidence a tan can give a person. For almost seventeen years, she has offered professional airbrush tans to everyone from teenagers to seniors, both women and men. Some come to see her for a special event, such as a cheer competition, prom, or wedding. Others just want to look good for a vacation or the first time they wear a swimsuit in summer.
However, Souther also understands why they may feel nervous when they arrive. Thus, the reason for the sign. “People feel super vulnerable when they come in,” she explains. “Sometimes they’ve never had spray tans before, or they’re just going through life and have body changes. When they come in and remove all or part of their clothing and stand here in front of these lights, it shows everything. So, I created that sign so you can’t apologize for anything. All the insecurities go right out the window. I want everyone to feel welcome, invited, and good about their decision to come in and spend time with me.”
Offering her customers a safe way to obtain a suntan is very personal for Souther. When she was 12 years old, her mom started taking her to a salon that used tanning beds. By the age of 17, Souther had skin cancer. However, she continued to use the tanning beds until she was about 20. Today, Souther still deals with skin cancer. She says, “I got it again about nine months ago just from being in the tanning beds for that many years.”
Safely Sunning’s airbrush tan uses an organic-based solution with brown sugar and aloe. The ingredient dihydroxyacetone, better known as DHA, produces the tan. Even when you’re showering, the tan stays. Best of all, it has nothing to do with UV rays. No sunbeds. No light bulbs.
Souther says, “Coming here is a very custom service. I get into all the nooks, crannies, and unreachable places. There are a lot of products out there, and a lot of people don’t trust those products at home. They will trust me because of the products I’ve had for a long time and the type of culture that I try to create here. It’s just a safe environment for people to come and let me do my job.” The salon’s staff can provide a custom airbrush tan or an express airbrush tan option, either full- or half-body. Plus, they can bring the tan to you with their mobile tanning capabilities. The shop also offers a teeth-whitening service and sells at-home tanning kits, drying powder to control sweating, and lotions to help your tan look its best. “We just really focus on body positivity and self-love here,” says Souther. “This has never been about a spray tan. It’s just the vehicle that takes us there. I just want everybody to feel good about themselves. I’m always super playful here, and I talk about drizzling you with self-confidence, but it’s real. People can be themselves here. It’s really important that all of my clients feel good when they leave here.”
Safely Sunning is located in the BrynK Salon and Color Bar at 309 S. Kansas Ave. To book
an appointment, go to safelysunning.com.