With summer in swing, our skin may not be the shade or condition for shorts or swimwear, or a special event. We know that sun exposure ages our skin and can cause cancer, so an ideal alternative to sun tanning is spray tanning.
Erica Devlin, owner of spray tanning salon Stay Golden at 37 Harkness Avenue, East Longmeadow, offers a customizable and safe tan in her soothing, tropical-themed studio. She uses My Perfect Glow Sunless tan products, from a woman-owned, Florida-based company. “Their tanning products are amazing,” she says.
Erica co-owned a mobile spray tanning business from 2007 to 2008 and fell in love. In October 2020, she made the leap and opened Stay Golden. She jokes, “I call it my midlife crisis project. It was always a passion in the back of my mind.” Erica is a certified spray tan technician through Perfect Glow Sunless. “Being certified with them and using their product line has been a huge factor in the success of my business,” she notes, describing spray tanning as “an art form.”
Opening her business during the pandemic was a challenge; people were anxious about travel and vacation plans, weddings were pushed back, and proms were cancelled. Erica says, “I focused intensely on marketing, and encouraged family and friends to come get tans and spread the word. My business picked up and by spring of 2022, things really took off!”
Erica is the sole proprietor and technician at Stay Golden. “I’m a one-man band, so I have a personal relationship with every single client who comes through my door,” she explains. “My favorite part of the job is my clients, one hundred percent. I meet so many unique women every day and hear their stories, and learn about their happiness or stressors or the amazing destinations or exciting events they’re going to.”
When a client comes in for their first visit, Erica discusses what they want to achieve for their tan so she can meet their expectations. Then it’s on to applying their spray tan. “Clients wear their clothing of choice, be it a swimsuit, undergarments — or nothing at all! — whatever their comfort level is,” she explains.
“The studio is a no-judgement zone,” Erica says. “My clients come in all shapes, sizes, and ages, and I tell them that we don’t shame ourselves or apologize for our bodies in the studio. Someone may be nervous about their body and stripping down in front of a stranger. I urge them to have the confidence to come in and enjoy the positive body experience I provide at the salon.”
Erica notes that a spray tan mutes the appearance of stretch marks and cellulite and gives the confidence boost of having beautiful skin: “You can get the lovely glow you have mid-summer, any time of the year, with spray tanning.”
Bridal tanning parties are popular at Stay Golden. “It’s a total blast,” Erica says. “Brides have told me the party was a highlight of their wedding week. It’s super laid back, in contrast to the formality of other events like the rehearsal dinner and bridal shower. We crank the music, clients bring food and drinks, and they let loose and relax. This is a stress-relief event for brides and their girls to chill and not think about the wedding for a hot minute.”
Stay Golden offers a wide variety of tanning sessions from full-body rapid tans to face and neck only, private parties, before- and after-care products, and disposable undergarments for purchase. Erica suggests that clients thoroughly read the information on her website to prep for their appointments and maintain a beautiful tan. To book, visit sgtans.com.
Show Your Skin The Love
We need sunscreen daily, even if we’re mostly indoors, or in cold or cloudy weather. A quick errand still means exposure to solar rays, and the beach calls for full-body coverage. For neck-and-face coverage, use the “two-finger” amount rule and dispense sunscreen along the length of your middle and pointer fingers for the correct amount. Full-body coverage means applying at least one “shot glass amount” of sunscreen; reapply every two hours if you’re perspiring or swimming. The magic SPF number is 30 minimum. A hat and sunglasses also help to avoid UV rays — the number one cause of skin aging and cancer. Don’t forget a sunscreen lip product! To avoid sunscreens with environmentally harmful chemicals, mineral sunscreens with zinc and titanium are your best bet, and they are the least likely to irritate your skin compared to chemical sunscreens. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends seeing a dermatologist annually, or more often if you are at a higher risk of skin cancer, for a full-body, professional skin exam.
The Wedding Experience
Book a private wedding tan party for the ladies, and even the groom and his guys!
Session one: Six weeks before the wedding: discussion of your gown and wedding colors, shade level of tan, and tan care.
Session two: Four weeks before the wedding, to tweak your shade if necessary.
Final session: Two to four days before the wedding, with review of aftercare to get the most out of your tan on your honeymoon.
Bring your own beverages and snacks, and Stay Golden ensures a fun and cozy atmosphere!
“My favorite part of my work is my clients -- meeting so many unique women and hearing their stories.”