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A Brief History of Tanning

Bronzed skin makes everyone look good. As someone looking into the sunless tanning industry, know that you can offer clients products and methods—such as airbrush tanning from New Gorgeous—to help them maintain that golden glow without exposing them to harmful UV radiation. But did you know that the love of sun-darkened skin is actually a recent trend that’s mostly a cultural phenomenon?

Cultural views

Tanned skin has never been a universally accepted ideal. The “ideal” skin color can vary from culture to culture. For example, Caucasian women in the US, Europe and Brazil place high value on a bronzed look, whereas women in China, Korea and Thailand often desire skin that’s fairer in tone, though many Asian women are starting to look for a more tanned look.

In the West, pale skin once indicated high social status. A tan signified that a person had to work outdoors as a manual laborer, while white skin indicated that the individual could afford to stay out of the sun and spend time and money cultivating his or her appearance.

Tanning Gains Popularity

Historians of fashion believe that the tanning trend began in the 1920s when the French designer Coco Chanel started the vogue of bronzed skin. From that moment on, being outdoors in the sun came to represent pleasure, relaxation and health. By the 1960s, a tan became associated with wealthy individuals who had the means to go where bronzed skin could be acquired.

The first tanning oil became available in 1927. It was developed by a French perfumer named Jean Patou and promised to put an end to bothersome sunburns while softening and tanning the skin. The first product with a UV absorber came onto the market in 1935: it was developed by Eugène Schueller, who would later found the company that came to be known as L’Oreal.

The sunless tanning market began to grow in the 1950s. The first self-tanner, Man-Tan, was introduced in 1959 and UV tanning beds began to appear in the United States in 1978. By the 1980s and 90s, both bottle and bed-based tans became firmly established practices that allowed tanning devotees to get—and maintain—the bronzed skin they desired.

The Future of Tanning

Airbrush tanning is the next wave in the history of tanning. It’s one that has seen explosive growth within the last decade and especially within the last five years. And no wonder: not only does it give clients the most natural-looking tans possible, it’s also inexpensive and better for the skin than the sun.

New Gorgeous products are some of the best you’ll find on the market. They’re made from pharmaceutical grade ingredients by experts who’ve been in the business for nearly 20 years. So if you’re looking to enhance your own product line and increase your revenues, contact us today for more information. You’ll be glad you did!

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