April 2016

Beach Bum Tan:Getting a Warm Healthy Glow

Author: Kitty Bartell | Photographer: M.Kat Photography

It was less than 100 years ago when tanning became a “thing,” and we have Coco Chanel to thank. Lifestyle and fashion trendsetter in so many ways, Chanel actually stumbled upon this one. It was the 1920s when she accidentally got sunburned visiting the French Riviera. Returning to Paris, her fans apparently applauded the burn that had turned to tan and began pursuing darker skin tones for themselves.

A bit like Chanel, Kerstin Taylor, owner of Beach Bum Tan, stumbled upon tanning and accidentally turned it into a very happy business. “I went to a spray tan convention with one of my friends in Orlando—just tagging along,” Taylor said. “I started looking at all the tanning stuff and was so skeptical. I thought, ‘you’re going to turn people orange.’ The longer I was there, I started to realize people looked really good. So I started learning about the solutions, and I started liking it.

“From there it turned into spray tanning friends and having fun. Then it turned into friends calling friends. The next thing I knew, I got a call from the Town of Hilton Head Island saying I kind of needed to get a business license.” Having so much fun, it took a few questions from the town official for Taylor to even realize she had a real business going.

Taylor, a former military automated logistical specialist, loves the flexibility of working with her in-home tanning clients, and earlier this year opened a studio and boutique in Bluffton to serve clientele in-studio as well. “I loved starting out entirely mobile,” Taylor said. “I had no overhead. I could really take the time to learn. People didn’t have to go out to tan; I could come to them. I could give them a spray tan whether it was raining or sunny. As I grew, I realized that some people were uncomfortable with someone coming into their house; for some, the process became stressful. Opening a physical location gave a place for people to go who didn’t want someone in their house.”

Spray tanning is a positive way to get some healthy color, and Taylor has crafted a process using 100 percent naturally-derived, organic, vegan ingredients. “We use organic DHA (dihydroxyacetone).

There are no harsh chemicals, it is paraben- and erythrulose-free and dye-free.” The process is the same whether Beach Bum Tan comes to you or you visit their Bluffton studio. Stepping into the tanning booth, the spray is hand-applied with a high volume, low pressure machine. “The solution is either alcohol-based or aloe-based, depending on the dryness of the skin,” Taylor said. “Customers may either have no scent, or I can add orange, ginger, or pineapple to the spray.”

Application takes five to 15 minutes, depending on the person, and it takes just a couple of seconds to dry. “Normally by the time I’m done spray tanning you and getting your hair net off, you’re good to get dressed,” Taylor said. She recommends wearing loose-fitting dark clothing to your tanning appointment, because there may be some transfer of color up until you take the recommended shower six to eight hours after application, after which transfer of color is not an issue.


Kerstin stands in the doorway of her new storefront on Lawrence Street in Bluffton.

Taylor suggests a specific routine to prepare for your appointment, as well as how to make your tan last as long as is possible. “As long as clients shower and exfoliate the day before their spray tan and shave all of the areas they normally would shave, they’re good to go. The tan should last seven to 10 days if they use a moisturizer every single day, wash with their hands and not with a loofah or washcloth, and pat dry.” Drinking plenty of water is also recommended. “The more you’re hydrated, the more your skin is hydrated and the longer the product will stay on the skin.”

The studio has an interactive dressing room with Hue Lighting; customer iPad-controlled lighting that can simulate any atmosphere from a bright, sunny beach to a candle-lit restaurant. They also provide disposable panties and tops, and nose filters for people who want them or need them. “I can go from a touch of color all the way up to competition color,” Taylor said. “We do a lot of weddings and bachelorette parties. Also, people who came to town and it ended up raining their whole vacation and they want to go home with a little color.”

Due to its topical nature, Taylor said particular care should be taken when in the sun following an application. “It’s important to use sunscreen after getting a spray tan, because you can’t see your skin changing, and it can also change faster. If you’re out in the sun, you have to remember we just dyed the top layer; there’s no protection. The worst part is you can’t see it because you’re spray tanned and then you’re burned.”

On the boutique side, Taylor is curating a fashion, jewelry, and accessory collection inspired by time spent in California and the local Lowcountry art community. The fashion is light, airy, and beachy with flowy dresses perfect for an afternoon wedding or a day at the beach. The kiln-fired, 8 Petals jewelry line made of bright glass pieces beautifully accent the clothing. Beach Bum Tan is carrying the work of local artist Toni. Working with vintage windows, colored glass, and grout, Toni also made the studio’s pretty street sign.

Located in the heart of Old Towne Bluffton, Taylor’s charming little tanning salon and boutique has found a cozy home on Lawrence Street, where she and some local friends and artists have been doing the renovation work to make her space just right. “I love it. I love making people happy,” she said.

Carrying locally roasted coffee from The Corner Perk and promoting local businesses on the community board in her reception area, Taylor has found a comfortable home for her life and business. 

Beach Bum Tan is located at 64 Lawrence Street, Bluffton. Please visit beachbumtansc.com for more information or to book an in-studio appointment, or call (843) 422-7821 to book an in-home appointment.

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