With the recent controversy surrounding in a tanning salon bed, the dangers of overexposure to UV rays have been brought to the forefront for people seeking that perfect tan.
After listening to numerous concerns about the impact of UV rays during her 31-year career as a hairdresser, South Brunswick resident Nancy Culbertson saw an opportunity to provide a safe alternative. So in 2009, Culbertson launched her own business, to provide an easy and healthy tan, minus the UV rays.
"I work in the beauty industry and thought with the adverse affect of the sun and tanning booths, that this could provide a healthier alternative to basting out in the sun," Culbertson said. " People are more conscious about skin cancer, melanoma and early signs of aging. I brought the idea to the girls at work and they were so enthusiastic, so I thought I would start my own business.”
While some people are hesitant about a spray tan over fears they may end up with an artificial orange glow reminiscent of an "oompa-loompa" from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Culbertson said her tans provide a natural look.
"I've been doing this for over three years. The spray goes on evenly and the tan looks very natural, not with the orange skin that people are afraid of," she said. "It lasts anywhere from five to seven days depending on people's skin and how they take care of it afterwards. You have to moisturize it, avoid really hot showers and avoid using exfoliates afterwards. If people moisturize, the tan can last about 10 days."
Culbertson, a 25-year township resident who also works as a hairdresser at Hair Plus in Hopewell, began her mobile business offering tanning services throughout Middlesex, Somerset, Mercer and Monmouth County.
"I come to you and do the spraying at your convenience in the comfort of your own home," she said. "I bring an extraction fan and tent for the spraying. People sometimes host spray tan parties with cocktails and munchies while I do the spraying, and it's a great time."
Culbertson charges $40 for a full body tan, or with a party of six or more people the hostess receives a complimentary tan the day of party. Even as the recession forces people to closely monitor their spending, Sultry Mist has been able to thrive as people look for inexpensive and safe beauty alternatives.
"Business has been steady. I have a client who had a history of melanoma and she wants to avoid the sun and tanning booths, so she gets a spray tan every three days or so," Culbertson said. "The tanning parties have worked well because it's something girls want to do together and they don't want something costly. This is fun and inexpensive. This gives people such a boost in confidence. For people who have spider veins or scars, this helps them camouflage those imperfections on their skin."
Sultry Mist also specializes in bridal parties, proms and homecoming, dance competitions, cheerleading competitions, bachelorette parties, pre-vacation tanning, and parties with friends and family, Culbertson added. The product she uses for the tanning has been featured on many magazine covers such as, Vogue, Modern Bride, Glamour, and Self.
With skin cancer the most common form of cancer in the nation, Culbertson said it's important for young people to understand the long-term impact of overexposure to the sun and traditional indoor tanning. Such as the infamous tanning mom from Nutley, whose skin tone is anything but a healthy glow.
"Have you looked at her? She's been tanning for many years and it really shows," Culbertson said. "The sun and indoor tanning really takes a toll on the skin. Sultry Mist offers a safe alternative, it gives skin a beautiful glow and it looks just like a natural tan without baking in the sun and damaging your skin."
Culbertson is also interested in getting involved in fundraising opportunities in town. For more information visit the Sultry Mist web site by clicking here.
You can contact Sultry Mist via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 908-816-0160.