Mist-tanning treatment saves customers' time, skin

The route to becoming a bronzed sun god -- or goddess -- has gotten a lot shorter. At least two Fargo tanning salons, Jamaican Mist@Studio 6 and Southern Exposure Tanning, have taken the process that used to run a couple of weeks on a beach, days...


The route to becoming a bronzed sun god -- or goddess -- has gotten a lot shorter.

At least two Fargo tanning salons, Jamaican Mist@Studio 6 and Southern Exposure Tanning, have taken the process that used to run a couple of weeks on a beach, days in a tanning booth, or about an hour's worth of airbrush sessions, and compacted it into a one-minute process.

"It's like a human car wash. You do four quarter turns. It takes 60 seconds," said Cindy Werlinger, owner of Jamaican Mist. "It takes longer to dress and undress than to actually get the tan."

Jamaican Mist, located at 4610 Amber Valley Parkway, uses a booth -- about the size of a typical home shower -- designed by Mist-On Systems of Grapevine, Texas.

The user applies a cream to fingers, hands and feet (to help even out the chemical tan), stands inside the unit -- with or without swimsuit -- while a bar much like a touchless car wash arm makes a 2-3 second pass. Three turns and three passes later and light buffing with a towel, and the tanning process is complete.


Over the next several hours the tan deepens, usually reaching its darkest stage about three days after the mist tanning session. The tan usually lasts seven to 10 days.

"I've just been very, very fair (light skinned) all my life. So, this is nice for me," Werlinger said.

For Terri Johnson, a Fargo family practice doctor, Jamaican Mist gave her quick color for a family trip without worrying about skin cancer from ultraviolet rays. She also said the misting chemicals are kind to her skin.

"It was a good experience. I had no problem and I'm extremely sensitive to a lot of different products, so I was really happy," Johnson said.

The speed was a big bonus.

"In and out, it was quick. For a busy, working mom, it wasn't very time-consuming at all," Johnson said. "It was great and I'd do it again."

Bob and Nancy Stroh have installed a mist-tanner at their Southern Exposure Tanning salon in Time Square Mall in southwest Fargo.

Stroh said his daughter was the guinea pig for their MagicTan booth, which they installed about two weeks ago.


"I had my daughter in there, it would be a week ago today, and she still has a nice tan," Stroh said Monday.

MagicTan Corp. is located in Solon, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland.

The fully enclosed shower-like booth has no moving parts. The tanning solution is electronically misted from 35 nozzles in four sequences over one minute. Users also apply a preparation cream and pose to get best coverage.

Moorhead High School student Alexa Williams, 15, said it was an "interesting" experience.

"I didn't really know what to expect. I think I'll look really nice and fresh and tanned. Everyone will be jealous of me," Williams said.

So far, the single MagicTan booth is showing promise, producing 21 percent of his revenue in September, averaging three to four customers a day.

About 28 million Americans will step into a tanning salon in the next year, said Joseph Levy, vice president of International Smart Tan Network in Jackson, Mich.

However, airbrush and mist-tanning are too new to offer reliable use statistics, the spokesperson for the tanning industry group said.


What's clear is more and more of the 25,000 companies that make tanning their main business (and the 20,000 who have it as a sideline), are adding mist and airbrush tanning, he said.

The tanning solutions consist of DHA, the active ingredient in most sunless tanning products, bronzing agents (coloring dye), and moisturizers. Users are asked to close their eyes to avoid irritation and to hold their breath briefly during spray applications.

Werlinger said privacy is a big plus with mist tanning, compared with airbrush tans.

"They're (customers) in a room by themselves and don't have to have it applied by someone," she said.

Stroh invested nearly $32,000 in his MagicTan booth. Werlinger said she spent about $60,000 on her Mist-On booth.

Werlinger charges $25 a session, though costs drop depending on packages and tanning specials. A session at Southern Exposure is $30, but packages bring the price down to $22 a tan, Stroh said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583

Helmut Schmidt is a reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead's business news team. Readers can reach him by email at, or by calling (701) 241-5583.
What To Read Next
Owners Tim and Elaine Gaslin say a changing market and the 11th Street underpass project prompted them to close their physical location, but they'll still sell CDs and DVDs online.
John Bultman recently received notice from the city of Fargo that the business he has operated for 42 years violates city ordinances and he was given until March 30 to shut down.
Reporter Tammy Swift joins host Thomas Evanella to talk about why new businesses are finding big success in small towns.
City is offering the Moorhead-based craft brewery a package of property tax breaks and economic development funds that approaches $700,000.