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Tantamount to the Real Thing

June 11, 1987

If you're the kind of person who loves to stay inside all day but feels decidedly, well, pale next to the glowing countenances of your friends, then here's some good news for you: You can have a beautiful, golden tan that's absolutely fake--but it looks real!

Don't wince. This isn't that bright orange look churned out by makeup manufacturers in the '60s and '70s. Those fake tans made you look more like a Barbie doll left out too long in the microwave than a golden Adonis.

Thanks to a bronzing powder for women by Guerlain, and various bronzing gels for men by such companies as Aramis, Jan Stewart and Clinique, you can make cocoa-brown George Hamilton turn green with envy.

The bronzers for women cost about $17. The gels for men cost about $8. Both are selling briskly at I. Magnin in Sherman Oaks to customers who don't want to expose their skin to the damaging rays of the sun.

Fear of acquiring skin cancer and wrinkles may have deterred people from worshipping the sun, but they seem still seem to worship the tans. "You can never be too rich or too tanned," says one bronzed Valleyite.

The key to making these fake tans look like the result of a weekend in Palm Springs is blending. In an attempt to disguise his hard-earned office pallor, one Valley man smeared his face with a bronzing gel. Unfortunately, he stopped at the chin line. The jarring result: a golden face and a white neck.

His girlfriend gently explained the subtleties of blending to him. "He just didn't think about it," she said with a shrug.

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