The indoor tanning boom began in 1978 America and seemed to hit its burnt orange peak sometime around MTV’s Jersey Shore (VPN). As a former South Jersey resident myself, tanning feels like a beauty treatment of pre-prom yesteryear… but then there’s Shanghai winter and what feels like days on days without sun—so what’s one little visit to a tanning bed (apart from significantly raising your risk of melanoma)?
If you’re feeling invincible or you’re just in desperate need of UV rays, here are three places and then some to get the poor man’s light therapy. Get that D (vitamin D)!
Hours: Tues-Fri 11am-8pm, Sat-Sun 12pm-6pm
Price: 100rmb per session (12 minutes)
The Christopher Plummer of tanning salons, SuperTAN seems to be the oldest in Shanghai, at 13 years young. Still looking good, it's a compact space that’s kept clean and has a distinctly beachy vibe. They have four standing booths that cost 100rmb per session, which cannot exceed 12 minutes. Once you disrobe and get into the thing, you hit play to get the UV lights going, then to the right there’s another button for music (yeah, soon found out this feature exists everywhere, but this place had some sweet tracks).
You can buy in bulk for discounts: 6 sessions for 540rmb, 12 sessions for 960rmb, and 18 for 1,260rmb. They also offer a line of overpriced self-tanning lotions including one “Kardashian Glow” for 600rmb—with membership comes a 30% discount on lotions. Talk about perks.
Hours: Daily, 10pm-9.30pm
Price: 100rmb per session (12 minutes)
BronzeBodies is the tanning salon with many names; formerly known as Blush Bodies, sometimes called the Bronze Sun Center, from a company called MegaSun—for now we’ll stick to BronzeBodies. It’s the largest on the list and the machines (five in all) seem nice with three standing booths and two tanning beds (for those who haven’t been irrevocably scarred by Final Destination 3). Certainly less tasteful than SuperTan, with a black leather couch that looks like it was pulled straight from my Uncle Etzio’s basement, but the equipment is new and the space is centrally located on Tongren Lu.
Prices are about the same, with standing machines that cost 100rmb for 10 minutes and beds 100rmb for 8 minutes. You can buy in bulk, 1-99 minutes for 8rmb a minute, 100-239 minutes for 7rmb a minute, and 240 minutes and above for 6rmb. They also offer a ton of over priced self-tanning lotions starting at 400rmb a bottle. Viva la tanning.
Hours: Daily, 12pm-8pm
Price: 80-120rmb per session (10 minutes)
Perfect Tan would be the chosen salon of Malibu Barbie, with a white and silver interior that looks as though it could fold up. The place is spacious, complete with a large waiting area with a dozen magazines and one orange couch. There are only 3 machines here, two standing booths and one tanning bed. This ain't your mom's tanning bed, it’s the ‘360 Master Sun’ and it doesn’t close all the way so it seems less threatening. On a Sunday, there was traffic in and out but I only had to wait about five minutes to try the futuristic sun capsule. Clean and nice, but a bit further out on line 10, close to YCIS.
Sessions cannot exceed 10 minutes, the standing stalls cost 80rmb per session and 120 for the Master Sun. Memberships here work in a point system, 1 point is one minute in the standing stall and 1.5 is equal to one minute in the tanning bed. 80 points for 560rmb, 150 points for 900rmb, and 300 points for 1,500rmb. You can also go unlimited for 750rmb a month.
Here are some more options for getting crispy; The Tanning Island, dubbed by a previous SmSh editor as a pioneer in self-tanning, has gotten good reviews on Dianping. Another popular option is Sunpoint Tanning Studio and who doesn’t love a little word play? Gillian at Alize has a standing booth. You can check out all tanning listings right here.