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[New Deals]: Getting a Sun-Kissed Bronze at Perfect Tan

Unlimited tans for 400rmb!? Well, lather me up in lotion and let's go.
2021-03-26 12:00:00
Photos: Angela Leung
Perfect Tan at Sinar Mas Plaza in Hongkou has a one-month unlimited tanning deal for 400rmb. This had piqued my interest, so for the month of March, I went out and tested to see if I was able to finally achieve that Miami Vice look I've been yearning for.

The Deal: The basic rundown is this: Perfect Tan's usual offer is a single session of their Low-Pressure Vega Lux for 100rmb. It goes for a total of 13 minutes, ten for the tanning and three for the cool down. There is also a one-month membership plan of 800rmb, where members will be given an unlimited amount of sessions.

Now, SmartTicket has a 50% Unlimited Month Tanning Pass. The deal will ONLY be available from March 24 to May 15, so get your tan on in time for Summer.

400rmb may sound like a pretty high bargain but think about the overall picture. A single 10-minute session is 100rmb. With the deal: there is a maximum of 30 days of use, with a mandatory 2-4 days of rest in between – meaning that users can receive 9-10 sessions. Evaluating the price and time together, the cost of one session would be 40-45rmb.

The Venue: Perfect Tan was previously located in Changning but is now located on the third floor of Sinar Mas Plaza, next to Barbarian and Colca. It's not easy to miss, as the entrance is situated right next to the mall's northwing escalator. Both the exterior and interior of the salon are inspired by the iconic Cycladic homes of Oia that are synonymous with Greece.

The inside is compact, as everything from the equipment to the waiting area has been squeezed into a narrow space. The tanning machines have been imported from an Italian vendor called Sportarredo.

Speaking with the owner of the business, he had stated that in China, other tanning salons like to localize sourcing for their machines; lower costs but poorer functionality. Guess if there was ever a place to get quality booths, it would be the beach nation of Italia.

There are four tanning booths: three Vega Lux Open 51 and one HPO.

The 360-degree Open 51s are positioned upright for improved cleanliness and are designed for faster results by penetrating through the surface of the skin. The lamps produce UV-A light, which moves at a higher wavelength than other forms of UV light, causing the tan.

The HPO is larger and is designed to induce a long tan. Unlike the alternative machines, HPO produces UV-B light; shorter wavelengths that may cause a burning effect resulting in darker skin.

The Experience: At Perfect Tan, the manager and I had discussed the basic rundown of the salon's services, such as what the machines do, their differences, what the process will be and a suggested schedule for the long-term treatment. As everyone has a different complexion, ultraviolet light effects may result in different responses. Some people can start off with high-pressured exposure over long sessions, while others may need to take short-bursts with relatively long breaks in between. I was the latter.

Prepping for the tanning was pretty simple. First things first, get nude. All of the tanning rooms are lockable from the inside, making sure peeping toms can keep their distance. While in my birthday suit, I applied some creamy indoor tanning lotion. It's a key step, as it holds antioxidants and nutrients to help prevent skin from wrinkling and drying.

I had a total of three sessions over two weeks in the HPO booth. Short bursts (10 minutes) with a three-minute cooldown. The final visit was bumped up to 12 minutes. I myself was naked each time, but that was a personal preference. (Relax, there aren't any images, things need to be SFW). Bring a bikini if you would like, or maybe even a speedo.

Once a tan is done, it is vital to moisturize – prevents chapping and drying.

Over the rest period, it was important to monitor if there was any burning. On revisits, the manager would do a quick check on my condition. Observing and seeing if any necessary adjustments were required.

I had made a personal choice to extend all of my rest periods by a couple of extra days, as a precaution for my sensitive skin.

The Verdict: Understand this, always take a cautious approach to a tan. It doesn't matter if it's that much-deserved poolside holiday off to Sanya or an open shirt stroll in Shanghai's sun, skin cancer is a real danger. It's a person's responsibility to take the necessary steps to be protected; sunblock, hat and all.

I was unable to gather enough sessions to really make the most of my one-month membership. Despite my limited experience, I can see that my skin tone has darkened (when comparing now to three weeks ago).

The service was good, especially since safety is a key priority, and it was nice to know that Perfect Tan made an effort to purchase quality machines from overseas.

If I was to get any darker, I would need to commit to more sessions and even test out the Vega Lux. Who knows, maybe one day I can pull off the perfect Scarface cosplay.


Shanghai has a collection of tanning salons located across the city. Head to SmartShanghai's Tanning Directory to see what's near you.