July 26, 2013

Remember when it was called "Suntan Lotion"?

I do.  I remember junior high summers at the beach and small brown bottles of Coppertone.  I always used 4.  Coppertone 4 for a gradual tan.  Each formula's bottle was a different color so you could see exactly how bronzed you would be after an afternoon in the sun.  Remember?  The cool girls used 2--the oil that came in an amber bottle.  Only redheads and women over thirty used the Shade formula (6 or 8) in the decidedly paler bottles.  And those white bottles filled with 15--Block?  Why bother going out at all if you needed that kind of protection.  Once and a while you would see it peaking from a mom's diaper bag if she had a young toddler at the beach, but that's about it.

I'm not sure the date of this print ad--I vaguely remember the tag line, but those bottles?  Yep, they're the ones.  Oh, and I'm pretty sure this girl lived two doors down from me in high school.  I always wondered how she got her hair to look like that after a day at the beach.

This slightly off-topic post was inspired by my last trip to Target.  I pushed my cart right past the end cap where these bottles were displayed.  That familiar warm brown plastic and the words "Tanning Lotion" stopped me in my tracks.  Look closely and you will see it's Broad Spectrum 15.  The lowest SPF I've seen in years.  Most people wouldn't dare spend the day outdoors with this on until October.  If I was seen putting this on my sons at the beach in July, someone would call Child Protection Services!

Still there it was, offering the elusive, safe tanning experience.  Can something offer 15x your skin's natural protection and still allow it to tan?  Can Coppertone really be saying we can have it all?   It's actually quite confusing considering that the shelf six inches away offers glow-y bronzers that promise to turn the top layer of my skin slightly amber before I even leave the house.

It's Friday night--this is all I've got.  A rant about commercial beauty products and a walk down memory lane.  Sorry.  It's been a long week...in the sun.


  1. Thanks for the memories :). Enjoyed your post. If ever you need something to write about I have tons of updates but I can't get on the computer to post :)

  2. I can't say that I ever shopped for suntan lotion....