The Secret To Those Flawless Baywatch Spray Tans, According To The Film's MUA

Photo: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures.
Back in 1989, Baywatch brought back to beaches what Jaws took away from them just 14 years earlier: joy. Images of shark fins grazing the surface of murky ocean waters were replaced by slow motion shots of ripped, nearly naked lifeguards prancing across the sand. The tans, the abs, the salty beach waves — it was all over-the-top in the best way. It makes sense, then, that the show would make a comeback in movie form with a cast so star-studded, you'd think you were watching the summer edition of He's Just Not That Into You.
The film's release this past weekend has left us with plenty of questions. For starters: How the hell did these actors galavant for hours on set without getting a sunburn? Why can't our lashes look that fluttery after a dip in the ocean? And can tans that realistic really come from a spray nozzle?!
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Kim Greene, head makeup artist for the film, is here to set the record straight. Yes, she tells us, Zac Efron's abs are the real deal. "It's all 'body by Zac,'" she jokes. "He worked hard to look that good! The Rock also had his own makeup artist, Merc Arceneaux, and I don’t think she can take credit for his abs, either." But the biggest issue on set? Keeping those scantily clad bodies looking bronzed — and streak-free. (She tells us the not everyone in the film got spray tanned, but those who did got a touch-up at least once a week.)
"The cast was being sprayed with water or soaking in the ocean for 12-14 hours at a time," Greene says. "Self-tanner would start to streak and peel off, and it was up to the makeup team to make the actor’s skin look smooth and flawless no matter what." Her solution? Westmore Beauty's Body Coverage Perfector: "[It helped] even out the self tanner mishaps, hide any imperfections, and it lasted up to three days. It also kept the wardrobe team happy because it didn't rub off on white dresses."
As for the cast, they avoided turning the color of their Baywatch bathing suits by religiously applying SPF. Efron's a fan of EltaMD, he told us, but any broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher will do the job. Whether you choose to blend in the streak down your nose is entirely up to you.