Spray-tanning is usually lauded as a safer, more responsible alternative to sun bathing. But one Stockholm-based salon may have just gone off the deep end — and people are not pleased. After Emmaatan salon began posting side-by-side shots on Instagram of customers using the brand's various tan shades — which go by the names Violet Onyx, Dark Ash Onyx, Caramel, and Chocolate — commenters started noticing something a little troubling. Instead of the tanners' complexions showing healthy, just-back-from-vacation glows, their skin looked dark. Like, really dark. As the website Black Girl with Long Hair points out, people took to Tumblr to express their confusion. "Th-that’s that’s my skin colour in a bottle. Wh-why…I don’t know whether to cry or rage," one user wrote. Others opted for rage: "Can we just talk about this for a second please?!? What is this?!? Why is this?!? HOW is this a product?!? Who gave the OK for this [to] be sold?!?" One comment hit the perfect balance of poignant and indignant: "It’s funny that they think it’s ok for them to be black but not for black people to be black….?"
A couple of days ago, Emmaatan owner Emma Patissier Alm took to Instagram to explain herself. "I'm in chock for the response I've gotten and may have responded and commented the wrong way because I expect Ppl to know how Spraytan works . I've got a lot of feedback and mostly been called 'black face' and racist…I understand why it might seem that way and I apologise for the miss understanding my pic may have approached," she writes. "I will never understand how 'black ppl' is facing the world and it's sad to know ppl don't get respect just because of their looks." She then goes on to explain how spray tans develop, and insists that the product isn't meant to give users a "crazy black tan." (Well, thanks for clearing that up.) "Fake tan always gets really dark because of the activation of the result of the colour. 20-30% washes of and the colour will get much much lighter and won't look as 'black' as it seems on my pic," she writes. "My colour isn't going for black it's going for a natural golden tan when you wash it off. I never want my customers to look un natural or to dark since we usually have a lighter skin tone . You also have to understand I have ppl with dark and pale skin tone and therefore look darker or lighter. I love all skin types and that's why I think ppl should be able to choose for what they feel good in, as long as you respect ppl around you." What do you guys think of the backlash? Sound off in the comments.