Nectar Skin Bar in Georgetown. This skin-focused haven (in a chic rowhouse on Wisconsin) is the brainchild of two Washingtonians who wanted to bring cutting-edge skincare and never-before-seen-in-DC products to market.
They succeeded, offering luxe lines like Darphin, Farm House Fresh (a Deacon fave), Glam Glow, Priel and DC-based Alchimie Forever. In addition, they have the DC exclusive on treatments like LashDip and Organic Sunless Tanning from Chocolate Sun, plus luxe extras like valet parking and a private back garden for spa-goers to relax post treatment.
Our first taste of the spa came when we sampled the Chocolate Sun treatment. We were lucky enough to get sprayed down by Kimmie herself, the line's owner and founder. Essentially a spray tan (retailing at $55), the treatment started with a simple premise - it would first and foremost be a skin care treatment.
"Most companies that market sunless tanning products are distributors. We opened Chocolate Sun Studio as a research and development facility," said Kimmie.
To begin the treatment, you strip to your skivvies (or less) and wipe down with a mineral oil dampened towel to remove any makeup, oils and lotions that might interfere with the application of the tan. Your therapist will examine your current skin tone and determine how best to tan your skin, before beginning with a light spraying over your entire body. You'll stand in a variety of poses, lifting your arms and turning 360 degrees while your therapist carefully coats your entire body, paying special attention to areas that would naturally see more sun.
The spray is cool, but not cold, and smells pleasant. The room is well ventilated, and Kimmie, my therapist, was chatty and made me feel comfortable. Like your waxer, they're used to seeing naked bodies.
The line has an extensive celebrity following but a strict no talking policy - unless, as Kimmie notes, a celebrity like SATC's Kristen Davis (who used the treatment before filming Couples Retreat) speaks out to the press about how much she likes the line.
Twenty minutes later, my tan was complete, and I already looked darker. The product has a built-in bronzer, so you'll "glow" even as the tan is settling into your skin. Even better? It's got SPF 30, so you're covered until the next time you take a shower. Hard-to-tan areas like the palms and soles of feet had been accurately covered, and there was no telltale orange spotting or distinctive "stop" point - I truly looked like I'd been to the islands for a week.
I headed out into the 90+ degree heat and noticed only minimal color transfer to my clothes, despite the sweat. Instructed not to shower for eight hours and to minimize scruffing, loofah-ing and heavy shaving to maximize the results over the next week, I headed to bed and woke up with only a small smudge on my pillowcase the next morning. The water-soluable solution rinsed right off in the wash, and a small amount of brown was apparent as I showered the next morning. My skin, however, felt great- moisturized and silky smooth. Tan lines that had existed previously were noticably less apparent, and my entire body was bronzed.
Over the next week, countless friends asked how I looked so tan - they knew I wasn't a sun worshipper. After a week, the tan had faded, but didn't transfer (as Kimmie warned it might) to any of my white clothes, even after I sweat through several intense workouts. It's a treatment I'd highly suggest anyone try. Next up? A booked appointment for LashDip. I can't wait to report the results.
I'm hooked, and will definitely be back for a special occasion - particularly during months when I'm not already looking bronzed.
Deacon was given this treatment free of cost, but his opinions are solely his own.