Hollywood is on Orange Alert.
Attendees of the Golden Globes and the Oscars were so bright with bronzer and sunless tanner, viewers of the awards were practically forced to put on shades.
While beauty experts say a bronzed, pink or peachy face is the “in” look for spring and summer, they also say some stars, including Charlize Theron (search) and Sandra Bullock (search), have taken the look too far.
“Everybody wants to look tan, golden and sexy, especially now that spring is coming. But some are going overboard,” said Sephora makeup artist Mally Roncal, who works on Beyonce Knowles (search).
Roncal says naturalness is the first rule to a good fake bake.
"If the first thing you say when you see someone is ‘Whoa, she’s tan,’ that’s not a good thing. When I saw Charlize Theron at the Oscars, that was my first thought."
Roncal added that too much sun-from-a bottle doesn’t necessarily promote a healthy effect, either, as it suggests time spent soaking up rays.
"Even though we know — or hope — it’s self-tanner or bronzer, it’s still alluding to sitting in the sun for three days," she said. "Beyonce is African-American; we make her very tan and very golden, but it’s in her genes."
Elycia Rubin, fashion director for E! network, likes the sunned look, but thinks some stars are heading into "creamed doughnut" territory with the frosty brown makeup.
"J-Lo was overly bronzed at the Globes. But it’s more noticeable when they are normally pale. Charlize has fair skin. Sandra Bullock looked very bronzed, yet really beautiful," she said. "I’ve also seen it on Christina Aguilera, on Britney, on Paris Hilton."
Cosmopolitan magazine beauty director Rachel Hayes Gayle thinks bottle-bronze is a good trend gone bad.
“To go for the fake tans instead of the UV beds used to be a sign of being very smart about your skin," she said. "But just like when anything catches on, everybody started getting oranger and darker and oranger and darker."
Gayle has observed that most celebs are actually toning it down now, but some, like Tara Reid, are still overdoing it and could use some pointers.
"Charlize was a little too muddy, too unnatural at the Oscars. The natural and nude look is very popular now, but you need to define brows, put color in the hair, especially in blondes, and use some bronzer to contour cheeks or you look too flat."
For non-celebs who seek a bronzed glow but don't want to look like a failed science experiment, Gayle said there are several new products that do the job well.
"[They] have just a little bit of self-tanner," she said. "These are great because you can use them every day until you kind of build up to the color you want, because they’re so mild. You won’t really see a goof if you do goof."
As for bronzer, Gayle said there are a few guidelines.
"Only go for a really shimmery one at night. During the day, put a bronze blush any place the sun would hit. For the J-Lo look, put bronzer on, then top it with peach blush only on the apple of your cheeks for a healthy, realistic sun-kissed glow."
But even though these tans are fake, some women are still offended by the suggestion that brown equals healthy.
"I resent the implication that I have a responsibility to maintain a deeper skin tone than is natural and I have somehow made myself pale through failing to look after myself," said New York City research scientist Anna Upton.
Upton, 28, thinks that while some actresses pull off the look, others look strange.
"I thought Sandra Bullock looked gorgeous, and I think the tan was key in making Charlize look incredible and emphasizing what an amazing transformation she underwent to play the role in 'Monster,'" she said. "The tanned people who annoy me are pop stars and 'real' people who are perma-tanned all year-round or orange like Britney."
But come summertime, Upton said she too will hit the self-tanner bottle.
"I use fake tan quite a lot in the summer even though I am not sure how safe it really is to cover oneself in chemicals. So I guess I so succumb to the pressure in the end," she said.