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1960s artificial tanning solution

In the early 1960s, an artificial tanning solution called Miss Mantan turned this teen orange.

Miss Mantan artificial tanning solutionIn the early 1960s, you could buy artificial tanning solution called Miss Mantan. It was a moisturizing foundation that was supposed to make your skin look as if you’d been out in the sun and acquired, as the advertising put it, a “glow that won’t rub off.”

As a young teen, my mom, wanting to impress a boy she liked, picked some up at a drugstore. When she got home, she smeared it on her arms and legs. Sometime later, Mom discovered, to her horror, that the tanning solution had dried unevenly. Streaks of orange went up and down her lily-white skin.

When Mom’s sister Birdie saw her older sibling’s unfortunate ­dilemma, she remarked, “It looks like you’ve got jaundice!” After that, Mom’s brothers and sisters teased her without mercy.

For the following few days, Mom dressed in long skirts, knee-high socks and turtleneck sweaters. One day another student wearing the same getup stopped her in the hallway. The classmate said to Mom, “I see you’ve been using Miss Mantan, too.”        

Carl G. White • Napa, California

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Norbert Schwarzer November 7, 2011 at 9:39 am

I can’t get to the Nov. 2011 hatpin contest..
What happened????
Thank You


john November 7, 2011 at 10:39 am

For the November contest, make sure you’re clicking on the “click here” for Reminisce Extra (not regular Reminisce). For the October/November contest, go to the “click here” for Reminisce.


Georgette November 12, 2011 at 7:30 am

I remember a similiar tanning product called QT (Quick Tan) I used it once when I was a junior in high school. One of the rules in an all girls Catholic high school at the time was no makeup. During one of my classes the nun asked me if I had makeup on. I insisted I did not. She brought me into the lavatory and made me scrub my face. I guess she finally believed me when afterwards my face was still orange along with splotches of red from the scrubbing. I am so glad today’s products have improved so much!


debbi gerecke November 13, 2011 at 12:24 am

i had the same problem, but i had also applied it to my face!!!….even worse: the stuff turned my skin bright orange!!…and it colored the palms of my hands too, from rubbing it on the rest of me….seemed like it took forever to wear off!


Kittie December 9, 2011 at 3:27 pm

I used something similar once, I don’t recall the name, only it would wash off. I got caught in a down pour one day going back to work from lunch. Every where a drop of rain had hit my skin there was a spot….I worked the rest of the day looking like a leopard. After I got home it occurred to me that I could have just washed the rest off.


Art Woosley May 27, 2012 at 9:54 am

I too used Man Tan back in the 1960’s. I was pulled out of school class and ordered to the nurses office with suspected jaundice. I explained what I had applied but no one would believe that was the problem. I was quaranteened for two days till the lotion effect wore off.


Sarah March 25, 2014 at 2:15 pm

I used Coppertone’s QT (Quick Tan) as a teen, turned my skin and hands bright orange and smelled like rotten eggs, definitely not the “look” I was going for at 14. Wore off over time in uneven patches.


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