ASHLAND Samantha Gilliam-Brust has a calling: to make people feel better.

As a nurse at King’s Daughters Medical Center, she is able to help them physically, and with her side business, she can help them feel better emotionally.

Gilliam-Brust of Greenup owns Bronze Glow, a spray-on tanning business different from most such businesses in the area, she said.

For one, there is no automation.

“Some people are scared of airbrush. I do it by hand,” she said. “Lots of places have booths you just walk in, but you can’t get in every little nook and cranny like you can with airbrushed.”

She said she determines your skin type to determine what solution to use and how heavy to apply it.

Clients can come to Gilliam-Brust’s house or she can come to their house.

“I have a pop-up tent and I set it up and they step into the tent,” she said. An application takes about 30 minutes and the tan lasts five to 10 days, depending on whether the client takes proper care of the tan and the rate of exfoliation of the client.

“Some have told me it lasts up to two weeks,” she said, adding maintenance includes drinking plenty of water and moisturizing twice a day.

To offer such a tan without the orange tint, the Sandy Hook native had to receive special training.

“I took training with Isabel Alysa Vita, who does the Kardashians, Jennifer Lopez and other celebrities in L.A.,” she said, adding she also had training from Erin Tietsort, who also provides airbrush tans to celebrities. “The solution I use is not like anything you can buy around here. It’s very expensive and high-quality, so it looks a lot better and more natural and there's no risk of turning orange unless you have certain skin issues.”

She added an airbrushed tan is safe, until tanning beds and tans obtained in the sun.

“I just see so many girls with skin cancers at a young age and it’s because they’re baking in the sun and laying in tanning beds,” Gilliam-Brust said. “I got older and became a nurse and realized how dangerous it is. ... It’s unbelieveable how many women have little spots they need to get checked out that don’t know about it.”

The business, which Gilliam-Brust started in October, was hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It's really unfortunate,” she said. “Business was starting to pick up there and then you can't do anything. Now, it's starting to pick back up again, but it’s still slow.

“People are nervous about it and this isn’t a priority right now.”

She said her business is adapting to the continuing restrictions — she wears a mask and gloves and she sanitizes her tent after each client.

Having a nice tan might seem like a frivolous pursuit, but Gilliam-Brust said it serves an important purpose — for clients and for her.

“It gives you an instant confidence boost,” she said. “And it makes me feel really good if I can do something small for them. There are things you like to do for yourself, and getting a tan is one of those things. It's a stress reliever.”

(606) 326-2661 |

Recommended for you