Getting that year-round warm summer glow gets harder as the seasons begin to change. Natural sun tanning is an option that remains unreliable while going to tanning beds regularly might be a hassle for those that do not have the time for it. The solution, however, has been around for quite a while, sadly shadowed by negative stigma. 

Spray tanning has been around since the early 2000s and the early reputation it got for being ineffective and low-cost has unfairly persisted throughout the years. The technology, formulas, and innovation for spray tans have gotten much better and with the right preparation, can be the best method to get that perfect tan.

What is Inside The Spray Tan Formula

The main ingredient in most, if not all Spray Tan formulas is DHA. This colorless chemical interacts with the amino acids of the skin to give the illusion of a consistent tan. DHA is versatile, coming in many different forms, from whole to diluted versions with organic versions being the best for more complete results.

Considering it? Here are Things You Need to Know

  • The Right Salon

Inhaling the spray tan product itself can pose safety concerns so picking the right salon should be the first consideration when it comes down to it. Airy salons with ventilation fans nearby designed to take care of any overspray are the most ideal. Pay close attention to the room itself as well, if there spray tan residue is evident on the walls then it is a very clear sign that the salon is poorly ventilated.

For further protection, ask the technician for an LVLP (low volume, low pressure) machine to lessen the risk of overspray inhalation. Requesting a protective nose and eyewear can also help.

  • Alcohol-Free

Alcohol is a common thinning agent used in most spray tans. This allows the tan to easily be turned into a fine mist for proper application. This can be dangerous in the long term as alcohol can cause the skin to look dry. While alcohol-free spray tan can be difficult to find, it is still recommended to check and verify the alcohol content of the spray tan.

  • Book Sessions A Few Days Before Big Events

The duration of the spray tan is slightly different from person to person and has little or nothing to do with the product itself. The rate at which cells turn over is the biggest deciding factor in how long the tan will last. Younger people have faster cell turnovers which causes the tan to fade faster. As such, the best window to maximize the strength of the tan is two days before any event or vacation is planned. This way, the tan has opportunities to settle in. Avoiding exposure to water as much as possible is also a great way to increase the longevity of the tan

Addressing Common Questions About Spray Tanning

Is moisturizing before a session recommended?

The best way to make the most out of your tanning session is to be careful with the amount of body lotion applied before each session. The lotion can interfere with tan development, however, it is still recommended to moisturize the most commonly dry areas such as elbows, knees, hands, wrists, feet, and the area behind the heels. This prevents any uneven tans.

Will shaving help before getting a spray tan?

Removing body hair and shaving need to be done before coming. Waxing should also be done a total of 24 hours before. This ensures that the follicles have been set and will not interfere with the perfect finish. It is also recommended to exfoliate a few days before spray tanning.

If, however, you decide to shave right before coming then it is highly recommended to avoid using any shaving oils as this can block the ability of the tan to penetrate the skin properly. Splashing cold water to calm the skin is the better alternative.

Do makeup and deodorant interfere with the process?

Keeping the skin cleansed from any makeup, fragrances or products helps achieve that even flawless finish

Are there any specific clothes required for tanning?

It is unavoidable to have the spray tan solution transfer right after it is applied. To avoid having this happen, wearing darker clothes is the best solution. Having looser clothes also prevents any indentations or streaks in the tan that may arise from straps or tight clothes.

How long do the tans last?

There can be many factors to the longevity of a tan, whether it is due to lifestyle, age, skincare routine, and pre and post-tan care. However, it is expected that the tan lasts around 5 to 10 days. The strength and shade of the tan also affect its lifespan of it with lighter applications fading off more quickly.

How soon can you shower after a tan?

A general rule is to wait 4 to 6 hours before getting into the shower. It is also best to avoid sweating, getting wet, or applying anybody product within the time frame. Staying hydrated and moisturized is the best way to maintain the color of the tan for longer. Hot showers and oil baths are also things to avoid.

How can you avoid or fix unwanted streaks?

The biggest cause of streaks and uneven tanning is usually the amount of product. Make sure that there is enough of the product to cover every patch of skin and to avoid over-rubbing. A general rule is to use enough products so that the tan easily glides over your skin.
To fix streaks the best and quickest way is to apply baby oil on the darker area, leaving it for 10 minutes then exfoliate the skin with an effective scrub, damp wash, and finally buff the skin. The baby oil helps with the exfoliation. Another method is to use hair removal cream which can be applied with a q-tip onto the darker area, leaving it on for half of the recommended time.