FAQs about spray tanning

Section 1. How does Spray Tanning work?

Your skin is sprayed with a fine mist of brown liquid via a tanning gun, which is left on for a few hours. It’s not the most attractive description, but neither is what happens to our skin after hours in the sun! A naturally derived chemical in the tanning solution reacts with your outer most layer of skin in those hours, which causes a browning look.

But if you want to get technical, DHA or Dihydroxyacetone – found in all tanning products – is a colourless sugar derived from sugar cane. DHA reacts with the amino acids in the top, dead layer of skin cells causing a darkening/brownish effect.

Erythrulose, (a natural keto-sugar similar to DHA in composition) also reacts in this way, and helps the DHA further form brownish polymers. It also helps give an even coverage and longevity to the tan.

The darkness of a fake tan is dependent on the amount of DHA in the solution, however this can also lead to an orange tan if too much DHA is used (more on this below).

Soo…will I turn orange?

The general reason for those orangey, fake tans is because Miss or Mr Ompaloompa is wandering around wearing a tanning solution which is wayyy too dark for their skin type.

DHA is a powerful tanning ingredient and – as mentioned above – comes in different strengths or percentages. A higher percentage (14% is the maximum) doesn’t necessarily mean a deeper tan.

If you have pale skin, you should be using a tanning solution which is a light to medium solution. If you have olive skin, you can probably handle the darker solutions.

Other reasons for turning orange is using a cheap, inferior product with bad quality ingredients and/or which aren’t properly measured & balanced to work together.

Obviously I don’t want this for you, so you can rest easy knowing I’ve done the research and only use organic, premium solutions to give my clients natural looking tans.

You can also go a little on the orange side if you leave solution on for too long! Yes, even if it’s the proper colour for your skin – some clients leave their tans on overnight &

What colour/depth of fake tan should I have?

I will assess you on your booking and give you the best possible shade for you skin type.

Many of our customers achieve a noticeably natural, sun-kissed tan using our medium tanning solution.

As a rule of thumb, a fake tan should only be between 3 – 5 shades darker than your current colouring. This is the equivalent to about 8 sessions in solarium or proper sun-tanning.

What about uneven, streaky tans?

There are a few reasons streaky tans exist  :

The tan isn’t applied evenly – Anyone can become a tan technician, but it takes practise & artistic skill to apply the right pressure and placement of the tanning spray to evenly cover the  body so it looks natural. I’m always careful not to overspray or under spray (especially on dry areas like hands, knees & feet), and apply strategic colour to mimic a natural sun tan. I always allow you to dry properly before putting your clothes back on.

Being overly sprayed – 1 – 2 coats of a spray tan is all our skin can absorb. Sometimes it’s tempting to ask for a 3rd coat, but it won’t be absorbed by the skin and can create an uneven look.

Not exfoliating properly prior to tanning – Exfoliation before applying tan is extremely important to create an even canvas for your tan to develop & last! (I’ll explain more about this in Section 2- What to do before a tan).

Oils & residues on skin prior to tanning – Certain oils or residues on the skin, (further mentioned in Section 2 : What to do before a tan) can result in the streaky development of a tan.

Low-grade ingredients – The ingredients of the solution are inferior, and/or don’t contain proper ingredients.

Sweating, scrubbing, shaving, rubbingSweating just after your tan application can “wash” it off before it’s even developed. Sweating can sadly also make a fully developed tan slip & slide off the skin.

Obviously scrubbing is a no-brainer for getting rid of dead skin cells, and due to those cells     being tinted/tanned – bye bye tan!

Shaving will sometimes take off a small layer of skin, and along with that, your tan.

Rubbing – often the first places your tan will get rubbed away is where tight pieces of clothing sit – underwire & straps of bras, undie lines, the inseam of jeans & leggings, sandal straps, etc.

6.   Chemicals – Face creams & cleansers, soap, chlorine, some moisturisers can sadly erode away at your tan. (More about this in “How to care for your tan” in Section 4)

7.  Sleeping in your tan or leaving it on for too long – if you sleep in your tan, you will wake up with great scenarios (and by great mean heinous!) such as a white hand-print on your leg, and a very dark hand where your more absorbent hand has soaked up it’s own tan and the place on your leg it was resting on!

Similarly, leaving a tan on for longer than it’s supposed to be could result in an orangey tinge due to an overdose of DHA on the skin.

Erythrulose, mentioned above assists the DHA to develop evenly, however pre-tan care plays a huge part in guarding against a streaky, uneven tan.

Why Spray Tan?

Spray Tanning is a nifty little invention and does this amazing stuff –

  • Eliminates our exposure to & damage from UVA or UVB rays
  • A cheap alternative to dangerous sun-beds (not that anyone should use them)
  • Our solutions can nourishes skin like a proper skin treatment
  • Reduces the appearance of cellulite, stretch marks, scars, bruises & veins
  • Evens out previous tan-lines
  • Creates a slimming & toned affect
  • Evens out skin tone, reducing the need for make-up and creating a healthy glow
  • Makes eyes & teeth appear whiter

How long does it take?

Spray Tan application takes about 15 mins. Development time aka. the time you must leave the tan on so it can develop unhindered, takes 2 – 5 hours depending on what product you’ve chosen. We usually use a 2-hour development solution, however some of our clients choose to leave a tan on for up to 5 hours. After this time you may shower.

How long should my tan last?

Your initial full-strength colour will be glowing away for 3- 4 days. After that it will start to fade with the natural shedding of skin cells. By the 7th day your tan should be 2 – 3 shades lighter than your normal skin tone.

Many tanning salons claim their tans last for up to 10 days. I could say that too – and it’s definitely possible if you do all the right things – but we can’t stop the natural exfoliation process or the every-day rough & tumble our skin goes through.

More on how to prolong your tan in Section 4 : How to look after your tan

Is spray tanning safe?

Yes, DHA has no known toxicity and is approved by the FDA. It has been used in food and cosmetics for almost 30 years. Residing on the outermost layer of the skin, it’s not absorbed through the skin into the body.

Erythrulose, (found in raspberries) has undergone standard and well-defined safety testing, proving the product is non-toxic and safe for cosmetic use. My tanning solutions are among the safest in the market and contain natural & organic ingredients that are actually a skin-friendly treatment as well as a tanning solution.

Please ask for a list of ingredients if you have skin allergies, (including allergies to Aloe-vera & Macadamia Nut oil which is used in some solutions).

Can pregnant or breast-feeding women be spray tanned?

We’ve Spray Tanned pregnant clients before, and have colleagues who have pregnant customers, experiencing no complications. Thus far there haven’t been any cases to prove Spray Tanning is dangerous. We recommend consulting your doctor,  and if possible obtain a written consent form.

What about Asthmatics?

Severe asthmatics should refrain from Spray Tanning or seek medical advice prior to booking. Ventilation masks can be used or fans to help clear air otherwise a longer session may be required to let air settle between sprays. Please let your technician know so they may factor in extra time.

Can any age group have a spray tan?

Of course! We have sprayed a range of people from all age groups. Having a tan gives everyone a healthy glow. We require the signature or presence of a parent or guardian for those under 18.

Can medication affect a spray tan?

Some strong medications, including anti-depressants and steroids can affect skin’s pH balance, making it difficult for the DHA to react with it, resulting in an uneven and patchy tan. In rare cases, the tan may not even develop! I recommend checking with your doctor if you are unsure what affect your medication has on your skin.

Section 2. Preparing for your tan

Because DHA only affects the outermost cells of the epidermis, there is a strong emphasis on exfoliation prior to your spray tan. The thicker the layer of dead skin cells, the sooner the tan will rub off, and can become streaky & patchy. Exfoliation causes a newer, more solid layer which takes a lot longer to be scuffed off.

Exfoliating :

Baths are great to remove dead skin cells, but if you don’t have time, set aside a good amount of time to scrub all the dead skin away using a loofah, exfoliation glove, pre-tanning mitt, or a oil-free scrub.

Please do not use a scrub that will leave your skin oily or greasy before your appointment – the oil will stop the tan absorbing and developing!

In the shower pay close attention to exfoliating dry areas and parts that bear constricting clothing such as bra lines, bikini line, underarms, ankles, feet & toes, hands, knees, elbows, etc.

So when should I have this exfoliating shower/bath?

Preferably a couple of hours before your appointment. Your skin will be a little sensitive after all that scrubbing, so it’s good to let it calm down a little before we apply the tan.

If you’re coming from work, that morning or even the night before is fine.

Please wash away make-up, moisturiser, oils, deodorant before you arrive for your tan.

Please pay special attention to anti-perspirant deodorant. It reacts with the tanning solution, leaving a tell-tale greenish tinge. This isn’t permanent, but it creates a slight barrier for the tanning solution, which may result in a patchy underarm.

Shaving or Waxing

Waxing must be done 24 hours prior to your spray tan.

Shaving should be done a couple of hours at least before your tan appointment.

When you wax, you are exposing the hair follicle, meaning the tanning solution will sometimes sit in the pore, and darken, resulting in tiny spots all over your legs/arms, bikini line, however this is sometimes inevitable and cannot be helped (I myself shave right before I do my tans sometimes, and get the little darker dots on my legs, but it’s hardly noticeable).

What about my nails – will they go brown?

Nail polish helps protect any possible staining of finger and toe nails, however we always apply barrier cream to fingers and toes for protection.

Section 3 : What happens at your tan booking

What do I wear when having my tan?

It’s totally up to you – most of my clients wear a g-string, some wear a bra and undies, and many of them wear nothing at all. If you’re looking to show off a strapless long dress, you may not be bothered about a full-underwear tan line, but if you’re going on a tropical holiday and don’t want any tan lines, it’s totally fine by me if you want to wear nothing.

What do I wear after I’ve had my tan?

Bring dark, loose fitting clothes such as trackies, maxi dresses, soft shorts, loose tees & singlets, etc.

Bras will wear away at your tan before it’s had a chance to develop, resulting in a patchy tan, so if you can, let the girls go free for a few hours. 

You may also like to bring a towel to sit on in the car seat.

Your clothing will get a bit of the initial colour on them, but it is water-soluble so it should wash out of natural fabrics (wash ASAP after sleeping in or wearing), but will stain synthetics. Generally I recommend wearing clothes you’re not precious about.

Footwear: Bare feet or slippers, thongs or soft sandals. Shoes and socks are not recommended.

What happens when I arrive at my booking?

You will be warmly greeted by myself where I will take you to the ground level of my house, to a custom-made tanning room I commissioned specially for you guys! It’s very private with it’s own access.

I’ll show you into the room where you can undress privately and store your clothing & jewellery safely. I’ll give you a shower cap to protect your hair, which you’ll look stunning in!

Then I pop some barrier cream on your elbows, hands, feet and knees so they don’t soak up tan, making them get darker than the rest of you, and stay nice and even.

I turn my spray tan machine on and spray you to an even, toasty shade of bronze!

Payment : I change $37 per tan, and cash would be lovely!

I will discuss with you how long you should leave your tan on, but as a general guide:

  • for the 2-hour solution (which I only use), I advise clients to wash off after 2 hours if they want a lighter tan
  • To leave it on for 3 hours for a more solid colour
  • Up to 5 hours for a darker tint (however beware of the possible orange tint that we spoke about)

Section 4 : How to look after your tan

The next 2 – 5 hours after your tan…

The immediate colour you see is called the colour guide. This could be blue for all the good it does. It’s designed to be bronze so you feel like you’re an instant golden goddess, and I can see how evenly covered you are. This will come off on your clothes, but don’t worry, it is not the real tan. The real tan will have already absorbed and will be working it’s magic!

Avoid strenuous activity causing you to perspire and resulting in an uneven tan. Limit exposure to water, such as dishwashing, laundry, washing hands (be careful not to wet the top of hands). We recommend washing hands with a damp face cloth & soap so you have control over where the water goes.

Showering after the development time:

Shower after 2 – 5 hours, using a gentle shower gel or soap and lather skin with hands or a soft puff (stay away from the ingredients listed on the table Other things that affect your spray tan).

You may be surprised to see the brown colour guide washing away, and your skin looking as though nothing has changed. This is normal. Your tan isn’t meant to develop fully within the couple of hours after application, and the colour guide is meant to wash away.

You can now go about your day or night, knowing your tan will keep developing over the next 12 hours.

Please be gentle with your skin when drying yourself (after this shower and every shower). Pat dry skin with a soft towel, and moisturise immediately.

When will my tan be fully developed?

After about 7 hours you will be merrily bronzed, but will keep developing a golden tan for sometimes up to 24 hours.

This is why I recommend getting a tan 1 or 2 days before you want it/for your special event.

Moisturiser :

You must, must must keep your skin moisturised at all times with a fake tan! Dry skin is more likely to flake off, and create a patchy tan, so keep your skin well nourished so the tan “sticks” for longer!

Be careful with moisturisers which contain lots of chemicals as they can erode your tan. Stick to the naturally based ones for best results.

Waxing and shaving :

Waxing is not recommended during the life of your tan. Shaving, if done lightly and quickly, using a sharp razor, (and infrequently as possible) will not affect your tan too much.

As mentioned in table of “General factors that affect your spray tan’s life & quality”, if you stay away from those factors and keep moisturising your skin, be gentle with it when you dry yourself after a shower or swim, you and your tan should have a very happy life together!

Please call me  0421 655 405 if you have any questions about anything at all.

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