Best Spray Tan Solutions
Skin

10 Best Spray Tan Solutions

I got my start in spray tanning after graduating college. I was a stay at home mom, with 3 young kids, definitely needing some extra cash and wanting to do something that allowed for flexibility in my schedule and was a service that I could feel good about providing to others. The number of spray tan solutions has grown tremendously as spray tanning has become increasingly popular. When I first started spray tanning (myself and others) I had nooooo clue what made a good or bad formula, what ingredients I should look for and what ingredients I should avoid, the list goes on. One thing I did notice however was the complete lack in comparative information for the different solution types. So I figured I’d do a little PSA on the 10 best spray tan solutions that I have personally used and ranked them accordingly.

Spray Tan Solutions 101

Once you’ve properly prepared yourself for a spray tan the type of spray tan solution being used is the next most important thing.  But, what makes a good spray tan solution?  This is really a difficult question to answer because there are so many different variables to consider like skin type (oily, dry, …), skin color (fair, tan, …), and even the look that the tanner is going for (a slight glow, bodybuilding competition, …).  Understanding that one spray tan solution may potentially look different on each person sprayed – we developed the following criteria to measure different spray tan solutions:

  • Coverage – How evenly does the spray tan solution stay on the body
  • Drying – How smoothly does the spray tan solution dry on the body
  • Color – How even does the color remain on the body after a single pass
  • Texture – How tacky or smooth does the spray tan solution feel on the body
  • Tone – How natural is the tone of this spray tan solution once dried on the skin

All told, I’ve honestly lost count of all the different spray tan solutions that I’ve used throughout the years but I do have my regulars on rotation that I know give desirable results. I’ve narrow down the top 10 spray tan solutions by results and have rated them based on the criteria previously described.  After applying the above listed criteria to grade each solution, here is the ranking of our Top 10 Spray Tan Solutions:

Top 10 Spray Tan Solution Picks

1. Norvell Double Dark Premium Sunless Solution – 4.9 out of 5

This is the highest ranking spray tanning solution out of all the different solutions I’ve tried and tested.  It is wonderful to work with in a professional setting as well as for private use.  This spray tanning solution is incredibly easy to work with because it isn’t runny, it applies very evenly, it’s color palette and tone are always consistent, and dries quickly.  The scent on this spray tan solution is pleasant, but does still have a hint of a spray tan solution’s scent.  About the only negative attribute of this solution (which is consistent across the board with all solutions we’ve tested) is that the texture is slightly “tacky” on the skin when dry. 

Here are the scores for the Norvell Double Dark Premium Sunless Solution:

CategoryScore
Coverage5
Drying5
Color5
Texture4.5
Tone5
Total4.9

2. Norvell Venetian Sunless Solution – 4.8 out of 5 (Tied for Second Place)

2nd place is a tie between this and the next spray tanning solution.  While the specific colors are different in both of these solutions, their attributes for use were virtually indistinguishable.  Application with a spray tanning machine was smooth and effortless, the color remained consistent, and it dried evenly. I’ve also had success with applying this solution using a foam padded glove applicator. Just like the highest ranking solution, this solution dried with a slightly “tacky” feel on the skin which is quite a common feature.  While the tone of this solution has a very natural appearance on the skin, we found a slight variability when used on different skin types.

Here are the scores for the Norvell Venetian Sunless Solution:

CategoryScore
Coverage5
Drying5
Color5
Texture4.5
Tone4.5
Total4.8

3. Norvell Dark Premium Sunless Solution: 4.8 out of 5 (Tied for Second Place)

Again this was a tie for second place between this and the previous spray tanning solution.  While the specific colors are different in both of these solutions, their attributes for use were virtually indistinguishable.  Application with a spray tanning machine was smooth and effortless, the color remained consistent, and it dried evenly.  Just like the highest ranking solution, this solution dried with a slightly “tacky” feel on the skin which is quite a common feature.  While the tone of this solution has a very natural appearance on the skin, we found a slight variability when used on different skin types.

Here are the scores for the Norvell Dark Premium Sunless Solution:

CategoryScore
Coverage5
Drying5
Color5
Texture4.5
Tone4.5
Total4.8

4. Norvell Ultra Vivid Color Collection Cosmo Professional Spray Tanning Solution: 4.7 out of 5

This spray tan solution is very easy to work with and keep track of the spray patterns and contouring with a variety of different spray tanning machines.  The color palette with this spray tanning solution was also very consistent and even.  This spray tanning solution had the standard “tacky” feel against the skin when dry.  The tone for this solution was very natural looking on most skin tones, but there were a few cases where the tone had slight variances on different skin tones.  There were also a very small collection of instances where very slight splotches formed when drying on corners of the body like elbows, knees, etc.  While these splotches may have occurred due to improper preparation, it was the first time a Norvell product showed this feature.

Here are the scores for the Norvell Ultra Vivid Color Collection Cosmo Professional Spray Tanning Solution:

CategoryScore
Coverage5
Drying4.5
Color5
Texture4.5
Tone4.5
Total4.7

5. Norvell Original Professional Premium Sunless Spray Tan Solution: 4.3 out of 5

The coverage for this product is top notch, it’s very easy to follow as the solution is sprayed and is very conducive to contouring a body.  This solution has a slight “tacky” feel that I’ve mentioned on all previous products as it dries on the skin.  The solution dried evenly, but showed slight signs of unevenness on curves of the body like the armpits and behind the knees.  The tone of the color was very natural looking, but more than any other Norvell product we’ve used, it showed variations on different skin types.  This product had the highest number of requests for a second pass.  This may be explained because the color for this solution is very subtle when compared to other Norvell products (like the Dark and Double Dark colors) and the client may not have understood exactly what that meant when this solution was selected.

Here are the scores for the Norvell Original Professional Premium Sunless Spray Solution:

CategoryScore
Coverage5
Drying4
Color4.5
Texture4
Tone4
Total4.3

6. Belloccio “Opulence” Ultra Premium DHA Sunless Tanning Solution with Dark Bronzer Color Guide:  3.9 out of 5

This product was very controllable out of the spray tan machines, but did show some very minor speckling as the solution made contact with the skin.  This solution dried smoothly on the skin with very few instances of unevenness around corners of the body like armpits and elbows.  The color is very consistent, but in some cases required a second pass from the spray tan artist.  The slight “tacky” feel was clearly evident on the skin when the solution dried.  The tone was natural on the skin, but there were instances of the product fading away unevenly as time passed.

Here are the scores for the Bellocio “Opulence” Solution:

CategoryScore
Coverage4
Drying4.5
Color4
Texture3.5
Tone3.5
Total3.9

7. Tan Envy European Blend 9.5% DHA Sunless Airbrush Spray Tanning Solution: 3.8 out of 5

This product worked well with spray tanning machines, but did show some signs of speckling on the skin as the solution made contact.  The tone is very natural looking for many skin types and the color remained consistent.  There were requests for multiple passes with this brand, but that may be attributed to the clients not being familiar with the 9.5% DHA content for this product.  This product dried very evenly on the skin, but the “tacky” feeling was evident on the skin.

Here are the scores for the Tan Envy European Blend:

CategoryScore
Coverage3.5
Drying4
Color4
Texture3.5
Tone4
Total3.8

8. Fake Bake Original Airbrush Tanning Solution: 3.2 out of 5

This is a great overall product to use and provides a very smooth color across the skin.  However, this product does not tend to be as forgiving as the previous solutions when applied to the skin.  There were a few instances of speckling and less than a handful of instances where streaks became apparent.  The drying time is similar to other products, but it’s important to ensure the first shower isn’t taken too soon or you may experience a more rapid color fade.  The “tacky” texture is apparent on this product as it is with every other solution.  The tone is very natural looking which is very appealing, but care should be taken to ensure that your skin fades evenly.

Here are the scores for the Fake Bake Original Airbrush Tanning Solution:

CategoryScore
Coverage3
Drying3
Color3.5
Texture3.5
Tone3
Total3.2

9. Blackberry Fragrance 14% DHA Premium Sunless Solution: 3 out of 5 (Tied at the End)

This is a decent product to use with a spray tanning machine, but extra attention needs to be taken during application.  Body corners and curves like the armpits and behind the knees may streak if an overspray event occurs.  The “tackiness” is apparent on the skin soon after application.  While the color was very consistent on the skin, in some cases the client was surprised at how dark the color became after the first shower.  This product contains 14% DHA which may not have been understood by the clients.  However, this product is often requested specifically for the higher concentration of DHA.

Here are the scores for the Blackberry Fragrance Premium Sunless Solution:

CategoryScore
Coverage3
Drying3
Color3
Texture3
Tone3
Total3

10. Rapid Tan Bronze Sunless Airbrush Spray Tanning Solution: 3 out of 5 (Tied at the End)

This product is great to use out of a spray tanning machine, but the solution itself is a bit thicker which requires some getting used to at first.  The solution begins to feel “tacky” very soon after it’s applied to the skin.  This is a rapid tan solution which means that it is designed to develop color on your skin in a short period of time.  The longer you keep this solution on your skin before your shower the darker it becomes.  There are differing recommendations based on skin type and color from the manufacturer that should be adhered to for best results.  There were some instances when the clients were surprised at the final results of their tan with this solution, but this may be attributed to showering too early or too late after the solution was applied.

Here are the scores for the Rapid Tan Bronze Sunless Airbrush Spray Tanning Solution:

CategoryScore
Coverage3
Drying3
Color3
Texture3
Tone3
Total3

Do Your Research!

It can definitely be overwhelming trying to decide which spray tan solution to go with because let’s be real, they aren’t cheap and you want to be confident when you hit that ‘checkout’ button. The best piece of advice I can give you when looking for any type of spray tan solution is to do you research on the ingredient list and keep an eye out for the DHA levels, the higher the level the darker the tan!

Hopefully this article has given you some insight on the things I look for when testing out solutions. Some companies will allow you to order samples of their different solutions so you can get a preview before you commit to an entire bottle. Everyone’s skin is different and will react as such so it’s important to understand your skin type when trying to determine the best solution needed for the desired tan outcome.

What do you think about the solutions that I recommend, have you tried them with success or tossed them in the trash after one use? There are always new products being released by various companies so  if you have any suggestions, definitely let me know in the comments!

Interested in learning more about the do’s and don’ts of all things spray tanning? Head over to our most inclusive article The Ultimate Spray Tanning Guide for all the goods!

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