Stress, cold-sweats, and nervousness – these are definitely not the emotions that should be associated with your next spray tan. Surprisingly, a lot of people feel these (and other) forms of anxiety when they’re planning for a spray tan. Whether it’s your first spray tan or your hundredth spray tan, you should never feel anything but happy and excited about getting your next spray tan. Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of helping countless people who were scared – for one reason or another – about spray tanning. Here are the five most common fears of spray tanning and some thoughts to help ease your troubled soul.
1. The Wrong Color
This is a biggie and I get it. More often than not, a spray tan appointment is booked for a special event or occasion. Maybe you have the perfect dress, shoes, bag, jewelry, and just need a beautiful golden tan to make everything pop? Maybe you’re going to a wedding, graduation, bachelorette party, or something similar and want to look perfect for all of those pictures you’re going to be in? Whatever the case, you are nervous because you just aren’t exactly sure what your color is going to look like when the spray tan has set. Right? Well, here are some suggestions:
- Talk to Your Spray Tan Artist. Sound obvious? I know! You’d be surprised how often this doesn’t happen. Don’t assume your spray tan artist knows what you’re looking for, that’s just crazy! Talk to your spray tan artist about your likes/dislikes, desires, and expectations. Let the spray tan artist show you the spray tan solutions they have available. Also, let them explain to you how they will react with your current skin color/tone.
- Make Certain You Understand Everything. “Uh-huh.” “Yup.” “Okay.” – Do these phrases sound familiar to you when someone is explaining something that you just don’t understand? If this is all you start saying when your spray tan artist is explaining the Do’s and Don’ts of a Spray Tan; snap out of it! If you want to avoid huge streaks running down your skin, now’s the time to pay attention. At a minimum, talk about your daily routines with your spray tan artist. This will help you understand what you should and shouldn’t do.
- Trial Run. This one is super simple – just get a spray tan 2-3 weeks before the planned event as a test. A good spray tan will last 6-10 days with proper care and maintenance. Finding a spray tan artist or spray tan salon and getting a spray tan 2-3 weeks in advance of your big event would really take a lot of the unknowns away. You could even use this spray tan to your advantage and go run some errands that will work to your advantage. Like maybe dress shopping! By the time this spray tan fades away you’ll know exactly what it looked like, you’ll have a better idea of how to care for the spray tan, and a lot of the mystery behind the spray tan will be solved.
There’s always a question in the back of your mind when thinking of a spray tan: What about tan lines? Some people go 4 or 5 spray tanning sessions with me before they build up enough courage to ask about tan lines. That’s definitely ok. This is a very personal topic and should only be brought up when you’re comfortable. The bottom line is: we want you to love your spray tan. Spray tanning with a swimsuit and/or topless is as normal as drinking water on a hot day. For the ladies, spray tanning nude is very common. If this is something you might eventually be interested in, go ahead and ask your spray tan artist ahead of time, even if it’s not something you’re planning to do right away. For the guys, spray tanning nude is quite uncommon. Spray tanning artists will each have their own policies on this one. You’ll definitely want to ask ahead of time.
The list of possible insecurities that someone may have about their body is almost limitless. “I’m a size 4 or 14”, “my armpits and legs aren’t freshly shaved”, “I have some cellulite”, and the list goes on and on. Do these sound familiar? Here’s the deal: we’ve seen it all and we’re not here to judge anything. I’ve done hundreds of spray tans, maybe even a few thousand. While I’ve been very fortunate, most spray tan artists have similar numbers. That’s not to say that we aren’t paying attention or that you’re just another spray tan, it’s quite the opposite. Yes, we will be looking very closely and carefully at your body. We will be focusing on the transition between your legs and buttocks to make sure that we apply an even layer of spray tan solution behind your legs. It is important that we take a close look at your belly and sides to make sure that we get an even tan across your waistline. We will be paying attention to the transition between your neck, shoulders, and rib cage to make sure that there is steady coloring as your arms connect to your core. Just remember that our goal is to enhance the beauty that you already possess. You are our client and we will be doing these things so that you love the way you look. Don’t worry, we understand this is one of a few common spray tanning fears.
4. Oompa Loompa Orange
This is often the biggest of all spray tanning fears. Let me be 100% honest with you: yes, it is possible for you to turn orange.
There, I said it. Now, let’s talk about it.
- Ask About the Solution. Spray tanning solutions contain an active ingredient called DHA. DHA binds to your skin and is absorbed by dry skin cells. Once absorbed, it starts to darken the color of your skin and voila you’re tan. Well, that’s not the end of the story. Depending on the amount of DHA (high %, for example) in the solution and the current color of your skin (very fair, for example) – DHA alone may produce an “orangy” tint. High quality spray tan solutions also include erythrulose as an active ingredient. Similar to DHA it binds to your skin, but the color it produces is often more subtle. When these two ingredients are used in modern, high quality spray tan solutions the results are more golden and brown tans instead of that obvious orange.
- Preparation is Key. Not preparing appropriately before a spray tan is one way to increase your risks for an unpleasant tan. A great spray tan is all about the preparation. Check out our Ultimate Guide to Spray Tanning for an in-depth view at how to best prepare for a spray tan. For a quick read, check out our 6 Tips to Prepare for Your Next Spray Tan.
- Know the Problem Areas. The biggest problem areas for most people are their elbows, knees, hands, and feet. Why? As I mentioned earlier, the active ingredients in spray tanning solutions bind to your skin in order to start the tanning process. But, it’s important to note that these active ingredients LOVE dry skin. What are generally the driest places on your body? You guessed it: elbows, knees, hands, and feet. So what do we do? We want to make sure that these areas are well exfoliated. Body scrubs are excellent to use with these dry places on your body. Make you sure you are picking a scrub that goes well with your skin type, whether that may be an everyday scrub, an all-natural scrub, or a scrub for sensitive skin. Additionally, we will want to keep these areas well moisturized. Again, picking a moisturizer that will address your skincare needs as specifically as possible will be the most beneficial for you. Anything from a daily moisturizer, an ultra-deep moisturizer, or even an intensive care body lotion, can keep your dry skin in these areas as hydrated as possible. There are also some wonderful spray tanning barrier creams and non-specific but equally effective thick moisturizing creams that work to prevent the over absorption of solution in these tricky areas.
5. What about My Face?
This is one of the most common spray tanning fears. It makes total sense, your face is – well – your face. Not knowing what color it’ll turn is a big concern when spray tanning for the first time, when trying out a new color palette, or when trying a new spray tan artist or salon. Not only are you going to be curious about what the final color will be, but you want to make sure that you have the right shades of makeup available for your new color. That paler foundation won’t do you any good now that your entire body has a golden hue. Here are some tips:
- Limit the Spray. Talk to your spray tan artist and request that they use a very light mist for our face. The artist will do this by either adjusting the airflow on their equipment, spray your face from a further distance, use a lighter solution, or something similar. They key here is to talk to your spray tan artist so that they understand your concerns.
- Don’t Spray your Face. This one is pretty self-explanatory – ask your spray tan artist not to spray your face. The issue with this is that you’ll need to find a way to match your body’s skin tone with your face’s skin tone. Matching this may be difficult but can be solved by mixing up a custom foundation shade cocktail.
- Makeup. Having makeup on your body during a spray tan is a big no-no. It creates a barrier between the spray tan solution and your skin. Makeup is generally not placed evenly on your skin. This uneven layer of makeup may cause a splotchy and patchy coloring on your skin. However, if you’re very concerned about the color of your face during a spray tan you may consider carefully placing a very thin and even layer of foundation on your face.
- Self-Tanners. I know this is about spray tanning, but there are some wonderful slow acting self-tanning solutions available. A facial self-tanning serum or for a softer look, a mild facial self-tanning drops are excellent ways to customize and match the color of your face for self-tanners. Not only are they slow acting, but they contain a great collection of moisturizers that are great for your skin. These items have very similar active ingredients, but in much smaller quantities. This’ll help make sure that your color tone will be similar, but they intensity of the color will be much lower.
Hopefully this article helps alleviate some of your spray tanning fears, especially if they’ve been keeping you from getting your first spray tan! Getting a spray tan is truly a lot like getting your hair colored. It’s scary if it’s your first time ever, first appointment with a new stylist, first time trying out a new color; I mean everyone will see it once you walk out the door! BUT, I’m willing to bet that you are open and honest about what you want and I’m pretty sure that your hair turns out looking pretty damn dope and your spray tan will too! The biggest thing to keep in mind is that open communication is essential to getting the best end result possible. Your spray tan artist is in the business of making your tan perfect for YOU!
What are some of your biggest spray tanning fears? Post your thoughts in the comment section below.
If you still feel a little uneasy or are just 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!