Spray Tanning Prep

Recently I had a new client who was coming in for her first airbrush tan with me after having issues with a tan from another technician, so she was asking for SUPER detailed instructions on how to best prep for her tan to make sure it would turn out perfectly for the wedding she was in that upcoming weekend. Now I absolutely love when people ask questions because I love educating my clients on how and why the things they do affect the outcome of their services! Since I know sometimes people are hesitant to ask a bunch of questions because they think they’ll be a bother or that their questions are silly (both of which are not the case so fire away with those questions!) I thought today would be a great opportunity to dive into more detail about how to properly prep for your airbrush tan and how these steps can affect your results. This lovely lady followed all of my prep instructions, and the text she sent me the following day said exactly what I love to hear: “I had no issues AT ALL, and it looks gorgeous!”

spray tan prepCome Clean: I’m talking squeaky clean. For your airbrush tan, the most important thing is for there to be no products on your skin that will block your solution from developing evenly. This means NO moisturizer, makeup, deodorant, or any other products on your skin. These products can all cause physical barriers that will prevent your sunless tanning solution from actually making contact with the skin where it needs to be. Some products will straight up block the solution all together, while others will result in your tan developing splotchy wherever it was able to get through. Both are not results we want. The other big risk you run coming in with products on is turning green. Yep, green. The biggest culprits for this are deodorant and antiperspirant, which often contain ingredients that will oxidize the bronzer in spray tan solution and turn your skin (temporarily) green. While the green tint will go away, you’ll still be left with a patch of skin without a tan due to the product blocking the spray tan from developing. Sweat and perfume can also react with the solution to give a green tint, which is why you always want to come in as fresh as a daisy for your appointment. Be sure to do a thorough rinse with water at the end of your shower to get off any residue from body wash, shaving cream, or conditioner. My recommendation to clients is to try to shower about 2-3 hours before their airbrush tan. Since that’s not always doable, I provide all-natural baby wipes to freshen up prior to an appointment. I also prep all of my clients with the Sjolie pH Balancing Spray, which helps to remove product residue to help accommodate all of my girls on the go. But remember: the cleaner your skin is, the better your results will be! Always try to plan your tans for a time when you’ll be able to come in a few hours after a shower when possible.

Exfoliate: This step is what can really take your tan to the next level. The evening before or morning of, you want to do a thorough full-body exfoliation to get off any dead skin and make sure you’re showing up with a smooth canvas to be sprayed. Dry, dead skin tends to hold more pigment, causing your tan to look blotchy and too dark in certain areas. You all know I’m a huge fan of the body scrubs by Roses n Rosé, so that’s always my choice to get my skin primed and ready for my spray tans! Other methods that will do the trick are a dry brush, scrubbing mitt or louffa to slough off dead skin to ensure that your tan develops deeply and evenly. Make sure you pay a little extra attention to areas with thicker skin like elbows and knees, as well as anywhere else that your skin tends to be excessively dry.

body scrubHair Removal: In my opinion, waxing or sugaring before a tan is the absolute best way to go. If done a few days before your spray tan, you won’t have to worry about shaving for the duration of your tan, which will help it last longer. Waxing and sugaring needs to be done prior to your airbrush tan, otherwise the tan will get stripped off. For waxing and sugaring, you’ll want to schedule those services 24-48 hours before your tan. This gives your skin time to calm down to reduce the risk of irritation. Another reason to give yourself a good window of time between these appointments is that your pores can be a bit opened up immediately after having hair follicles pulled out of them. If your spray tan is applied too soon after this, the solution can settle into the pores, giving them an enlarged look. For shaving, you really just need to factor in irritation and product residue. Shaving cream is well known in the sunless tanning community for preventing a tan from developing on the legs. It should be washed off with a sulfate-free body wash and then thoroughly rinsed to make sure there is no residue sitting on the skin preventing those legs from getting bronzed up! I’ve definitely been the girl who forgets to shave the day before and does so right before my spray tan, but it always results in massive irritation for my sensitive skin. A better bet is to wait and shave the day after once your tan is already rinsed off.

Moisturize The Days Before: Now except for the actual time of application, a spray tan’s worst enemy is dry skin. While you want to make sure you are moisturizer-free when you come in to get tanned, you want to make sure to keep your skin super hydrated in the days leading up to your appointment. This is especially important for people who have dry skin to begin with to avoid the “speckled” look that can happen if skin is too dehydrated.

Proper After-Wear: This isn’t necessarily a prep step, but definitely something you need to keep in mind heading into your spray tan! Fitted clothing, tight waistbands, snug bra straps and close-toed shoes are all things you need to avoid putting on right after your tan is applied. All of that friction can rub off your solution before it has time to develop. Always opt for something loose-fitting and dark to put on afterwards, as well as sandals to avoid giving yourself an artificial sock tan line.

airbrush tanningThese steps are everything I could ever possibly hope and dream that my clients would do prior to their tan. If these steps are followed, you should have the perfect airbrush tan every time! I always send out an ultra-condensed version of these steps prior to a client’s first tanning appointment. If you have any other questions or feel you have a special circumstance, please don’t be shy to reach out with any other questions, specifications, or clarifications. Now go get prepped to step into the tanning tent at BLT Beauty!

Thanks lovie!



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