Avoiding Common Spray Tan Mistakes

Dec 12, 2023

Achieving the perfect spray tan requires careful attention to detail as well as proper prep and aftercare. Unfortunately, without the correct knowledge and guidance, clients may experience unfavorable results such as, uneven color, streaks, or an unnatural appearance. As a spray tan artist it’s your job to relay the vital information to each client before and during their appointment so they can be aware of how their portion of the sunless tanning process will affect the way their tan turns out. Without this information, clients could unknowingly do something to disrupt the process or development of their tan. When it comes to spray tanning, the artist must rely on the clients to do their part of skin prep and care, however it’s also imperative that each artist takes it upon themselves to be educated and skilled in their craft.  In this post, we'll explore these common pitfalls that can take place when proper sunless practices are overlooked so that you can provide your clients with a flawless spray tan experience at each and every appointment.

Mistake 1: Skipping Exfoliation

Proper exfoliation is the key to a smooth and even tan. Exfoliating the skin thoroughly before a spray tan session to remove dead skin cells is crucial to creating the perfect canvas for the spray tan solution to develop on. The entire body should be exfoliated, however, focusing on areas with dry skin, like elbows, knees, and ankles will help those parts of the body to develop more naturally and ensures the tanning solution adheres evenly, preventing patchiness or overdevelopment of color.

Mistake 2: Ignoring Skin Preparation

As we mentioned above, spray tanning is a 50/50 game, which means the client has to do their part in prepping their skin in order to achieve the best results. Proper skin prep involves avoiding lotions, oils, and perfumes the day of your spray tan. Each client should come to their appointment with clean, exfoliated skin that is free of any product that could act as a barrier to the spray tan solution. When a barrier is created on the skin with the use of lotions, perfumes, makeup or deodorant, it hinders the tanning solution's absorption which can cause uneven results. 

Mistake 3: Nail Prep and Hair Removal

Clients should plan to set all of their extra beauty appointments at least 24 hours before their spray tan. If the client has planned to get a mani and pedi, it should be done the day before their spray tan to avoid premature fading of the tan. Additionally, if a client has a nail appointment the same day as their spray tan, it could leave residue from lotions, oils or scrubs on the skin that could affect the way the spray tan develops. When it comes to hair removal, such as waxing and shaving, client should plan to take care of this prep prior to their spray tan because hair removal practices typically will exfoliate the skin and remove the tan more quickly. 

Mistake 4: Incorrect Application Technique

Achieving a natural-looking tan requires proper application and a skilled technique. When you’re the spray tan artist, you should do your due diligence in getting properly certified so you are educated on how to create the best results for a client with a five star technique. In most cases, for best results, artists should spray an even stream of solution about six inches from the body moving in steady, sweeping motion. Pay attention to even coverage, while being aware of certain areas of the body that could oversaturate such as the hands, feet, elbows and knees. 

Mistake 5: Neglecting Post-Tan Care

Once the spray tan is complete, it’s up to the client to follow proper post tan care instructions. Clients should wear loose, dark clothing immediately after their appointment during their development to prevent the solution from rubbing off or smudging. Clients should also follow the correct rinse and shower time instructions and avoid any excessive sweating while waiting for the tan to fully develop. Once the spray tan is fully developed, clients should be conscious about reducing any extra exfoliation to the skin, such as patting dry after showers, bathing in hot water, and sweating. In order to prolong their color, staying hydrated and moisturizing regularly will benefit the longevity of their results.

Mistake 6: Choosing the Wrong Solution

Selecting the right tanning solution for each client’s skin type is crucial for achieving a natural looking tan. Consulting with your client and analyzing their natural skin tone should be done to  determine the best formula for their complexion. Choosing a solution that is too dark for a client’s natural skin tone could cause a result that looks unnatural or pulls orange. 

Being aware of these common mistakes and implementing the correct knowledge in order to steer clear of these potential issues will allow each client to experience a flawless spray tan. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don't be discouraged if it takes you time to get your technique down. With a bit of patience and attention to detail, you'll master the art of spray tanning and be able to build a flourishing sunless business that offers a radiant glow to all clients that choose you as their spray tan artist.