So you want to glow with a perfect sun-kissed tan that lasts for days and won’t wash off in the shower, but you don’t want to spend hours in the sun or make multiple visits to a UV-tanning bed?
You do have other options and they come in the form of self tanning or spray tanning solutions derived from a simple sugar that creates a bronzing reaction in the skin.
However, if you’re seeking the most flattering, flawless, and natural-looking all-over tan, you’re most likely to achieve it with a professional application than a self-application at home. Tanning techs, for instance, are experienced and trained in the process. Plus, it’s difficult to see – and reach – every area of your body to apply the self-tanner evenly, just as it can be difficult to reach that itchy spot on your back.
Most tanners also find professional-tanning formulations to provide superior color results, with a much wider palette of shades and greater customization to an individual’s personal coloring than self-tanners found on a store shelf. Paying more, in this case, does lead to better results, according to most discriminating beauty-tanners. The premium professional formulas also tend to smell nicer.
In addition, trained tanning techs have worked with such a wide variety of clients that they’ve gained insight into the type and shade of tan that will create the individualized glow to suit your needs or the occasion.
Tans applied professionally in salons, spas, or studios come in two forms, each with its advantages: airbrush-spray tans and automated spray-tan booths.
Airbrush tans are hand-applied by tanning technicians with airbrush technology. With the airbrush “guns,” they spray a fine mist onto the client. The advantages of hand application are many. Tanning techs can, for instance, manipulate the airbrush to “sculpt” the tanner’s body, minimizing problem areas with subtle shading and playing up muscle definition. Airbrush tans generally cost more than spray-booth tans, so the customer does pay for this individualized attention.
Some tanning clients prefer what they consider the privacy of a tanning booth since all-over tanning does involve at least some disrobing. Tanning-booth visits generally cost less than airbrush tans, but since tanning techs usually counsel tanners – wisely – to choose a lighter shade on their initial visit, then pay a repeat visit if the results aren’t dark enough, some say the cost sometimes evens out.
In spray-tan booths, multiple nozzles eject a fine spray to cover the tanner’s body. The tanner must move around in a specified choreography so the solution evenly spreads over their entire body. The tanner is directed when and how to move by a tanning tech, or by written instructions, or by a computerized voice activated in some tanning-booth systems. Some customers report that they enjoy what they consider the sci-fi aspect of a spray-tan booth.
Both types of spray tanning involve formulas that contain the same active ingredient that conjures up that seemingly sun-basked radiance on your skin: dihydroxyacetone (DHA), a simple sugar. DHA needs time to activate, so normally three to five hours will pass before a golden tan begins to dawn on your skin. It may take from five to 24 hours for the coloring process to complete. Still, some salons offer “express” tans that can completely develop in as little as an hour.
And since spray-tan booths often combine the tanning spray with a bronzing spray, you actually can step out of the booth glowing with an instant, all-over tan and readymade look. You don’t have to wait until the DHA activates on your skin to look flawless.
Whether tan seekers choose an airbrush application or a spray-tanning booth, today they can easily achieve that lovely sun-kissed tan without the sun or the sunburn!