All About Spray Tanning for Beginners

The dangers of UV light are becoming all too well known, and according to the CDC skin cancer is now the most common form of cancer found in the US. And although many people still want a beautiful tan, they are realizing that it’s just not worth the risk of wrinkles and cancer. If you choose to protect yourself from UV, it doesn’t mean you still can’t have the perfect summer glow. The spray tanning industry has exploded within the past few years and there are tons of options for those seeking that sun kissed look. What was once associated with orange faces and streaky clothing has now become a billion dollar industry that offers hundreds of products and services.

Sunless spray tanning can be done in three ways; in an automatic-spray booth, by an airbrush tanning professional, or with self-tanning products. Here’s the low-down on each to help make the choice easier!


Automatic-Spray Booth

Price: Automatic-spray booths are very affordable. A typical tanning salon will charge about $20.00 to 30.00 per individual spray, however you can buy monthly spray-every-day packages for as low as $20.00 per month. Also, many salons like Planet Beach and Zoom Tan run specials that offer single session sprays for a discounted price.

Time: These sprays are quick and easy. The average spray only takes about 10-12 minutes, including undressing and finish time. However, many places don’t take appointments so if you go during peak time you may have to wait longer than usual for an available spray booth.

Tips:    It may take a few tries to get comfortable with the automatic booth, and you may find some parts of your body don’t get sprayed evenly. One size doesn’t always fit all, so feel free to adjust your body once you get used to how the nozzle sprays. If you’re looking for a darker tan, try standing an inch closer to the spray nozzle than directed.


Professional Airbrush

Price: Getting a professional to airbrush your tan can be expensive. Prices range from $45 to over $150. Any business claiming to do them for cheaper may not deliver a great result, so do extensive research and listen to online reviews. These operations should be clean and reputable!

Time: These sprays typically take up to 20 minutes and sometimes longer. The air brusher may want to consult first about what type of color you’re looking for, and specific instructions on how you want your hands and feet sprayed. The majority of airbrush salons require appointments, and many get booked in advance.

Tips:    Set realistic expectations. Spray tans will never be as perfect as a real tan, so don’t be surprised if your $80.00 spray doesn’t come out exactly how you want.  If you’re spending this much money on a spray, make sure you don’t get ANY water or rain drops on your body when you leave the salon or you will have streaks!



Price: Self-tanning products range anywhere from $10.00 to $100.00. They come in mousses, gels, lotions, sprays and clear liquids, and the results differ from skin-type to skin-type. The downside of self-tanning is that sometimes it can take a few tries to find the right one.

Time: Doing your own application at home means you’re in charge of your tanning schedule. You don’t have to worry about getting to a salon by a certain time, and applying before bed is usually the most convenient option. Once you get comfortable with applying, it should only take about 10-15 minutes.

Tips:    Buy a soft tanning application mitt, and don’t forget to use the other side of the mitt to buff certain areas like your elbows and wrists (this blends hard lines for a more natural look). Also, buy a different product for your face because self-tanning products that are meant for the body are usually too dark for the face.

And finally, some general tips for sunless tanning:

    • Wash and exfoliate your skin right before you apply or spray
    • Wear loose clothing
    • Wash your hands and bottoms of your feet after spraying
    • Don’t get your tan wet for at least 6 hours
    • Wait up to 24 hours to shower after spraying if you want to be extra dark
    • Moisturize for a longer lasting tan. Try Jergens Nourishing Honey Lotion for extra smooth skin!
    • Get on a tanning schedule and plan ahead!

Looking for great fashion finds to wear with your beautiful tan? Check out our Fashion page at Daily Mom!

Sources: THE EPA, The CDC, StatistaAll About Spray Tanning For Beginners



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Aaren is a mom of three fur-babies and a lifetime partner of a wonderful man. She is passionate about fitness, healthy living, writing, and not always doing what's expected. Aaren spends her days enjoying the Florida sunshine and water, fishing, working out and spending time with friends and family. She hopes to travel more in the years to come and share everything she learns along the way.

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