Spray tans are a great way to spend a little time on yourself, and get a little pampered every now and then, but what is it actually like? The experience can be a little different if you’ve never tried it before, so here’s everything you need to know about what it’s like to get a spray tan.
What is getting a spray tan like?
When you get a spray tan, the best thing to do is relax, as the process is completely harmless, easy, and, if you’re going to a salon, the staff there will tell you exactly everything you need to know, specific to that salon. Nevertheless, it can still be comforting and just easier to know what everything will be like in advance, so you can feel confident when going to your appointment, and so you know what’s going on.
Firstly, there is a specific order and process of events, to ensure that your tanning experience goes just as well as you’d hope, and these are the general steps which are taken, no matter whether you’re getting tanned in a booth, by a technician with a handheld spraying gun, or by yourself or a friend:
- Around 12-24 hours before, you’ll have to prepare the skin for a spray tan, using certain products, such as exfoliating scrubs, exfoliating mitts, moisturisers, razors and anything else you may choose to get yourself a nice foundation for the tan to stick to. You can find out more about preparing for a spray tan elsewhere, but it’s important that you do it, as it can turn your skin into a ‘blank canvas’ and allow the solution to stick more easily, therefore giving you a flawless tan. If you already have old self-tanner or spray tan on, this is removed through the exfoliation during this step.
- If you’ve never visited the salon before, some places like to give you a patch test of the solution 12-24 hours in advance, to be sure that you are not allergic to the product they use, or any ingredients in it. This will just involve them applying a very small amount of product to your foot or wrist and leaving it until your appointment to make sure there was no irritation. Not all salons do this, so you’ll have to find out if yours does and, if you’re spray tanning at home, you may want to do the same with your own tanning solution if it’s brand new.
- When you get to the salon, for your appointment, the staff and technician(s) who will most likely be in charge of you whilst you’re there will talk you through the general procedure and way of working in the salon. If you have any questions, this is the best time to ask them.
- The salon should provide you with some barrier cream and a hair cap, to prevent the tan from sticking to areas it shouldn’t, but they will explain all of this to you and where to put it, when you’re there.
- Now, your tan takes place and, if you’re at a salon, you can just relax, because everything’s in someone else’s hands. If you’re spray tanning at home, and it’s your first time, it might be useful to watch a few YouTube videos to learn about basic techniques for applying the spray tan.
- Finally, you’ll have to wait around 6-8 hours after your appointment before rinsing any excess product off in the shower. During this time, you must not come into contact with any liquids at all, as this can affect your tan and cause it to wash off unevenly. The deepest colour will then develop over the next 24 hours.
And that’s it! It may seem like a lot of information to remember at first, but you can always ask someone to help you or ask them some questions if you’re worried about anything.
Is there a different feeling if you’re getting a spray tan at home compared to a salon?
When you visit a spray tanning salon, you may find that the processes and overall experiences are different to those if you were just to stay at home and use your own spray tanning equipment. There are a few obvious differences which can affect which option you prefer, too.
Firstly, if you use a tanning booth when you go to a salon, the process is incredibly fast, and just involves a few sprays of the solution over your entire body, which is clearly very different from using a handheld spraying gun and going over each area slowly and precisely. Because of the way tanning booths work, your tan will be ready in a shorter time than if you were to be sprayed by a professional tanning artist or by yourself, at home.
If you have chosen to go with the salon to get your spray tan done by a professional artist using a handheld machine, the experience may still be different from that if you were to use a machine at home. Often, the machines that studios use tend to be more powerful than one you might have at home, especially if you choose to get a slightly cheaper one for your personal use. It may also feel different when someone else is tanning you as they may use different techniques or apply the solution in a slightly different pattern onto the skin.
I’m claustrophobic… Is it safe to visit a salon or should I tan at home?
If you’re claustrophobic, a spray tanning booth may not be your best option, as they involve tight, closed spaces that you have to stand in to get sprayed. Luckily, there are other options, and this shouldn’t hold you back from getting the glow you want!
Firstly, not all salons use tanning booths, and some will work by a professional tanning artist spraying you with a handheld gun. In this case, as long as you’re comfortable with someone spraying you, this is a better option to avoid any tight spaces. You should note that these services tend to be more expensive than booths.
If, however, you would rather not be tanned by someone else, you could always purchase a spray tanning machine and solution and learn how to tan yourself. This may be the best option for you, as you’d have complete control, and it also saves money.
I don’t like spray tans… How else can I get a sunless tan instead?
Despite how brilliant some people find the spray tanning experience to be, it’s not for everyone, and some people may dislike the spray tanning process, both at home and in a salon. Don’t fear, because there are other ways in which you can get that gorgeous glowing tan without having to step foot in the sunlight.
If you don’t want to get a spray tan, the best option is to go for a self-tanner. These come in so many different formulas, and some are listed below:
- Self-tanning mousses or foams
- Self-tanning lotions
- Gradual self-tanners
- Self-tanning waters and mists
- Self-tanning drops
If you are taking the self-tanner route, you should definitely have a look into the various different methods, and make sure you know how to use the products, but it’s easy once you’re used to it!
While spray tans are effective for making you look like you’ve just spent a month on vacation, even in the middle of winter, they’re not everyone’s favourite, and there are other things you can do instead. The experience varies slightly for everyone, but hopefully, you have an idea of what it’s like to get a spray tan!