Since spray tans are one of the services that I'm trained in, I thought I'd share my knowledge with you. Whether you're using a self tan at home or going to a salon to be professionally spray tanned, you can still get the best out of it. At the end I'm also include the instructions before a spray tan and tips to help it last longer, just in case your therapist has missed something.
So firstly, the thing you need to know is that all false tans stick to the horny layer of skin (no sniggering at the back please!) This is the top layer of skin that you are constantly shedding and replenishing. You should be advised by your therapist to exfoliate 24 hours before your tan. The reason for this is that it gets rid of any build up of dead skin cells but gives your skin enough time to replenish what is lost so that you have just the right amount for the tan to react to, giving you a more long lasting colour. Once you know this you'll probably be as puzzled as me that some premium brands offer an exfoliation as part of their procedure directly before your tan. It will still develop but won't last as long.
All self tan products contain dihydroxyacetone (DHA.) DHA is a colourless sugar that interacts with the dead cells in the horny layer. It always makes me laugh when people try to say that something doesn't have that 'typical fake tan smell' because it mightn't at first but you will always get that scent to some degree because that's the DHA working it's magic.
Now if you have any dry areas on your body like your elbows and knees, the therapist should provide you with a barrier cream to smooth a thin layer over those parts so that the tan doesn't cling too much. If you're tanning at home the best thing to do is to mix 50% of your tan to 50% moisturiser in those areas to lessen the colour. This trick has always worked brilliantly for me. I do generally do this also for my hands if I'm using a tanning lotion as there's nothing worse than having patchy hands.
Once your tan has developed as per the guidelines, it's important to know that oil breaks up tan. I'm a big fan of body oils but if it's going to lose me my newly bronzed colour than I will steer clear of it. Also shaving is a form of exfoliation so if you try and do of this beforehand or even better, waxing (which would need to be done at least 24 hours prior to false tanning) it will help keep your tan even.
If you're nervous of getting a spray tan, don't be. I know you're potentially stood with a limited amount of clothes on with a stranger, but all they're concentrating on is making sure they've followed the correct procedure and covered you evenly with the solution. If anyone shows signs of nervousness with me I tell them straight 'look I'm looking at you like a fence panel that I need to get all areas,' I normally get a giggle out of them.
So onto the preparation before your spray tan:
* Exfoliate 24 hours before
* Shave or Wax 24 at least hours before
* Apply polish to your fingers and toes to prevent staining
* Ensure you arrive with no make up, perfume, lotions, oils or deodorant on
* If your hair is long, bring something to tie it up with.
* Wear lose clothes for when you leave.
* Wear older underwear
After your spray tan:
* Do not use oils (body, hair, cleansing)
* Avoid the rain / any types of splashing whilst developing.
* Blow your nose so that the colour doesn't give you a shock later!
* Try to not wet the backs of your hands when washing them whilst the tan develops.
* Avoid touching underwear / whatever you tanned in or your skin for a while.
* Wipe over all nails to remove any excess solution.
I just wanted to add a little bit on the end of this post about spray tans. I have people contact me and ask me the price but no one ever asks me what brand I use. I suppose that's because if you're not in the industry you wouldn't know what was good but you can easily find out online!
If this spray tan is for an important event, a prom, a wedding etc then you really should ask around what's good. Use social media to your advantage "Who knows somewhere that does good spray tans?" The amount of times I've had people say to me "I had a spray tan once and it was orange..." There is a vast difference between each brand in terms of colour and lasting power. For the sake of a pound or two wouldn't you rather have a golden brown natural colour than an orange toned solution used on you? If I said to you "50p more and I'll do you a 7 day tan over a 3 day" one you'd jump at the chance I'm sure!
For reference I use Nouvatan which is currently a UK produced and based company. This post isn't sponsored by them, in fact I shalt even be telling them it exists. For each treatment I offer I research the best brands I can find and on colour and staying power Nouvatan won hands down.
I hope this post was useful to you, I've tried not to miss anything out!! I've you've made it this far - thanks so much for reading !