Thursday, December 12, 2013

What does a PH Balancer Do? How can using a PH Balancer affect my skin? Are PH Balancers Safe?

I know, right? I’ve been trying to figure this out too. I’ve looked up information on several websites, but all I’ve found is stuff like, “It magically makes your tan better” or “apply this before your spray tan for great results”, but it never goes into why or how.

To go into what a PH Balancer does, you have to first learn about your skin.

There is a layer of your skin called the “Acid Mantle”, which is basically a shield on the top of your skin that prevents all the crud that surrounds us every day from destroying our skin. So because of this our skin has an acidity level of about 4.5-5 (1 being most Acidic like battery acid, 7 being neutral, and 14 being an Alkaline like toothpaste). 

Quick note: Alkaline means that it is not acidic (don’t feel bad I had to look it up too).

So what does a PH Balancer do?

Supposedly, a PH Balancer is sprayed on your skin to make it more acidic so that an alkaline solution doesn’t turn you orange as easily—the issue here of course is: anything that goes on your skin before a spray tan can actually prevent the tan from setting as well as it could. It would be like putting on foundation, but then applying a clay face masque. 

So why would a spray tan company be trying to convince you to purchase products that could actually hurt your tan?
Now, I'm not saying that they are trying to intentionally harm your spray tan--they might not even realize that they are sabotaging themselves!

Worse still, if you are using a solution that needs a PH Balancer, then the solution is alkaline and can dramatically damage your skin (see the Doctor Oz article below).

How can using a PH Balancer affect my skin?

I urge you to follow this link and read for yourself, but I have also included the most relevant piece of the article.

"PH and Skin Care
The epidermis is protected by an external layer of tightly knit cells arranged like shingles on a roof. Any disruption to the acid mantle, elevating overall skin pH, interferes with this protective barrier, wrenching cells away from each other and results in dehydration, roughness, irritation and noticeable flaking. Skin is left defenseless and susceptible to further environmental damage.

A rise in pH plays mayhem with our natural infection prevention, further increasing the risk of infection. Once the pH exceeds 6.5, bacterial invasion increases dramatically, a loss of normal skin integrity results and a variety of skin disorders such as eczema, psoriasis and irritant contact dermatitis flare."

Basically, any product that fidgets with your PH levels could end up being bad for your skin. Now, I really doubt that if you use a PH Balancer that your skin will erupt into an acne storm or will start flaking really fast, but it is definitely something to be aware of if you start noticing more rough patches or drier-than-usual skin.

So what's the final verdict?

Instead of a PH Balancer, just get a spray tan solution that is ready to go without needing any "magical unicorn spray" which doesn't even do anything anyways.  

Instead of a company that's trying to tell you how much you "need" their product: do your research, ask questions, and find a company that gives you the information and lets you make your own decision.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

8 Common Spray Tan problems, and how to fix them!

There are already so many misconceptions about spray tanning, so let’s do our best to make sure that we are not adding to any of these harmful stereotypes! Just like with sun tanning, spray tanning is affected by the choices that you make. A sun tan can look healthy, or it can look terrible depending on what you did (stayed out in the sun too long, put on sunblock in patches); similarly, a sunless tan can be ruined by not tanning correctly, or it can look natural and beautiful. 

Check out the pictures below, and learn about how each of these problems can be easily solved.

Improper Technique

1. Spraying too close to the hands and feet can turn them orange because they soak up more DHA than other parts of your body 

The Fix: Spray 8-12 inches away from the body, but with hands and feet use a “feathering” motion to pull back the gun and only allow a very small amount of solution to reach these more sensitive areas.

Fun Fact: The outermost layer of the epidermis consists of 25 to 30 layers of dead cells. The process by which these skin cells call off is called desquamation!

2. Uneven tan/missed spots 


The Fix: have a technique that ensures that you are spraying in easy swathes instead of coloring lines across your client like you potentially could with the narrow spray of an airbrush. Also, start with one coat: this way you can adjust on the second coat to deal with any overlooked spots. 

3. White lines along the knuckles, the side of the thumb, and elbows can be easily avoided

The Fix: Have your clients bend their arms to smooth out their elbows, and make a claw with their hands as if they are sizing up a grapefruit.

Fun Fact: The grapefruit is an 18th-century hybrid first bred in Barbados!

4. Very Obvious Hairline from hair caps or hair nets 

The Fix: Have the client keep the cap just a little bit above their hairline, if they even want to use a hair cap at all. With a solution that doesn’t stain, there is no reason for a hair cap, but the best thing to remember is simply to keep the cap about half an inch up so that the hairline gets tanned.

5. Tanned finger and toe nails 

The Fix: This is fixed in the same way that the hands and feet can be prevented from becoming saturated in DHA: simply feather away from the hands and feet as you normally would and the nails will remain unaffected.

Fun Fact: Cutting your nails after dark was once considered bad luck!

Deodorants/improper exfoliation 

6. Client applied deodorant/lotion/moisturizer before their spray tan, didn’t exfoliate under the arms, or applied deodorant before the spray tan had set. 

The Fix: When you rinse off on the morning before your spray tan, make sure to carefully exfoliate under your arms and remember not to apply deodorant before your spray tan or until it has set.

Fun Fact: In Ancient Egypt, women would place globs of scented wax on their heads that would slowly melt throughout the day, spreading the pleasing scent as well as masking the smell!


7. Hair hadn’t been completely cleaned of shampoo (causing it to drip onto the shoulders) or hair was cleaned after the rest of the body. Because the shampoo drips onto the shoulders it can cause a barrier between your skin and the spray tan solution and can end up looking spotted or runny.

The Fix: Shower the night before your spray tan using shampoo. Be sure to rinse your hair completely. The morning of your spray tan (Keep in mind to shower a few hours in advance rather than only an hour ahead of time!), rinse your hair again and then exfoliate your shoulders, neck, arms: basically start from the top of your body and work your way down.

Fun Fact: During the early stages of shampoo, English hair stylists boiled shaved soap in water and added herbs to give the hair shine and fragrance. Kasey Hebert was the first known maker of shampoo, and the origin is currently attributed to him, 1.

Over Spray 

8. Discoloring the top or bottom of your feet


The Fix: Check out my article about how to combat over spray for how to stop this from happening! Generally, this is caused by either using a heavy solution or the fact that your gun is allowing too much solution to flow through.


9. Barrier Creams, Gun Problems, and Client-Related Issues

The Fix: Please see my article: Top 4 reasons a spray tan does not set properly

Remember: If you are using a well-formulated solution and applying it using a tested technique, then the only time you should see any of these problems is on this page! 

1. Shampoo history found at:

Monday, December 9, 2013

How to create an effective Call To Action, and other tips

We all know that the winter can be a slow time for spray tanning. It’s pretty hard to compete with snow storms, bitter cold, seasonal affect disorder, less daylight, and holiday shopping. It is hard, but not impossible.

Create Calls to Action

A Call to Action (CTA) is an effective tool for getting people thinking about and being more involved with your business. Essentially what a CTA does is:

1. Promotes your business or an aspect of your business

2. Reward people for: following a link, clicking “like”, calling you, or walking into your store

3. Actively engage your target audience rather than passively sell to them

A CTA makes people feel like they are involved in the selling process, and are not just a sounding board for your marketing.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you can just have a link on your webpage that says, “Call now for a discount!” There are several things you need to do to make sure that your Call to Action is received rather than ignored.

√ --Design

When it comes to advertising for your business you have to walk the fine line between something that looks nice and something that is over the top. You want it to stand out, but you don’t want to blind someone with a neon yellow “click here” sign. Be tasteful and think about what colors represent:

√ --Value

If you just have a big, beautiful button that says “Click Here” I guarantee that not many people will click on it. They need a reason to click, to call, to walk in. Entice them with information that they might not know, or a deal of some sort. “Click here to learn the top 4 reasons your client's spray tan didn’t work” is much better than, “Click here for our webpage”. It is giving a sense of accomplishment for clicking, and rewarding them with information.

“Call today”--- Why should they go out of their way to call?

“Call today and order one of our 5 drinks for your next visit”--- Now they have a reason, a reward, and they are setting up a visit (which of course means more business for you).

√ --Be Clear

Nobody likes being made a fool of 

If you have a link that says: “Seven amazing foods that could reduce belly fat” you better be real sure that you aren’t just trying to get them to follow the link so you can sell them a Shake Weight. Very few people respond positively to being tricked into a sales pitch.

Here is an interesting fact: people are more likely to purchase something if you get them to say “Yes” rather than “No”. By responding to a CTA, a person has already said yes. They’ve accepted what you’ve asked by clicking on your link or calling you—now all you have to do is smile and make them want to come back again.

So you got them in the door with your Call to Action, but have you made sure that your business is designed in a way to keep them coming back? Look through the following segments and make sure that your business isn’t hurting itself!

Look at the salons, spas, or other mobile businesses in your area—check out their webpages, look at their Facebooks, if possible talk to their clients or stop in for a chat at their salon so you can see what they are doing.

Think this is being sneaky or underhanded? You honestly think they aren’t doing the same to you? It’s not being a snoop; it’s just conducting research as a business person: you are looking into services provided and trying to discover if there is a niche that needs to be filled.

Once you’ve discovered what other salons are doing—do something different. This should seem like a no-brainer, but I’ve talked to countless business owners that see something and instantly begin copying it. I’m not saying it’s a bad idea to adopt new things into your business, but if you are trying to get noticed then the last thing you want to do is put up a big sign that says ,“Nothing New Here!”

You want people to be excited about your business. It’s hard to achieve that if you aren’t willing to step up your game. If the salon next door is offering a BOGO sale, don’t offer a BOG2 sale—offer a free sample of one of your more expensive skincare products.

Build a Community

Want to really stand out in the crowd? Get people talking about you. Word of mouth is, hands down, one of the best referral systems in the world. Why? Compare these two:

A billboard is a giant piece of wood and metal that has wallpaper with advertising on it.

Your best friend tells you about this new place she just tried out, and she loves it and can’t wait to bring you!

See the difference? A billboard is…just a billboard. Word of mouth is so incredibly effective because it is an endorsement with a strong emotional connection. Just make sure they are saying good things!

Building a community is not just about increasing your business. It’s not having a Facebook page or helping someone choose which services they want that determines if they return to you. It’s about realizing that your customer is a human being. I know this sounds ridiculous to have to point out, but it’s something that many businesses start to overlook. 

Sometimes your client doesn’t want to be upsold. Sometimes they just want to sit down for a few moments, chat like old friends, get their manicure or facial or massage or hair styling or spray tan, and forget that they have a million things to do today.

What hurts your community more than anything in the world? Bashing other salons, spas, businesses, products. 

Be Bronze Sunless Tanning using an Aviva Labs Miami City Tan

No-brainer tips: Have staff that are well educated in all aspects of your business, that can communicate that information, and that are respectful, helpful, and passionate rather than “working for a paycheck”.

Cheaper Does Not Mean Better 

McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s, Popeye’s, and all fast food places all have one thing in common: they are inexpensive.

McDonald’s has a dollar menu, but is that really the “feel” that you want your business to have? Now think about a high end restaurant. Usually what they do is feature an entrĂ©e or a specialty drink: they aren’t discounting anything—they are boasting about the high quality of their food.

I work hard for my money so I know that I would rather go to a more expensive salon and try out a product that they are recommending rather than to a salon that seems to be cutting corners.

That is the important point to take away here: you are not selling retail, you are recommending products based upon your expertise.

I know that some of these may seem pretty obvious, but the important thing to remember is that no one is too successful to go back to the basics once in a while, to think about their business and make sure they are still providing the same quality service.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Top 4 reasons a spray tan does not set properly

You are the professional in your field. Your customers come to you because they trust you; that trust could be broken if it seems like your spray tanning is not producing the results that you promised. There are several ways that a spray tan could be damaged, and what’s especially frustrating is that some of it can be out of your control. You can tell your clients to exfoliate until your face turns blue, but if they still won’t exfoliate then really there is nothing you can do beyond warn them that their choice will affect the length of the tan they receive. 

Keeping your clients and yourself well-informed is a huge step towards making sure that you are providing the best spray tans possible. Here are five, easy-to-fix issues that could be effecting your spray tan. 
A great example of a perfect tan, sprayed by Be Bronze

1. Barrier creams

History of Barrier Creams

Back in the Dark Ages of spray tanning, there were these giant booths that sprayed every single person in the same way. There was no personalization at all. So many things could go wrong: if you put your hands the wrong way, or stood incorrectly, or didn’t have your ears outside the hair cap, or were “too tall” so that the spray didn’t reach the top of your shoulders correctly, or accidently rubbed your barrier cream up your arm, or touched the side of the booth when you were coming out, or…well you get the idea.

Thought: what if you started sneezing during the automatic spray tan? That would certainly turn out interesting!

Because these booths sprayed every person in the same way, people used barrier creams on their hands, feet, elbows, and anywhere else that DHA could soak in more easily. This was an okay stop-gap measure, but it was by no means perfect. For one thing, it is rather unpleasant to have to “gel up” before tanning; for another, many tanners found that they were accidently rubbing off parts of their tan while trying to remove the barrier cream after tanning.

Today: if you are using a spray tan gun then barrier cream is not needed.

There is no need for a barrier cream because you control how close or far away you are spraying, thus you are able to control how much an area is sprayed with. What you have to do is make sure that you are not spraying the hands and feet at the same distance that you spray the rest of the body. What I have found is that many people still feel like they need to use barrier creams, but it is all in your head! “Feathering” the gun back from the hands and feet will easily solve what barrier creams turn into a chore.

How to solve: Don’t use it! You don’t need it!

2. Moisturizers and other skincare products

Moisturizers, creams, soaps—we aren’t telling you not to use these! Please do! Taking care of your skin is one of the many important facets of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. But if you use them before a spray tan, these same beneficial products can be a real waste.

Anything that can get between you and your tan can create a barrier. This can include moisturizers, soaps, shampoos, shaving creams, skincare ointments—anything that could leave a residue on the skin.

Why don’t I want anything on my skin before a spray tan?

Because the DHA in a spray tan needs to be able to react with the Amino Acids in your skin. If there is something that will interrupt that process by not allowing the DHA to come in contact with those acids then the spray tan will not set to 100% of its ability.

How to solve: Only use moisturizers and skincare products after your tan has set and preferably after your first shower.

3. Gun Problems

Sometimes you can sabotage a tan and not even know it.

If your gun hasn’t been recently cleaned it might only allow the spray tan Bronzer to spray out and not the DHA (bronzer is lighter and so could “sneak out” through a clog while the heavier DHA is left behind). Check out this link to watch a one minute video on how to clean your gun!

If your gun is turned up too high it could literally be causing the solution to bounce off your client’s skin. This of course would stop a tan from setting properly. To fix this problem, simply read our Spray Gun troubleshooting guide 

4. Your Client showered or went swimming too early

Sometimes we Humans can be impatient—probably why I burn my mouth when I’m making French Fries. If your client doesn’t allow the solution the proper setting time then there is no way that their tan will fully develop. Make sure that you have been very clear about how long they have to stay dry for.

Other than showering or swimming too early, there should be no reason why you can’t enjoy a dip in the pool—just be certain to moisturizer and use tan extenders afterwards to counteract the drying effects of the chlorine.

Note: I’m not sure about hot tubs—we still have to try this out (shucks, we have to hang out in a hot tub!)

Check out what an amazing spray tan looks like!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

How Do I Clean My T100X HVLP Spray Tan Machine Filter

If you can’t remember the last time you cleaned your spray tan machine’s filter then I’m telling you now that it is time to clean it. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean some huge instruction manual or hours of blood, sweat, and tears. The filter can be taken out, cleaned, and put back in a matter of a few minutes.

Why clean my filter?

If your filter is clogged it could prevent airflow through your machine. This means that your spray gun won’t get the air pressure it needs to properly “fire” the spray tan and it could end up spitting on your customers—not exactly my idea of a good time, but to each their own.

How often should I clean my filter?

Well really that depends: Generally I say that a filter should be cleaned every one or two months, but if you are super busy (awesome!) then you may want to clean it more often.

Where is the filter?

The filter is located on the underside of the compressor, and is located more towards the slender end of the machine.

What do I need?

A flathead screwdriver is the easiest way to pop the filter out of the housing, but really you can use anything.

Then simply rinse with warm water--how easy is that?

You can view other helpful videos here in our library

And if you have any more questions please don’t hesitate to call and we can trouble shoot it with you over the phone.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

10 ways to get spray tanning clients in the winter

There is really no reason for your business to slow down in the winter, if anything it should increase. Going to a salon or spa or having a professional come to your home is a wonderful way to break up the monotony of the dreary winter months. So how do you get people thinking about your business, how do you get them to treat themselves to a relaxing day in quite possibly the busiest of seasons? When put that way, it shouldn’t be so hard should it? Here’s a list of ideas you can use to get people thinking about coming to see you.

1. 12 Days of Christmas -- different special each day

This is a good technique for getting different groups of people in. Obviously your clients are not going to come to each event, but certainly there will be something that appeals to them. Maybe you offer a massage and a spray tan, or a facial and a hair styling, or maybe it’s as simple as a free holiday-themed drink when they come in. Anything that gets their attention will work. 

2. Spend $XX in December and receive Y

For example: get a spray tan and sign up for a second spray tan, then receive a certificate to tan for FREE in January. This could be something that your client either keeps or could use as a great gift to a neighbor, family member, friend, boss, etc. In addition to rewarding a loyal customer, it also gives you the potential to gain a completely new client!

3. Christmas Cards/Holiday Cards

This should be a no-brainer. If you haven’t been doing this, then you really need to reconsider! This doesn’t even have to be a physical card (E-cards or emails would work too), but I guarantee that your clients will appreciate it. Note: if you aren’t sure about certain customers, sending a “holiday” card rather than a specific “Christmas/Kwanza/etc.” card is the safer route to go. Even if your card doesn’t include any discounts or BOGO sales it’s still a nice gesture that will make them think of you in the future. 

4. Winter Contracts and memberships

Create a discounted contract specifically for the December, January, and February. Call it the Snowed-in Special or something catchy, and promise a beautiful subtle tan and moisturizers or a massage to ease out those stress knots from holiday shopping and walking along icy sidewalks. Contracts are great because it means that: 1. A person is compelled to come in more often (thus strengthening your relationship) 2. If they miss a month for whatever reason, they are still paying you a monthly rate so you don’t lose out. 3. If they are willing to sign a contract then they are most likely going to continue signing up with you. 

You could also offer Prepaid memberships at discounted prices: buy ten months and get 2 free or 20 tans get 5 tans free. These are the same idea as the contract. Sure you may be selling them a service at a discounted price, but you are still making more money than if you didn’t sell it at all. 

5.Offer a lower price 

REALLY work to make this in your favor. For example - rather than offering your clients one month at half off--offer two months or a spray tan and a lotion at 50%. This idea is because if you take 50% of 30 dollars it only comes out to $15 savings, but 50% off of 100 dollars is a $50 dollars savings. And that’s what you have to sell them on. 

The more they buy, the more they save. Sell them on the savings, not the percentage off. You want them to think about how much money they could be saving if they purchased more—it looks bigger the more things they buy, and makes you seem even more generous without even doing anything extra. 

6. Add value rather than lower prices 

For example - instead of 30% off, offer a client a deal like: Buy one spray tan and get the second 50% off. Not only does it get them to book a second spray tan, but it is just a 25% discount even though it sounds like a better deal than 30% off. 

7. Sell the product itself

“Even out your skin tone, get rid of your blemishes, and look healthier and skinnier today.”  

With skin easily breaking out and looking uneven, a subtle spray tan should be at the top of everyone’s wish list. 

Is the spray tan part of your business is slow? The thing is: how will your clients ask you for a “winter-shaded” tan if you never tell them they have the option? You have to let them know that you offer these great services, you can’t just stand around and wait for them to find out. 

8. Make sure your store looks nice

Appearance can greatly affect how a customer feels about your business. Decorate, or make repairs before they become a problem—be proactive, not reactive

9. Food drives, clothing drives, toy drives

Offer a discount or a free service with their purchase for anyone who brings in an item or two. Not only will this get people in your door, but it will also generate a sense of community, give them a good feeling about themselves and your salon, and give them a great memory of your salon, spa, or mobile business. 

10. Start your own winter campaign

Try the “Tour” technique I mentioned in my earlier article, give introductory offers to the first 20 clients who sign up with a contract or reward referrals of first-time customers. One of the best things you could do to generate awareness is to tell your clients that they can get a discount if they share your business’s Facebook page onto their own page. This will not only spread your business, but it will also encourage those who share to come in to receive their reward. 

Want to get some advice from other spray tan professionals? Join our Facebook community and get to know our followers. And if you have any great ideas that have worked for you, please share them with us so that we can help other salon owners!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Part One: How can I increase my spray tan sales in the winter? Advertising dos and donts

Many salon, spa, and mobile business owners ask us this question on a daily basis. They want to hear “the trick”, “the secret”. They want to be told that there is one special thing that a business owner can do that will double, triple, quadruple sales margins. Sadly, there is no magical marketing rainbow to take you to your pot of gold.

Marketing is not about uncovering the secret to making money, it’s about understanding your clients’ wants and needs. For instance: you probably wouldn’t want to offer a luxurious, “sunkissed” tan at the research facility in Antarctica. Obviously they are a great audience because they definitely need a tan, but how many scientists living on a continent made entirely of ice are going to feel natural in a “just got off the beach” tan? Probably that one crazy guy who is drilling for aliens and barking at yetis. On the other hand, how many of them might be interested in a treatment that would help their dry skin not look so bad? Probably a good number.

So the real trick is how to figure out what your clients want

I’ve come up with number of ideas that should help you get your regular clients coming back more and get new prospects coming to you, but first let's go over the basics:

You don’t want to go overboard with advertising, but you also don’t want to get lost in the crowd. The trick is to find what works, and where it works. In my experience I would suggest that no more than 10% of your business’s annual income go to advertising.

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram: these can be great for your company…if people can find them, or even know they are there. Each site is free, though with Instagram you do need a specific type of phone, and each can be great for creating a sense of community. Invite your clients to check out pictures of your business, to see before/after photos or learn about upcoming deals. 
These can also be great sites to help spread the word of what a spray tan can do in the winter: show your clients that a spray tan has more benefits than just looking great. It can even out their skin tone, clear up acne, get rid of blackheads and other blemishes--and don't forget to point out that they can get all this without looking like they went to the Caribbean: spray tans can be subtle.

Newspapers, radio, magazine articles, billboards: These are generally hit or miss. The problem that you will run into when you get to this “stage of the game” is that you are now advertising to vast groups of people that couldn’t care less about your business. Obviously, there will be some people that see/hear it and want to try it instantly. Awesome!

But there will be more people that will have to gather the initiative to look you up, then find out how to get to you, then decide if they like you, then decide if they like you enough to come back. If you read that then no doubt you see the problem: who wants to go through all that trouble for a service that 1. They may already be getting elsewhere 2. Requires all this extra work just to learn about.

The biggest problem I’ve found with mass advertising is that it is so easy to say no to. People love making excuses, and it’s harder to make excuses to a person than it is to a piece of paper or a radio station. 

Banners, business cards, brochures, posters, flyers: These are a step down the totem pole of mass marketing, and they can be effective if used in the right way. The obvious benefit is that these are more targeted approaches, but they will also reach a smaller audience.

Is there a fitness competition coming up? Find out how to get your advertising in the building: a nice banner (and some flyers and brochures) would certainly help make your presence known.

Mobile businesses: how about going to a few local gyms and talking to the owners about offering spray tanning in-house? Mention that a spray tan not only adds definition to muscles, but it also keeps all your hard work looking even and healthy-looking during the winter.

The great thing about handing out brochures is that it creates a human connection between you and your clients. It shows that you are passionate enough to take time out of your day to spread the word of your business. Don’t just hand them a brochure and hope they look at it—start talking to them right there. Now I’m not saying launch into your sales pitch, but start building a connection.

People are more likely to read that pamphlet if they have a reason to; you need to help make them feel like they have a reason to.

If you find that your business has been hurting in the winter, it may be as easily fixed as adopting some of these techniques. Tell people about the subtle side of spray tanning, get the word out about your business through free sites and by making human connections, invest some time in visiting local gyms and fitness competitions, create a community and friendships that last. If you do these things, you may find that your business is growing simply by discovering new friends.

Marketing Idea: The "Tour"

This is a great idea for getting those new clients acquainted with everything that makes your business stand out. If you work out of a salon or spa, you can create a “new customer package” that samples what you offer: maybe at an introductory price you can offer: two different spray tans, a sampling of moisturizers or skincare products, a hair styling, a Mani/Pedi, and a facial.

The goal is to show that you are a grade above the rest, you want to show them that every experience is custom tailored to their needs. More importantly, this gives you a chance to lay the building blocks for a relationship with that person. Simply put, they are more likely to come back to you if they like you. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Why does my skin look bad in the winter?

I don’t know about you, but when I think about the oncoming winter I think about my skin drying out from the wind and the cold. I think about how terrible my skin looks at the supermarket, at restaurants, and at work. So I started wondering: why does my skin look so bad in the winter? The answer surprised me.

At first, I thought that my skin looked so bad because it had dried out.

Moisturizers are great at keeping your skin healthy in the winter. My feet dry out the fastest, and quickly become a “danger zone”. My heels crack and split, and it can be painful to walk. My elbows, arms, and face, thankfully, do not reach this same level, but they can get so dry that my skin becomes very patchy. To counteract this, I use moisturizers. But even though I keep my skin clean and healthy, I still look patchy and uneven while I’m out and about.

The visible spectrum of sunlight
If the secret isn’t in keeping my skin hydrated, then what’s wrong?

Believe it or not, the answer is in the lighting. In the winter we are forced to live with considerably less sunshine (It’s pitch black when I’m leaving work); to counteract this we have this nifty invention called the light bulb. Unfortunately there is a very large discrepancy between natural light and the artificial light that comes out of our lamps.

Visible spectrum of artificial light

Sunlight contains the full spectrum of the rainbow (remember Roy G. Biv?), artificial light contains three colors (blue, green, and red). Okay, so what does that mean for your skin?

What it means is that any naturally-occurring blemishes on your skin are going to appear magnified. Why? Because with only three colors to transition through your skin has to blend one extreme color with another extreme color instead of picking and choosing through a large selection.

So my clients’ skin looks uneven because of artificial light; what does this mean for me and my spray tanning business?

This is actually great news for you!

With a spray tan, your skin will look smoother, even under artificial light. Because of this, you can sell a subtle, extremely light spray tan as a product with a focus on “evening out skin tone” rather than “getting a tan”. This can help clear up hyper-pigmentation, acne, and makes your skin look healthy all winter long. 

Given that the "slow season" is starting up again soon, this would be a great idea for salons: just remember that it should be marketed less as “a tan” and more about keeping your skin tone even and healthy looking, and as always, remind your clients to maintain a rigid moisturizing regimen.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Why is my spray tan business always slow in the winter?

Your business is great in the spring and summer. Around November it starts slowing down. December, January? Forget about it.

While a healthy tan undoubtedly looks great in the summer, when the winter rolls around people just don’t want that “fresh off the beach” look because it does not look natural. They don’t want to walk into work and have their coworkers wink and say, “hey, nice fake tan you got there.” Nobody wants that—the purpose of a fake tan is that it looks as natural as a sun tan.

There is a common misconception that there are only one or two types of spray tan solution. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Just as there are products that develop faster, or tan you more deeply, there are also products that are perfect for providing subtle color for the winter months, weddings, and holiday family portraits.

Instead of trying to figure out how much of that “universal solution” to spray, wouldn’t it be easier just to find a solution that is formulated for gentler use? It would certainly take the worry off my mind.

Following that idea, how easily do you tan in the winter?

The quick answer is not easily at all. Nobody can just walk outside and tan in the winter, and many people believe that any tan they get in the winter would look unnatural. I am happy to tell you that this is absolutely untrue.

A spray tan can achieve any color that you could naturally get from sun tanning.

A wedding by Attagirl Spray Tan using Aviva Labs

This means that a spray tan can get you as dark as your darkest summer tan, but it can also give you just a hint of color in the winter. You don’t have to always look like you just came in from the beach; in fact, there are many people who get tans and nobody is the wiser. 

How is this possible?

By knowing what you want from your solution.

Look for a solution that is client-specific, not general-purpose. I only shop “One size fits all” when I’m buying sweatpants, or some other cheap thing that isn’t really worth my time. A spray tan should never fall into this category—a spray tan should be refined for the individual like a tailored suit or a carefully fitted dress. If your clients knew they had a choice between suffering with their winter pale and enjoying a hint of color that would help make their skin even and blemish-free, which do you think they would choose? Pretty loaded question right? Then why are you losing business in the winter??

How can I sell a winter spray tan to my clients?

Really, it shouldn’t be all that hard. Your clients are already coming to you because they love your product, and love how they look after being spray tanned.

Explain that a more subtle tan can take out any irregularities in their skin while keeping a natural look—this is great because in the winter our skin really takes a beating and a little help goes a long way!

Remind them to think about the holidays—and what about family portraits and gatherings? How many times has old Aunt Bethany said that you need more sun, or need to lose some weight? A spray tan can help you look healthier and more toned.

Offer your clients discounts for sharing the gift of a spray tan with their friends (for a secret Santa present or just as a holiday gift). This could be great because they feel like they are getting a gift too while drumming up new business for you!

Don’t Forget New Years! Everyone wants to look their best heading into the new year. Suggest a pamper party to gear up for a fun night. Nails, massages, spray tan, some drinks—anything you (and/or maybe a coworker) can do to make their evening unforgettable.

These are just a few of the holiday ideas that could turn your slowest time of the year into some of your busiest. Don’t forget that during the winter, any excuse to do something fun will be more than appreciated by your clients!

Want to share some winter tips you've found? Let us know on Facebook, and we can help spread the word!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Part Two: How Do I Get The Best Spray Tan?

5. Spray Technique

Based on years of experience teaching other professionals, and with working with our vast, international clientele of salons and spas, we have found that spraying horizontally produces more even results and is less time consuming than any other method. We have tried each and every technique for spraying, and the results are always the same: side to side is best.

6. Using 10% DHA solution on a client who should be getting sprayed with 8% DHA (or 12% on a 10% client, etc). 

You can’t use the same solution on every single client. Before you spray tan anyone, you need to know how they fair in the sun. If they burn easily, then they will likewise tan easily. If you use a high percentage DHA solution on a client who burns very easily, there is a greater risk that their skin will absorb too much—just as if they had stayed out in the sun too long. So make sure you talk to your client's before you tan them!

7. Post-tan Care: Moisturizing of the Skin.

The sunless tan only colors the outer layer of skin cells, and your tan will fade as evenly as your skin cells die. This means that you need to make sure you are moisturizing your body, and paying particular care to those areas that are drier (elbows, knuckles, and anywhere that sweat collects like cleavage or inner elbows).

Much like the problem with exfoliants, there are moisturizers out there that will actually degrade your tan by drying your skin out faster. This is caused in one of two ways: 1. Putting the moisturizer on before your tan can block the DHA from properly setting into your skin. 2. If the moisturizer includes certain oils it can dry your skin out, thus causing your tan to fade faster.

8. Outside factors:

There are always outside factors that can have an effect on the spray tan, and there are far too many to write down in one guide; eczema, acne, psoriasis, certain diets, medications, hormones, other skin conditions and skincare products all have the potential to change a tan. The best way to combat this is by doing research on whichever problems arise for you.

One example I can quickly provide is that if you wash your skin with soaps that contain oil or AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid), you can greatly accelerate the fading of the tan.

The last and most important thing that I want to tell you is not to be frightened: we have thousands of thrilled salons & spas worldwide who spray tan every day without any problems—these are just to help you IF you ever experience anything similar.

For other helpful video tips, please visit our Video Library.

Part One: How Do I Get The Best Spray Tan?

Maybe you've been spray tanning for years, maybe you're new to the industry--either way you may be undermining your work by not achieving the best results possible. I've talked to salon and spa professionals, mobile business owners, skincare consultants, and using that information have come up with a quick list that may help you get the very most from your spray tan. 
A wedding by Aviva Labs and Attagirl Spray Tans

Here are some steps to easily remember to ensure that your clients are getting the most out of their tan and that you are producing flawless results every time:

1. Pre-tan Preparation: Clients are not preparing with a proper exfoliant.

Not preparing your skin for a spray tan would be like not washing an apple before you eat it. It's a healthy thing to have, but made less effective by the residue that's on the surface. For apples this can mean pesticides, for spray tans this can mean anything that's on your skin from moisturizers to soaps, shampoos, and perfumes.  

There are lots of great exfoliants, body polishes, and body scrubs on the market, and your clients very likely already have several at home. What they might not know is that not all exfoliants are the same. Almost all exfoliants clean your skin by scrubbing off dead skin cells; unfortunately, most also include an oil or a moisturizer meant to hydrate your skin. 

While this would not be a bad thing, normally—it certainly is when you are getting a spray tan. 

Having these oils and moisturizers on your skin can affect the length and strength of your tan. Instead, look for an exfoliant that leaves your skin as fresh and “naked” as possible

Places that are commonly missed/overlooked/need special attention during exfoliation: 

Hairline--this can create a ghastly tan line between your forehead and your hair--unless you wear hats all day, every day, you definitely want to make sure that this area is carefully treated. 

Back, neck, and shoulders: If you have long hair--be sure to pin it up and scrub from the base of the neck and up so that this area is clean and fresh. Also, make sure you scrub your shoulders, neck, and back AFTER you rinse your hair--this is to make sure that any shampoo residue that rinsed off your hair is then scrubbed from your body entirely instead of simply finding a new place on your shoulders. 

Around your armpits: Deodorants will leave a barrier with your tan. Think of it this way: after I put on deodorant I don't spend the rest of the day with my arms in the air. I walk, I swing my arms back and forth, I wave---all the normal activities, or abnormal if you are doing something strange, move that deodorant around. So it may stain down farther than you expect on either your arm or your side (especially if you were wearing it while working out!) So make sure to scrub around this area carefully. I'm not saying scrub your armpits, but I am saying be aware that deodorant can "travel" to other places--and these places will need to be exfoliated. 

Be careful: some deodorants can affect the color of the bronzer part of the tanning application--this will be rinsed away with your first shower, but it could look weird until then. 

Knuckles: your knuckles get pretty dry, they scrape stuff, punch walls, and get generally roughed up. They also have stuff on them--think about how many times your hands touch things throughout the day. Clean these well!

Elbows and knees: backs and fronts! These are joints, and joints get much more movement and activity than say, your forearm. They also just generally dry out faster than the rest of your skin so be sure to carefully exfoliate--this will ensure that the tan lasts longer in these areas.

2. Equipment: Spray equipment needs to be cleaned. 

Perfect Glow creating a great day with Aviva Labs
Obviously this one is important. I mean, you're not dumping the solution over your client's head--or at least you shouldn't be--you're spraying it from the machine. If the machine isn't working properly, the tan won't come out properly, it's that simple.

A High Volume, Low Pressure, or HVLP spray gun machine operates by spraying liquid through a very small opening (where the needle fits through the hole). Over time, this opening gets clogged from the buildup of sunless solution, lint, dust, etc., and it must be periodically disassembled and cleaned. I recommend doing this about once every month, unless you are spray tanning vast numbers of clients. This one minute instructional video should cover everything you need to know about disassembling, cleaning, and reassembling your spray gun.

3. Spray Technique: The spray gun is being held too close to client during spraying. 

Pretty straight forward, I recommend holding the airbrush 8’-12” from the client’s skin. And remember to pull the spray gun back away from the hands and feet in a very gentle fanning motion: this is because these areas don’t need nearly as much spray to achieve the same color.

4. Spray Technique: Application is too heavy—too much solution being sprayed on clients.

On average, you should only be using about 2 oz of liquid per full body spray. If you are using more than this and your spray gun has been adjusted (see our spray gun troubleshooting article), your technique might need to be improved a bit. For this, please consider taking an in-house training course from a reputable company.

(Continued in part two)

For other helpful video tips, please visit our Video Library.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

How do I set up a spray tan tent?

The Co-founder of our company, Mitch Bloom, challenged me to set up and take down a spray tent, “Just so I could have the experience.” I’ve heard they were difficult to deal with, but was sure that I could handle it: I nearly lost an eye (and my temper). I’ve decided to put together a short article about my adventure.

Moving it to my “set up” spot

I had two spray tents that I tried out. One was the kind that you can easily find on Youtube, the other was similar, but with a sturdier built frame and with poles made from the stuff high-tension deep sea fishing rods are made from (it was also a much more expensive tent).

I decided to try to move the tent in two ways:

1. In its round carrying case

2. Folded up into thirds so it lies flat, but not “rolled up”. I decided to do this because recently a spray tan consultant confided that this is how she transports hers, rather than stuffing it back into its bag.

The round carrying case is nice, a little awkward to put into the trunk of a small car like mine. Other than that it wasn’t a problem—I began to think that maybe this wouldn’t be that hard after all.

I nearly knocked over a lamp when moving the folded tent and had to set the thing on the ground to open up the door. I can easily see how this could be annoying and unprofessional for anyone with their own mobile spray tan business—instead of looking like I was boxing with a bear, I would want to look like I know what I’m doing, like I have everything under control. 


Set up was pretty easy—both the tents popped right open, and after a little bit of a struggle I figured out that you have to pull the tent out of itself so that it stands upright. This was pretty confusing at first because it doesn’t really look like it should bend that way.

When it was set up, I wrote up a quick article about how I felt the spray tan tent compared to backdrops, which was to say that there is really no comparison.

Fold up instructions:

Take down

If you enjoy something that feels like fighting an angry bear every time you want to spray tan, then a spray tent is the product for you! I felt like an idiot when I was trying to fold the tents back down—even after our president, Mitch Bloom, showed me how it was still a challenge.

For one thing I was terrified that I was going to break the darn thing—its thin, slippery plastic and some tent rods. I mean come on: my dog has torn through a tent like that and not even realized it had walked through something.

The over-complicated nature of this process just makes this a poor choice, especially for mobile businesses. And why bother go through all the hassle if you have easier alternatives anyways?

Walk Away

The last, easiest, and by far most satisfying part of this entire project!

--Good luck to anyone out there with one of these! Feel free to write to me and describe your experiences.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Part Three: Easy-fix solutions to spray gun problems, Other Issues

Other issues

None of the above seem to be the issue? Below are some more tips that may help you solve that problem.

If your gun seems to be sputtering or spitting like my grandfather used to whenever he forgot to put in his dentures: This is most often caused by a clog in the nozzle (see image above: item 3).

Think of it this way: when you’re watering your garden, have you ever put your thumb over the hose to spray farther? Have you noticed that some water squirts around your thumb and maybe gets you wet as well? That’s essentially what is happening to the nozzle. Something as small as a hair can potentially cause a clog and send the solution spraying in a different direction.

This can affect your tanning by allowing the bronzer (a thinner liquid) to “shoot” out of the spray gun while the DHA (a thicker liquid) is more easily clogged. What this means is that your clients will appear to have a tan, but then it will wash off (because it is only the bronzer that they actually got sprayed with). Obviously, this is a problem you want fixed as soon as possible!

To fix: Fixing this problem is easy. Simply disassemble the gun and run water through the nozzle piece. Lift the nozzle up to a light and look through the tiny hole. If you can see anything in there then it needs to be rinsed out more.

If your gun is shooting solution off to one side what is probably happening is one of two things:

1. The hole at the tip of your gun has been gunked up, in which case please refer to: Cleaning your spray gun


2. The needle may be damaged in some way.

If you have a steel needle and have not been using your spray gun as a hammer then there should be no way that it has become pitted or gouged; however, if you have a plastic needle then you may have some problems.

Plastic needles can become gouged, scratched, bent, chipped, scraped, or even broken off. Given that the solution is being sprayed out from such a small hole, even a small change in the needle can drastically affect the difference in how the spray gun is operating.

Unfortunately, if your needle has been damaged in some way there is only one cure: Replacement.

If it seems like it may just be coated or need to be cleaned: rinse it under hot water—do not scrub it as this may damage a needle if it’s plastic.

If the solution isn’t spraying at all, you may want to first ensure that the gun is clean and the nozzle hole is not blocked by anything. Secondly, check to make sure the dip tube is free from blockage and, third, that the air hose is properly connected to both the spray gun and the air compressor.

Hopefully, your problems have been solved. If, for whatever reason, your spray gun still does not seem to be fixed after reading these three articles--or you are confused about any part--please call Aviva Labs and we will help you sort it out. 

Part Two: Easy-fix solutions to spray gun problems, Over spray


Overspray—The dreaded “Fog”: nobody wants to feel like they are getting a spray tan from a sneezing giant so you should be doing your best to ensure that your gun is spraying a fine, gentle mist.

One of the causes of over spray is that your spray gun’s trigger is set to allow too much solution to pass through when the gun is “fired”. What this does is allow the needle at the tip of your gun to pull back too far and thus let more solution shoot out.

To fix: try adjusting how far back the trigger can be pulled. To do this, adjust the nob at the back of your spray gun (located just beneath the connection with the air hose) and tighten it until the trigger cannot be pulled at all (Remember: righty tighty, lefty loosey).

Each gun has a different trigger sensitivity, but the following method works for every spray gun we produce:

1. With no cup of spray tan solution in the gun, turn the machine on and begin “shooting” air through the spray gun. Note: because the nob has been completely tightened, no solution would be able to get through if the cup was in place.

2. Begin loosening the nob, all the while still gently pulling the trigger (don’t pull too hard that you have to struggle against yourself to unscrew the nob). 

3. As soon as any give occurs in the trigger, stop unscrewing the nob! Now, you can unscrew the nob a tiny bit more, but to be safe try the gun out in this position first. 

4. At this point, your gun should not cause any more over spray (unless the needle needs to be cleaned).

The easiest way to demonstrate how to clean your spray gun is with a direct link to our video: Cleaning my spray gun.

This will cover everything you need to know and should fix your over spray problem if resetting the trigger has not.

Hopefully, your problems have been solved. If, for whatever reason, your spray gun still does not seem to be fixed after reading these three articles--or you are confused about any part--please call Aviva Labs and we will help you sort it out.

Part One: Easy-fix solutions to spray gun problems, Leaking Cup

If you’re reading this then you may have been swearing a few minutes ago. Maybe you’re swearing now. This article will pinpoint what the $%*& is wrong with your &*%$ing spray gun and teach you how to quickly fix it.

Leaking Cup

This is the issue we get most of our calls about. Almost 90% of the time the cup is simply cross-threaded or not on tight enough. The other 10% includes the Dip Tube being loose, the gun needing to be cleaned, and one perpetually unlucky cat named Whiskers.

1. You may be missing a piece: before going any further, first check to make sure you have all the required pieces. A leaking cup can sometimes be caused when the white gasket is not in place (see: Item 15 in the diagram). Also, be sure that the gasket is set firmly into the recess of the spray gun—making sure that it is flat, even, and snug. If you have lost or misplaced the gasket, your spray gun will continue to bubble and drip  —Please, don’t hesitate to call Aviva for a replacement.

2. The cup is cross-threaded: A leaking cup can occur when the cup is not tightened into the gun properly. The cup is somewhat easy to incorrectly thread and this will result in spray tan solution leaking from the seam between the cup and the spray gun.

To fix: try taking the cup back off, cleaning the threads, and screwing it back in—taking care to check that the threads are aligned properly. (Hint: I would suggest screwing the cup in a little, then unscrewing it half a turn back just to make sure that the threads are aligned. Then repeat this process until the cup is tightened completely.) 

3. The cup may not be tight enough: because it is a pressurized air gun, the cup needs to be fit snugly into the gun.

To fix: Make sure that the cup has been sealed tightly (only hand-tight), but do not try to over-tighten. If the cup still does not seem tight enough, check to make sure you haven’t cross-threaded the cup. 

4. The straw (or Dip Tube) that goes from your cup to the gun may be loose: This is the piece that brings the air to the solution, and because it is nestled in the middle of the cup, it can become dislodged and cause your spray gun to drool.

To fix: Pull the straw entirely out of the spray gun and reinsert it by firmly pushing it back into the hole of the gun until you feel a little “pop” and the ridge on the straw is locked securely in the gun.

Hopefully, your problems have been solved. If, for whatever reason, your spray gun still does not seem to be fixed after reading these three articles--or you are confused about any part--please call Aviva Labs and we will help you sort it out.

Friday, November 15, 2013

How quiet should my spray tan machine be?

Close your eyes. Imagine you’ve just walked into a room. It’s warm. You’re welcomed by a smiling consultant. You are lead into a quiet room, and asked to make yourself comfortable. There is soft music, something you might easily fall asleep to. Your consultant returns, smiling, wielding a roaring, snarling chainsaw. Okay, now open your eyes; I have two questions for you:

1. Would you find something as loud as a chainsaw relaxing when you are being beautified?

2. How did you read any of that with your eyes closed? Were you peaking?

Obviously, nobody wants to listen to a weed whacker when they are getting a massage. No one enjoys listening to construction when they are driving home from work. So why have such a loud noise in your spray tan salon or mobile business?

There are several things to consider when looking for a quiet spray tan machine:

Decibel level

Sound boxes


Decibel Level 

This is pretty straight forward. You don’t want to deafen your clients. If your spray tan machine has ever been mistaken for a jet at takeoff: it’s probably time to get a new one. If your spray tan machine has ever set off a car alarm, or been so loud that you couldn’t hear your client talking: it’s probably time to get a new one.

Luckily, spray tan machines can now be made quieter than a vacuum cleaner. While there will always be a little sound (it is a small air compressor after all), it should never be something you should have to scream over.

I’ve included a chart to give you an idea of how many decibels are in common noises we are surrounded by every day. To give you an even more in-depth idea: our smaller machine, the T100X HVLP (High volume low pressure), is 71 decibels, and the Mighty Mist is only 60 decibels. This is not a typo, the larger is quieter.

To give you an idea of what you don't want: the threshold of pain is 130 decibels. 

Sound Boxes 

Sound boxes can be a great addition to a salon or spa professional who wants to make the quietest atmosphere possible. Before you go running off this page to buy one though, you should be careful what you purchase.

If you’re seriously considering this option I would caution you against getting anything too big. What happens if halfway through a spray tan you find out that you are not going to be able to reach all the way around your client? Pretty embarrassing right? Now you have to go all “Arnold Schwarzenegger” on that box, lift it up, and move it to where you need it (and then say to your client in your best impersonation: “I lift things up, and put them down”).

You can get sound boxes on wheels, and this will negate that worry and the need for terrible voice acting, but then you should make sure that you aren’t trying to push it across any carpeted areas or anything that the wheels could get caught up on (wires, cords).

Make sure that whichever box you choose, it comes with intake and exhaust holes—wouldn’t want to overheat your machine and leave someone half-tanned now would we?

In the end it’s a box. So don’t go too crazy when you buy one, alright? It’s not like you’re buying a new car or something…it’s a box. If you are paying 200 dollars for a box, then there is nothing I can do to help you.


Reviews for spray tan machines should be from actual customers. I would love to tell you to buy the Mini Mist, and why not buy 100 liters of solution while you’re at it? But more than that, I want to tell you to do your own independent research and find out for yourself which is best for your company. In the end what matters is if it’s a right fit for you.