Friday, November 21, 2014

12 MORE Common spray tan problems and how to fix them!

12 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.

1. Uneven Fade/Patchy Skin:

Alcohol in a solution causes uneven fading because it causes the skin to dry out faster than a water-based solution. When your skin dries faster than it normally would, patches and discolorations develop in your spray tan.  

This can also occur if you sprayed over an existing/old tan without properly exfoliating beforehand. 

The Fix: Avoid a solution blended with alcohol and always remember to exfoliate before your next spray tan! 

Fun Fact: The term "Honeymoon" originated in Viking-era Sweden and refers to a practice where, after the wedding, the bride's family was responsible for providing alcohol to the groom and his men for one complete moon cycle. Often, this alcohol took the form of honeyed mead, thus we get the term Honeymoon! 

2. Streaky/Runny results during spray tan:

Spraying too close can cause your solution to drip down the body or cause overlapping patterns on the arms, legs, and torso. A dripping spray tan will cause runs down your body once the active DHA has a chance to set, resulting in long lines of discoloration. 


Using too heavy of a solution, too much solution, or a solution with too much oil blended into it can cause your solution to drip and become streaky and runny-looking. Oils make a solution heavier and wetter so that your spray will also be wetter (and thus easier to cause streaks/runs with), spraying too much solution can mimic this problem and make your tan runny, even with a lighter, water-based solution. 

The Fix: If you are using a water-based solution: be mindful of how much solution you're spraying--too much of even a less heavy solution can cause streaks and runs as you continue to "pile on" the product. 

If you are using an oil-based solution: just be aware that streaks and runs are more commonplace and make sure you are using the minimum required amount when spraying to ensure the fastest drying time and the least likelihood of causing runs. 

Fun Fact1: As far back as 10,000 BCE, men and women in Egypt use scented oils and ointments to clean their skin and mask body odor!

3. Streaky/Runny-looking Tan after spray tan development:

What happened here is that water (tears) got on the spray tan before the DHA had time to properly set, resulting in an uneven tan and internet fame. 

The Fix: Don't get into a fight with your boyfriend after you get a spray tan! Wait at least 8-12 hours (or less if it's a rapid tan) before engaging in hostile relationship activities!

4. Sprayed, but no tan develops:

Photo Credit: Be Bronze
If you sprayed and no tan appeared after waiting the correct amount of time then there was something on the skin acting as a barrier. These could be heavy soaps, PH Balancers, moisturizers, perfumes, and even exfoliant residue.

The Fix: Exfoliate prior to getting your spray tan. Work from the top of your body down so that you aren't getting soap or residue on a part of your body that you've already cleaned and exfoliated. And make sure you don't spray perfume on until after your tan has had time to set! This will improve your spray tan and your before/after selfies!  

Fun Fact: The first "selfie"ever taken was in 1839 by Robert Cornelius.

5. Client touched something, accidentally rubbed off their tan, or wore skinny jeans/tight socks: 

This problem is more common among oil-based solutions that take longer to dry because there is a larger window of opportunity for the tanning product to be touched and shifted by clothing, but keep in mind that this can happen to water-based solutions too. 

The Fix: don't wear tight fitting clothing, and try not to rub up against someone or itching a leg/arm while your tan is still drying. Once it has dried you should be able to wear tighter clothing, but it's still prudent to be aware if your skin is rubbing and where--those are going to be your problem areas that will need more moisturizing to keep the tan from fading faster.

6. Face fading faster than rest of the tan:

This is a more common problem among female clients. Applying and removing makeup, and simply washing your face, can cause your tan to fade faster. 

The Fix: Maintain a healthy skin care regimen and moisturize at least twice a day (morning and night!) 


If this occurs then you are probably using a DHA percentage that is too strong for your skin type. Another problem that sometimes occurs is that you did use the correct percentage, or at least what you thought was the correct percentage: sometimes companies approximate their solution percentages rather than know for sure what the strength is.  

The Fix: try using the next DHA percentage level down (and please try to remove the tan!). 

Tip: Trying out a new solution and don't want to risk using too a too-strong percent? Not all companies are the same! Start with one of the lesser percentages (like an 8% or a 9%) rather than jumping right to the percentage you were using with your original company: your new company's 8% might be equivalent to your old company's 10%.  

Fun Fact: in the early 90s Will Ferrell worked as a mall store Santa Claus 

8. My spray tan looked good when I went to bed, but when I woke up I had patches:

This happens if you go to sleep with your hand on your arm, leg, or face. What will happen is that the tan will transfer from one area of skin to the other. Keep in mind that this doesn't always happen, and most often happens if you go to sleep while the tan is still sticky or tacky feeling. 

The Fix: Wait until your spray tan is not sticky or tacky feeling before going to bed. If it is still sticky/tacky and you can't stay up any longer, sleep with loose pajamas on (some people also wear socks or mittens on their hands)

9. Flaky Tan: 

Most often caused by dry skin, but can be aggravated by using a solution containing alcohols. 

The Fix: Simple: Exfoliate before your spray tan and moisturize frequently. And if possible avoid a solution with alcohol in it!

10. Peeling spray tan: sunburn before spray tan:

A sunburn's peel can greatly affect your tan! It means that the skin underneath (that is soon to be revealed when the burnt skin peels off) is going to be untanned while the rest of your body is going to have the darker spray tanned skin. Clearly this is going to create a very patchy, VERY uneven finish. 

The Fix: DONT GET A SUNBURN!!! Failing that, exfoliate (ouch!) extensively before getting your spray tan. Also: avoid spray tans with alcohol because that might sting your sensitive, burnt skin.

Fun Fact2: At a higher altitude it is easier to become burnt because there is less of the earth's atmosphere to block the sunlight. UV exposure increases about 4% for every 1000 ft (305 m) gain in elevation!

11. My spray tan faded after working out:

This happens when you work out before your spray tan has had time to set properly. 

The Fix: Wait for your tan to set before breaking a sweat. For "regular" tans this means waiting 8-12 hours before working out, and for "rapid tans" this can mean waiting for as little as 30 minutes though it is recommended to still wait that 8-12 hours because though you can wash off a rapid tan, the DHA is still developing during that time. 

Fun Fact

12. Too much tan between the fingers

This is most likely because the person had her fingers closed/held together while her hands were being sprayed. 

The Fix: make a claw with your hands as if you are sizing up a grapefruit, being careful to keep your fingers separated.

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!


Friday, November 7, 2014

How to remove a spray tan

How to Remove a Spray Tan

I hope, for your sake, that you are only reading this article due to curiosity.

If you’re reading this article because you desperately need to learn how to remove your spray tan then you have my sympathy, but luckily I can help! 

How does a spray tan actually tan my skin?

Emmi Moore spray tanned in Aviva labs solution
Much like a bad date that won’t take a hint, a terrible spray tan can linger for days. This is due to the active tanning agent in the solution known as DHA. DHA is a derivative of the sugars primarily found in sugar cane and sugar beets; when formulated properly, DHA will react with the amino acids in the topmost layer of your skin to create a beautiful, natural-looking tan. When not formulated properly, DHA makes you look like you lost a fight to an apricot.

A few things that negatively affect your spray tan results:


Oil in a spray tan solution can cause it to become sticky or tacking feeling when applied to your skin. Oil can also be a clear indication that the DHA in the solution was not blended to optimal performance and thus needs the oil to counteract its natural drying effect; this can also mean that, because the DHA wasn’t perfectly formulated, the solution might more easily make your tan look unnatural when compared to a higher-quality solution.

Read more on why Oils are bad in a solution


Alcohol in a solution often is one culprit behind a spray tan looking patchy or fading unevenly.

Read more why Alcohols are bad in a solution

Other ingredients

Caffeine, fragrance oils, caramel, argan oil, coconut oil, zinc, aloe vera, aluminum, pomegranate, banana, apple, cinnamon, erythrulose, vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, moisturizers, etc. None of these things are needed in the creation of a spray tan solution; these gimmicks can actually cause your solution to perform more poorly versus a solution that avoids those ingredients.

But proper formulation isn’t the only thing that goes into a spray tan looking great and setting properly: a lot of what effects a sunless tan depends on you and your spray tan consultant. 

Improper before/aftercare

If you aren’t preparing for your spray tan properly, or if you aren’t maintaining your tan through a good skincare regimen, then your tan could look less natural or fade more quickly than you’d wish.

Read this article on proper before and after care

Improper tanning technique can cause streaks or patches

Sometimes the technique that the person who spray tanned you with can be the reason that your tan came out strange. Did they hesitate over a certain part of your body and overspray that area? Did they miss a part of your body entirely, or spray too close and cause rivulets and runs?

Click here to learn more about spray tan training options

Too much solution was used

Another grave error that some spray tan consultants have made in the past is that they’ve used too much solution. This translates into too much DHA coming in contact with your skin, which can oversaturate your skin and cause it to turn an unnatural color.

I recommend using about 2 ounces of solution per application

Too high of a DHA percentage

Another reason your spray tan might look bad is that you were sprayed with a solution with a DHA percentage that was too strong for your skin type.

Remember: if you are looking for a deeper, darker tan, it doesn’t always mean that you need a higher percentage. DHA can be blended to be darker, no matter the percentage.

Click here to learn more about how to determine which DHA percentage to use

How long does it take for a spray tan to fade?/How to remove a spray tan

Proper before and aftercare can leave tans lasting longer: Be Bronze using City Tan Miami, picture after 5 days

Spray tan turnover via skin

The slowest way to rid yourself of your tan is simply to wait. Unfortunately, this can take from 5-15 days before you are finally free of the horrid color. 

Exfoliation products

These creams are designed to return your skin to its most natural state, ensuring that your tan will fade much faster than usual, but these creams are more for preparing your skin for a spray tan than for removing the tan once applied. Exfoliating creams can help remove some color from your tan, but nothing will remove the color completely. 

Homemade/DIY spray tan removal Ideas

Essentially these work as homemade exfoliant options, I’ve included a few of the most effective here:

1. Salts and lemon scrubs/sugar and lemon scrubs/Baking soda and lemon scrubs: these work to a certain degree, but won’t take ALL of the tan off, but some is better than none!

Mix together one cup of raw sugar and ¾ cup of lemon juice then dab on cotton ball to apply

Note--the lemon juice must be fresh squeezed to work

2. Baking soda and apple cider vinegar: works the same, and has the same results, as Lemon scrubs: Mix, then dab on cotton ball to apply.

3. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser: I’ve heard this works to help scrub out a bad spray tan, but be VERY careful when using it as it contains harsh chemicals and could do more damage than it’s worth!

Exfoliating gloves

Exfoliating gloves and mittens can help remove your tan more significantly than creams, or can be great in conjunction with creams. There are some out there, while a bit expensive, that can take a surprising amount of the color from your bad spray tan.

Other solutions: Exfoliate and then respray

One other thing you can try is to exfoliate with one of the above methods and get another spray tan on top of it. Oftentimes this can help blend and hide the bad tan within the new spray tan, but please note that you absolutely need to exfoliate thoroughly before doing this so that you avoid giving yourself lizard skin (uneven-looking fading).

Mandyz Salon before and after with Aviva Labs Original 10%

Remember, to achieve the best possible spray tan results:

1. Exfoliate

2. Avoid oils, alcohols, and unnecessary ingredients in your spray tan solution

3. Use the correct percentage for your skin type

4. Use only about 2 ounces of spray tan solution

5. Maintain healthy skin with a daily moisturizing regimen

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Spray Tanning for Men

Do Guys Spray Tan?

One of the largest untapped client bases in the spray tanning industry is men. Chances are good that many of the women you already spray tan are married or dating a potential future tanner!

Traditionally, the most popular use for sunless tanning for men has been in the form of competitive bodybuilding and fitness competitions. Unfortunately this is also the source of one of the most prominent stigmas for why men don’t spray tan. Because most of the photos of men with noticeably fake tans comes from when they are on stage after pumping iron, that is the idea that gets associated with a spray tan. Many men think that the only spray tan is one that looks completely unnatural. But clearly this is not the case. 

Once upon a time, spray tanning did look unnatural. It was in its infancy and many companies jumped onto the bandwagon without really knowing what they were doing. This flooded the market with solutions that turned a whole generation of spray tanners into Oompa Loompas. Luckily, other companies took their time, conducted research, and created solutions that looked amazing, but more importantly looked so realistic you can’t tell the difference between a suntan and a sunless tan.

So what’s stopping men from spray tanning now?

Nothing. A lot of men spray tan, but most only do so for special occasions rather than consistently going month after month. Most men get spray tans for the same reason women do: because they want to look more in shape for vacations and holidays, healthier for weddings or family portraits, cruises and beach parties. Some use it to even out their skin tone in the winter or look younger (kind of like hiding your grays) on first dates. 

Where do men go for spray tanning?

Besides simply going to a tanning-only salon, many men “get their tan on” at the gym, at hair salons or male-only barber shops. A lot of spas and massage studios have success bringing men in if they offer couples packages. These places most often find success because they offer the spray tan service at a discount or with a certain percentage off when accompanying their massage or hair styling.

This is an important key to finding and securing loyal male customers. Take these two slogans for instance:

1. Look and feel great with a custom spray tan

2. Save $10 on a custom spray tan

Statistically men are more prone to looking for deals and savings rather than being sold on an emotion or a feeling that a service provides, so they would be more inclined to buy if they saw slogan number 2 rather than slogan 1.

Some questions about spray tanning male clients:

How do I spray tan a man?

Spray tanning a man is no different than the techniques used for spray tanning a woman with a few key exceptions:

1. If a man has heavy chest hair/leg hair/etc. then the spray tan solution will not reach those areas as easily--this won’t be a problem if he isn't planning on shaving his legs/chest because you won’t be able to see the less tanned portions of his skin anyways.

2. Facial hair: if a man has a beard, mustache, or any other type of facial hair make sure that, if he is going to shave it soon, he shave it off BEFORE his spray tan. If he waits until after his spray tan to shave then he is going to wind up with a reverse five-o’clock shadow and have much lighter skin where the beard had been pre-shave.

*This is also important to remember if he is going to shave his legs/chest hair!

Do men have to do anything different after getting a spray tan?

Yes: it’s very important for men to remember to moisturize after every shave! Shaving is an exfoliation process and can remove color from a tan, especially when paired with oil-heavy shaving creams. To counteract the effects of shaving, use a great moisturizer after the initial shave and again before bedtime.

What do men need to do to achieve the best spray tan?

Follow these instructions!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Some Tips on How to Sell More Retail

While I’m talking to business owners and the topic of retail sales comes up in the conversation, I’m always told the same thing: “I don’t bother with retail. It just doesn’t sell in my salon, and besides I’m not a salesperson.” Now this isn’t just from mobile businesses just starting out—this is from everyone. Mobile businesses. Salons. Spas. Almost every time, without fail: “I can’t figure out how to sell this: I’m not a salesperson.”

And that’s where they are all wrong. 

The idea of a salesperson has been beaten into us by bad television and annoying advertisements so that instead of a helpful, thoughtful person we think of some slimy car salesmen named “Honest Eddie” who would rather gnaw his own leg off than see you walk out of his car lot without, “this pearl of a car, this absolute dream on wheels”. I would love to say that people like this don’t actually exist; unfortunately they do, but your clients already know that you are not like that.

Your clients already respect and trust you enough to work around their eyes and ears with sharp, potentially deadly objects; they trust you enough to cut their hair, paint their nails, alter their skin color with spray tan solution, and they trust you not tell their bosses what they really think of them after they vent to you during a cut and color.

Because of this trust, you may feel guilty about trying to “sell” them anything. But here’s the thing: a polish that keeps their nails from chipping, a product that extends the life of their tan? Why wouldn’t they want those retail items you have? Don’t think of it as “selling” them a product, think of it as recommending to them a product that you know they will benefit from. 

To do this you need to build confidence.

You should already feel confident in yourself—you are a trained, experienced professional with clients who are coming to you for your expertise. If they didn’t trust your opinion then they wouldn’t be creating follow-up appointments.

What you really need to be building is confidence in the product you’re going to be recommending.

The worst thing you can do is try to sell a product that you don’t believe in. If you don’t believe in animal testing then you won’t be able to talk energetically about a product that has been tested on rabbits—it won’t sit well with you and that will come through the surface when you’re talking about the product. It will be more obvious than bad toupee if you don’t approve of the product. So why sell it? 

Instead, sell what you love.

Try different products from tons of different companies. Read that again. TRY the products: make sure you know exactly what the product feels and smells like, and whether it delivers on what it’s advertised to do. There is no substitute for firsthand experience. This is also the best way to be able to recommend the products: if you have experienced it and you love it then you will be that much more energetic when you’re talking about it with your client. They will sense that energy and in turn be excited about it too.

Do your research!

This plays a very important role in choosing products, especially when it comes to spray tanning! There are tons of products out there that can damage your spray tan, just like there are products out there that dry out your skin or your hair more than others. Be aware of what these products are and look at their ingredient lists—compare these lists with other products to make sure you are avoiding the same mistake from a different retail item!

If you are unsure about a product, ask yourself these questions:

• Is this a product I would use personally?

• Am I willing to promote these products publicly?

• Am I selling this because the bottle looks good, or because the product works well?

• Are these products unique enough to differentiate me from the competition?

It’s this fourth question that can be tricky. Almost all of your competitors will have a moisturizer, a self-tanner, and various other products. You need to make sure that you have products that stand apart from the crowd. If your competitors are pushing moisturizers, but they don’t really have any great exfoliants—then that is a niche you need to jump in to fill.

Here’s a good tip: don’t try to sell your product by describing it, sell your products by describing how they will help your clients. 

They can get a nice smelling moisturizer anywhere; make sure to identify the different talking points of your product, and what sets it apart from others:

• Is it Gluten Free?

• Is it Vegan?

• Animal Cruelty Free?

• Does it do something that other products don’t?

• Is it specifically designed for something/to accomplish something special?

• How and why will other similar products not work as well as this one?

These are all very important questions to touch upon, not just from a beauty perspective but also from a health-conscious and eco-friendly view too. Your clients are trusting you to make educated decisions built from your own experiences and knowledge; and once you’ve built this foundation of trust, you can begin to build upon this foundation with each visit.

This brings us to a very important aspect of being a salesperson: don’t sell—listen!

Talk with your clients during consultation. Find out their specific likes and dislikes—if they love all the outrageous celebrities then they will probably be less interested in a conservative look; likewise if they are always mentioning how elegant they looked at their wedding then perhaps they would appreciate the nostalgic feel of having that elegance again. 

Here are a few basic guidelines for conducting a good consultation: Ask questions!

• How often do you plan on returning to the salon?

• What is your skin moisturizing regimen like?

• Are you prone to dry skin?

• What challenges do you have with tanning?

• Are you looking to try out a new look or style? Or do you want to enhance what you already have?

At this point during the consultation you can begin asking guiding questions. When asking questions—try to phrase your questions so that your client is saying “yes”. Getting a person to say “yes” a few times before a purchase is a proven technique to increase the likelihood of a sale.

You: So how do you like your spray tan?

Client: I love it!

You: Great! I knew you would. So this should last about 7-10 days, but would you want it to last even longer?

Client: Yes, that’d be fantastic!

You: I happen to have a product here that is not only a great moisturizer, but it actually has ingredients in it that can make your tan last up to several days longer. I’m guessing you already have moisturizers at home?

Client: Yes, that’s right.

You: I bet they’re good too, but I also bet that the ingredients in your moisturizer weren’t blended specifically for spray tanning—there are tons of ingredients in a product that can actually leech the color from you and cause your spray tan to fade faster.

Client: Woh, I didn’t know that.

You: Yup, and that’s why I have this product: if you love your spray tan and want it to last as long as possible, this is definitely the product for you.

It’s important here not to overreach!

Instead of overwhelming your client with a hundred different options, just try selling them one product. In addition to not boggling their mind, you will also have a greater chance that they’ll say yes to one rather than yes to a dozen.

No matter if you are a world class spa or just starting your mobile business, browsing through your products should be easy and fun!

Let your products sell themselves

Include little labels on your shelves that describe the product, highlight the differences of your product, or talk about why a client might want a particular product. And don’t forget to have a placard up if you’re having a sale!

Add atmosphere!
  • Clean your shelves! Nobody likes checking out a product that has an inch-thick layer of dust all over it, and no one is going to want to go near your shelves if there are spills or if the bottles look like the display was just casually thrown together. If you don’t care about your products, neither will your clients! 
  • Encourage testing: studies show that shoppers are significantly more likely to buy something if they are given a free sample first—why do you think the grocery store has all those employees offering you free cheese all the time? 
  • Room setup: if at all possible, try to design your room with inviting product shelves on both sides of the room or surrounding the seating area. This allows your clients to idly browse through your selection while waiting or visiting. And don’t make your clients sit around “twiddling their thumbs”: give them some coffee, tea, or at least some magazines to read—maybe a couple informative articles that compliments the products on your shelves, or a photo album of happy clients with what service they used written underneath. And remember: no room is complete without artwork. Make sure your art goes with the room—if you are going for classy and modern, then a vintage wagon wheel might not be right for your salon. 
And don’t forget, with selling anything: Practice makes perfect!

Put your knowledge to the test—quiz yourself and your staff, make flashcards, give your sales pitch to your friends and see if you can answer whatever questions and concerns they come up with or address the different needs your clients may have.

So before you throw away everything on your shelf and swear off retail for good, just try these tips and before long your shelves will be empty for a different reason!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Spray Tan Before and After Care

There is an epidemic spreading within the spray tan business. It's the leading cause of streaks, runs, cracked tans, fast fades, "lizard skin", post-shower let down. It's also the main reason why you might have to keep giving out free spray tans to keep your clients happy.

Making sure your clients are taking care of their skin is important; making sure your clients are taking care of their skin before and after they get a spray tan is absolutely crucial.

To help you out, and help spread the word, I've created this simple write up. Feel free to read over it, print it out, and give it to your customers so they can be as savvy as you are!

The Day of Your Spray Tan

Take a shower as normal and be careful to rinse off ALL of the shampoo and soap; also don’t apply any deodorant, moisturizer, lotion, cream, or makeup before your spray tan. Any of these products will block the spray tan from setting to its fullest and deodorants can turn the bronzer in the spray tan green so unless you want Incredible Hulk armpits I would advise against it (The DHA tan will not be green, just the bronzer). If you have an appointment later in the day then be sure to rinse off your deodorant or moisturizers in the shower or with a washcloth before your appointment.

Exfoliation is Key

By exfoliating before a spray tan, you are turning your skin into a clean slate for your spray tan consultant. This is the single most important aspect of your before-appointment regimen. A spray tan sets on the topmost layer of your skin; so if the topmost layer of your skin is not at its cleanest, most natural state prior to a spray tan then you will not get the best results. If you do properly exfoliate with an exfoliant designed specifically for spray tanning then you can increase the life of your tan by up to three days!

What to Wear to Your Appointment

3 Hours with City Tan Honolulu

Find a sunless tanning solution that is oil-free, this means that it should not stain your clothes, bedsheets, or your couch; however, we do suggest that you wear dark, loose clothing so that your clothes don’t rub against the spray tan while it is setting.

Now that you have had your appointment, and you love your spray tan, you should learn how to keep it:

No Diving! 

Do not go swimming or work out during the 8 hours that your tan is setting to ensure that the tan is given enough time to properly develop.

Remember: Don’t forget to ask your client if they would be interested in more convenient rapid tans!

For your first shower: rinse only! 

You should always only wash off with water during your first shower. After that though, soaps and shampoos that have not been designed for spray tanning could still lessen the quality of your spray tan. Alcohols and oils in products could produce a crackling effect on your fade and certain soaps dry out your skin, causing your tan to vanish faster than inhibitions at Mardi Gras.

Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize! 

Courtesy of: Coco Glow Spray Tanning
A spray tan’s worst enemy is dry skin; a spray tan’s best friend is a fantastic moisturizer. By using moisturizers on a daily basis (and after every shower!), your skin will stay soft, supple, and most importantly tanned for days longer!

Friday, February 14, 2014

7 Factors that Change How Much to Charge for a Spray Tan


"How much should I charge for a spray tan?" I get asked this question on a daily basis, and unfortunately I have no good, sure-fire answer. There are so many variables involved in the spray tan industry that it would, quite honestly, be irresponsible for me to quote a price per spray tan for anyone.

That being said, I can try to do the next best thing: give you a list of what I believe to be the most important factors that go into determining your cost so that you can make a responsible, educated decision.  

1. Neighborhood/Location

Location and the neighborhood you are working with might be the largest factor in the cost of your spray tan. If you are spray tanning in Detroit at the moment you might have to lower your prices—if you are the premier spray tanner to the stars in Hollywood then you will probably be charging more than someone would who owns a mobile business in Juno, Alaska.

The ease or difficulty of parking can dramatically affect your cost. Convenience is key: if someone has to pay five dollars for parking then they are going to be looking to “get that money back” from you with a cheaper spray tan.

2. Type of Solution 

(A Quick Dry/Express Solution Should Cost More)

The more convenient the solution, the higher the price. If your client has to be careful with their spray tan for one hour then they should pay more than if they had to be careful for 8 hours.

An important thing to remember: sometimes an increase in cost can increase a person’s value of your product—higher cost generally means a better product so if they see your price being higher, they may anticipate a higher quality experience and spray tan (so be sure you can deliver on that promise!)

3. Competition Tans

Competition tans are going to cost more because the expectation is that much higher. A competition tan must undergo intense scrutiny, have great definition-revealing color, and be perfect under every type of lighting. With that in mind, your client is not just paying you for a great looking solution—they are paying you for your knowledge and skills. 

Many competitors go to the same spray tanner for their entire career (once they find someone they like), and it's incredibly important that you know the dos and don'ts of competition tanning before you spray tan anyone: spray some contours onto a competitor and you might just get them kicked out of the event!

4. What you are spraying: 

                    (Face/Torso/Limbs/Full-body All Require Different Pricing)

This should be pretty obvious but how much you spray should determine what price you charge. So if you are charging 40 dollars for a full-body spray tan, charge $20 for limbs and face. 

Don’t worry about losing money: you are spraying less, and thus it should go faster, and more importantly you are keeping that client happy and coming back to you. 

5. Mobile vs. Salon or Spa Pricing

Your type of business will greatly change the cost of a spray tan. 

If you are working from a salon/spa, you should be able to set your prices a little higher due to the expected cost of luxury; however, you may also have to settle into getting percentages from package prices. Either way, make sure that your prices are comparable to the services that the spa is offering (if you are working in a high-end spa, don't undercut your profits by having "competitive pricing"). 

If you are working a mobile business, you need to take several things into consideration when calculating a price structure. 
How far are you travelling? 
Will you charge per mile or a flat rate (5 miles, 10 miles, 20 miles)?
Are you spray tanning a single client or a party?
Are you being asked to go out in the middle of a snowstorm?

Working a mobile business can generate a lot of profit as long as you are not sabotaging yourself. Make sure that you are getting paid both for the spray tan service and for the time/money it took for you to get to the appointment! 

5. Packages, Loyalty Programs, and Memberships

Yes, you may have to sacrifice a few dollars of profit per spray tan, but what you gain is the promise of business over a longer period of time. By offering memberships, spray tan a month clubs, loyalty programs (that include special pricing or additional services), you are actually doing a number of things:

1. Creating a deal: your clients will feel like they are getting a great bargain. 

2. Ensuring return clients: memberships are essentially pieces of paper that say, "I'll be back."

3. Promising profit (even if they client doesn't show up for their monthly spray tan, you still get paid for the membership)

6. Your Experience/Your Demand/Your Time

How much people value you and your opinion allows you to raise or lower your cost respectively. The more valuable and experienced you become, the more people will value your time—thus, the more it will cost "to get you". 

To put it into perspective: it costs something like 40 Million dollars for Jackie Chan to even appear in your movie: because he is popular, because he has created value in himself. 

When he first started acting, he didn't ask for $40 Million, he probably asked for about $40 total.

Not saying you should ever charge 40 Million dollars, but if you increase your value then you should also be increasing the cost of your time. 

7. Changes in Price

“Emergency Tans”: If a client calls up and they need a last minute tan--as in a, "get over here now because my life depends on this," tan--then you should be compensated for your time and effort. I'm not suggesting that you extort the person out of their every penny, but last-minute appointments should cost more because you are sacrificing whatever plans you might have had to ensure they get what they need.  

Gas prices/Weather/Time of Day: If you are being asked to drive to someone's house for a "midnight party" then you should be paid "after hours" pricing. It's as simple as that. If gas prices go up, then you shouldn't be forced to swallow the difference. If it's a snowstorm outside, then you need to get "hazard pay". 

Don't be afraid to ask for more money if you have a legitimate reason why the service should cost more!

Construction: If you are operating out of a salon or spa and there is noisy construction nearby, chances are you should lower your price accordingly. I realize that this is a major inconvenience, but it's also an inconvenience to your client to have to listen to a jackhammer while they are getting a massage. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

5 Myths About Spray Tanning

Myth: A Spray Tan Looks Unnatural

This is by far the most pervasive myth about spray tanning, and the worst part about it is that it was once true—making it that much harder to put this myth to bed. Because a spray tan solution needs to be formulated correctly to give a realistic looking tan, and because solutions can be manufactured by people who are less than unqualified, there are a lot of solutions with colors that are slightly off—or worse. I’ve seen colors ranging from velvet to a woman who looked like Goldfinger from the James Bond movie got a hold of her.

As the saying goes, “One bad egg can spoil the bunch,” and with spray tanning this is very true—the worst spray tans are the ones that usually get the most publicity. The easiest way to counter this is to prove it wrong with satisfied customers, great looking tans, and before/after photos.

What you could say:
“I could go on for days about how outdated this myth is, but instead I’ll just show you some pictures of results from our clients so you can see for yourself.”

Idea: You could even have a group of ten pictures with five spray tans and five sun tans and see if the person can pick out which is which.

Myth: A Spray Tan Can Prevent Sun Burns

This is one of the most dangerous myths I’ve ever encountered around spray tanning—falling just short of, “A spray tan can prevent a bear attack.”

A spray tan cannot prevent a sun burn. A spray tan is not a base tan—it provides no more protection from the sun than your makeup does (unless your makeup has SPF in it of course).

Myth: A Spray Tan Makes You Look Orange

This is based in the 70s right beside the “looks unnatural” myth. Back when Earth, Wind, and Fire was pumping out funky grooves, and before glam metal took center stage with tight leather and gender-confused lead singers, spray tanning was in its infancy.

DHA was discovered for its tanning abilities in the 20s, but the first tanning solution came out in 1960 (Coppertone’s Quick Tan); unfortunately, the first solutions were far from natural looking. Lots of them came out orange and others made you look like a burnt piece of toast. This happened because the companies really didn’t understand how to correctly process DHA; they just could not find the balance between too little DHA and too much. Thankfully, this is no longer the case: nowadays, most spray tans look as natural as sun-based tans.

What you could say:
“The only way I’d be able to turn you orange is if I tried to turn you orange.”

Myth: A Spray Tan Is Only For “Young People”

The idea behind this myth is that young people go tanning and older people don’t because tanning is a popularity tool and older people are more comfortable with where they stand among their friends, and thus don’t feel the pressure to “fit in”.

In fact, older clients can perhaps benefit more from the psychological effects of a spray tan. As you age, your skin slowly loses its color and begins to appear ashen or grey because your skin cells are becoming less oxygenated. This process can appear to be reversed with a spray tan, making your clients look five or even ten years younger.

What you could say: 
If you have to say anything more than, “It will make you look five or ten years younger,” I would honestly be amazed.

Myth: All Spray Tans Stain Your Clothes, Your Furniture, Your Bed Sheets

You’ve no doubt heard the same horror stories as I have: I lay down on my bed and now I have to throw out the sheets; I put my clothes back on and now my collar has a spray tan too; I sat down on my couch and my tan rubbed off on the cushion.

Sadly, this is only partly a myth. The truth is that the spray tan is not causing the stains—the oils in the spray tan solution are causing the stains. So to put it simply: if you remove the cause of the stain, you are also removing the fear of causing a stain.

That means you won’t have to tell your clients to come in wearing baggy, dark clothes—this is great news because nobody looks like they are going to try go mug someone, they are just trying to get a spray tan.