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