You don’t have to sit in the sun or expose yourself to a tanning bed’s potentially harmful ultraviolet rays to get a tan. You also don’t have to slather on smelly, mildly effective tanning lotion to achieve that bronze look. Spray tans are in style for a reason: They’re quick—the process takes about 10 minutes total—and effective. For one salon spray tan, you’ll lie down in a booth that releases a mist of fake tanning spray; within a minute, your body will be covered in tanning solution. Another option, airbrush tanning, will involve a trained salon technician spraying tanning solution onto your body. Whatever you choose, you’ll walk out of the salon looking like you spent the day at the beach, without the sunburn or tanning lines. Here’s how you can achieve the perfect spray tan.
Make an appointment at a salon that offers spray tanning. Some salons offer walk-in specials if you don’t want an appointment.
The day before your appointment, make sure to gently exfoliate your skin to remove any dead skin cells as you shower or bathe. Fake tanning spray contains a derivative of glycerin, dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which reacts with dead skin cells to cause blotchy coloring. The exfoliating helps avoid this, so let this be your final shower before tanning.
Shave a day before your tan. Shaving directly after your tan can seriously shorten the duration of your bronze glow.
Wear loose clothing when going to get your tan. The bronzer used in the tanning process can stain clothes, so opt for something dark. Don’t wear your best outfit. Avoid tight clothing, which can rub your tan away.
Go bare. Just as shaving can mess up your tan, so can the use of deodorant, makeup, perfume and other cosmetics. These can even cause your skin to turn green, which isn’t exactly the color you want.
Be still and allow the tanning solution to cover your naked or nearly naked body.
Gently blot a towel over yourself to wipe off any excess tanning solution when the spraying process has finished.
Check with the salon to see if any follow-up treatment will be needed. You can shower usually four hours after treatment. Just be sure to avoid any exfoliating products to allow the tan to fully sink in. The salon technicians should indicate if there are any other precautions you need to follow.