Undergoing the first spray tan session can raise many doubts. However, it is enough to get a general idea about the treatment to understand that in reality it is nothing of the other world. Removed clothes and accessories, you have to enter a compartment that is slightly larger than a telephone booth and wait to receive voice instructions on how to position yourself. Each beauty center offers different indications, but the basics are basically the same: remove arms and legs from the rest of the body, spread the fingers and assume a position as straight as possible so that the tanning solution can homogeneously pigment the epidermis.
Part 1 of 3: Entering the Cabin
Step 1. Avoid using makeup and moisturizers
On the day of the session, do not apply any cosmetics, lotion or moisturizer, with the exception of products that are indicated to you by the beauty center before the session. All products applied to the skin act as if they were a barrier, preventing the penetration of the tanning solution.
If you plan to go to the beauty salon after another appointment, bring some makeup remover wipes
Step 2. Avoid applying deodorants or antiperspirants before the session
These products often contain traces of aluminum. It is therefore possible that they react with the chemicals in the tanning solution, causing the underarms to take on a greenish tinge. Nothing more embarrassing!
Step 3. Remove all clothes and accessories
Once you arrive at the beauty center, you will be taken to a private room where you can undress. In addition to your clothes, be sure to take off watches, jewelry, and other accessories. They could in fact be ruined by the tanning solution or leave unsightly stains.
- Most salons offer the option of wearing a bathing suit or having the session completely naked to get a better tan. If you decide to use a swimsuit, wear an old or dark one, as the solution can leave stains.
- If you have long hair, collect it and tuck it under the plastic cap that the beauty center gives you, so that it doesn't get in the way.
Step 4. Position yourself in the center of the booth
Enter the booth and settle exactly in the center, where you will be at the right distance from the nozzles that disperse the tanning solution. If you only see a row of nozzles, then the propagation of the product is mainly concentrated in the central area of the booth.
Look on the ground to see if there are any signs on the floor that indicate where to place your feet
Step 5. Turn your face towards the specified direction
Inside the cabin you should see a sign whose function is to indicate which wall to turn to. Typically you have to stand in front of the nozzles, but some booths require you to start by looking at the opposite wall to tan the back of your body first.
In smaller booths, you have to turn to each individual wall so that the nozzles can make more passes before the session ends
Step 6. Listen to the directions you are given
Once you have assumed the initial position, a pre-recorded voice will come out of the speaker that will tell you where to look, how to settle down and when to turn or change your position. Make sure you listen to it carefully: it will guide you throughout the duration of the treatment.
- Try to follow the instructions to the letter. If you don't follow the directions, you risk finding yourself with uneven pigmentation.
- If the bronzer is applied by hand by a beautician rather than by automated nozzles, you will not need to have special precautions. The professional will guide you step by step through the entire procedure and make sure you are comfortable.
Part 2 of 3: Assuming the Right Position
Step 1. Try to stand straight
Avoid slouching, leaning, bending or hunching over. The folds or wrinkles that form due to poor posture prevent the solution from penetrating, consequently at the end of the treatment these areas will be lighter than the rest of the body.
Don't be alarmed if they tell you to push your buttocks out when the solution is sprayed on your back. This indication is given to prevent the bronzer from leaving unsightly lines on the top of the thighs
Step 2. Place your feet approximately shoulder-width apart
Spread your legs slightly past the width of your hips, with your knees and toes forward. The nozzles will thus be able to coat an entire side of the body with a single pass.
In smaller cabins, you may be instructed to bend one leg forward when assuming a lateral position, so that the solution can reach the inner thigh
Step 3. Take your arms away from your body
Lift your arms to the side by bending your elbows slightly and turning your palms behind you. In some cabins you are asked to raise your arms above your head, as if you were throwing a ball.
Always follow the instructions given to you in the salon. Each appliance distributes the tanning solution differently. This means that a certain position may be more suitable for one type of cabin than for another
Step 4. Spread your fingers
Extend your hands as if you are counting to five. This trick allows you to homogeneously tan each part of the hand. As for the back, they may invite you to curl your fingers to get better coverage on the knuckles.
Experts recommend applying a light layer of cream to areas that tend to absorb more tanning solution (such as the knuckles or the spaces between the fingers) to prevent them from darkening too much
Step 5. Keep your eyes and mouth closed
This is especially important to remember, as the chemicals in the tanning solution can irritate the eyes and airways. You will get a final reminder just before the nozzles are activated. If no directions are given, keep your facial muscles in a position that is as relaxed and neutral as possible.
- Some salons offer free nose pads and goggles so that customers can undergo the procedure in a comfortable and safe way.
- Try not to squeeze your eyes or tighten your lips excessively, or wrinkles may occur.
Step 6. Quickly switch between locations
When the pre-recorded voice prompts you to turn around, bring one leg forward, or raise your arms, change your position right away. In most booths you are only given 10 or 20 seconds to turn around before the nozzles are reactivated. This time interval is more than enough to change position, the important thing is to pay attention and have fast reaction times.
- Get ready to move as soon as the nozzles are deactivated, so you can turn around with peace of mind and avoid it becoming a race against time.
- In most tanning booths, the position only needs to be changed once. Instead, smaller booths may require two basic positions, to be taken twice each (one on each side).
Part 3 of 3: Complete the Procedure
Step 1. Stay still while drying
Once the tanning solution has been applied to the entire body, the nozzles will begin to blow hot air through the ventilation ducts. Keep your arms and legs apart to allow air to reach every single part of your body. The drying process should take a few seconds.
Make sure you stay in the cabin until the door opens and you are invited out
Step 2. Blot stains and streaks with a towel
When you expose yourself to normal light again, you may notice small imperfections. Gently blotting the affected areas with a clean towel helps make them less noticeable. Make sure you don't massage or rub your skin, otherwise you risk spreading the product and leaving streaks.
- Since the leather has already been dried in the booth, it will not be necessary to use the towel.
- Spray tanning generally offers a smoother and more homogeneous result than other tanning treatments, but it is not perfect. If you are looking for a totally natural effect, it may be preferable to invest a little more and book an airbrush tanning session.
Step 3. Wash your hands and feet immediately
The tanning solution can darken the cuticles, lines of the palms, knuckles and the tops of the toes. The excessively dark areas would betray you and immediately make it clear that it is an artificial tan.
- If you are concerned about removing excessive amounts of the product, bring baby wipes and use them to touch up the extremities of the body with extreme care.
- Applying clear polish to your nails can create a protective barrier against pigmentation concentrations.
Step 4. Wait 10 to 15 minutes before getting dressed
While it is not a problem to get dressed as soon as the skin feels dry to the touch, most experts recommend waiting a few more minutes. This will reduce the risk of staining your clothes. You can stay in the locker room for as long as you need to make sure your skin is dry.
Choose baggy dark clothes to get home from the beauty center
Step 5. Avoid getting wet for at least eight hours
Avoid hot showers, swimming pools, or baths for the rest of the day so that the tanning solution can set well on your skin. The combination of water and chemicals such as chlorine can partially dissolve the tan, causing spots or halos to form.
- Do not exfoliate your skin for a week or so to prevent the tan from fading. Shaving less often also helps make it last longer.
- Regularly moisturize the skin to keep it soft and prolong the tan.
- If this is your first time doing this treatment, choose a lighter tone and darken it gradually once you understand if it suits your complexion.
- Make an appointment at the beauty center two or three days before a big event (like a wedding or an important meeting) to make sure you look your best.
- Tanning solutions do not protect against UV rays, so if you plan to sunbathe, you will still need to apply protection.