Sunless tanning still has SO many stigmas, even in the year 2023 and on a daily basis, spray tan artists deal with this in their interactions with clients. In spite of this, the more educated we are during the tanning process and the ways in which we can mitigate issues in the development process, the better outcomes we can produce for our clients. Our goal should always be to achieve a flawless, even, natural-looking tan, right? Your clients seek a healthier alternative to tanning and, in return, hope to receive a natural-looking result when they come to you. As we all know, sometimes there are situations that disrupt the process of applying a natural sunless tan. These disruptions or mistakes may have caused you to receive a frenzied phone call or two once they’ve noticed streaks down their body after their spray tan. As we always say, “knowledge is power!” Understanding the reasons why these issues may happen in the first place is the first step to avoiding and even fixing the issue when and if it does happen.
During The Rinse
When spray tanning, we typically use a sunless solution that has a cosmetic bronzer mixed in with it. Although there are clear solutions available on the market for artists to use, they’re not as common and are often seen as more difficult to use because they don’t provide a guide to the spray tan technician while they work. Essentially, this bronzer is used as a color guard for the artist and creates a type of “instant gratification” right after an appointment because the client is able to see an immediate color pay off. In this sense, the bronzer is just makeup applied to the skin and has a very minimal effect on the actual color of the spray tan. The one difficult part of creating a stellar spray tan result, is the fact that, as the artist, we have to rely heavily on the pre and post tan care that the client does. We always hope that the client follows their instructions perfectly, but this doesn’t always happen! During the post tan process, the client will be instructed to rinse their tan after a certain period of time (usually 8 hours) with just water. Although a rinse seems like a simple task, there is room for error with this one small instruction. If the client quickly hops in the shower to do their first rinse without thoroughly removing all of the cosmetic bronzer, they may see the appearance of streaks on their skin. Although this could result in you receiving a very concerned message from a client, it’s not something that is going to ruin the entire tanning process! If these streaks are seen on the skin after the rinse, the client can just hop right back in the shower and gently massage the rest of the bronzer off with their hands. To avoid this type of panic initially, it’s beneficial for you and the client to include in your post tan instructions that they should gently massage the bronzer off with their hands during the initial rinse.
During The Development
When a client is in the development phase of their spray tan, we usually just want them to chill out and marinate in peace. Since it takes 24 hours for a spray tan to fully develop, there’s room for mistakes to take place that could cause disruption in how the tan’s final result looks. During this time period, the client should try to stay away from doing any heavy sweating or coming in contact with water (aside from their initial rinse). For those gym babes, this can be a tough feat! However, even if they do follow this instruction, getting a spray tan during a hot summer day can cause perspiration to take place, disrupting the development. There’s also accidents that just happen in general, such as a client spilling water on their face when they’re taking a drink, dribbling a little pee on their leg (yes, this happens) when going to the bathroom, or getting caught in the rain after their appointment. In these circumstances, streaking may be an outcome of these unfortunate events. When water or sweat comes in contact with the skin before the tan is fully developed, especially in the early hours of development, the DHA that is interacting with the skin to create that gorgeous faux glow may be removed in the process. When water or sweat removes some of the solution, those areas will not develop fully and that’s where we see streaks or unevenness. This type of streaking is not as easy of a fix as bronzer being left on the skin after the first rinse, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a complete lost cause. If this type of streaking happens, as the spray tan artist, you can try to blend the area out with a small amount of solution on a brush or sponge. You can also recommend that the client use a self tanner to try to blend out the area at home. If these steps are taken to try to correct the streaking, it can look a little funky immediately after the fix, but once the tan is rinsed, it should blend out seamlessly.
Eliminating the stigma of streaky sunless tans is not something that is going to happen over night and will most likely continue to be a concern for most spray tan clients, especially if they are a first timer. But, you can help calm the fears of those uneasy clients through being educated and increasing your knowledge about your service and the process that occurs throughout the tan’s development. To vamp up your sunless education, you can enroll today in our Spray Tan Certification Courses! For more information, head over to our X-TAN Sunless website and click on the “Spray Tan Biz” tab!