What is an airbrush tan?
A sunless tanner contains the ingredient DHA (dihydroxyacetone) that reacts with the outer layer of the skin turning it a brownish tan color. When dissolved in water, DHA produces a colorless solution. Many self tanners have bronzers added so that the product goes on with a tan shade. The addition of color also makes application easier, since applied and un-applied areas are distinct. Since the sunless tan is on the outer layers of skin, it lasts until these skin cells shed in the normal exfoliating cycle. A fully developed sunless tan will typically take 6-12 hours depending on formulation.
How long does it take?
With practice, a single application can take as little as 5 minutes or so. Factor in the drying time of about 5 minutes, and you can average a total time of about 15-20 minutes for an airbrush session.
How long does it last?
A typical tan lasts from a 4-10 day period depending on the aftercare attention and the general nature of a specific person's skin. It is recommended to only get a tan on average about once per week.
Before your spray tanning session
Do exfoliate 24 hours before getting a spray tan to ensure an even application. Exfoliation sloughs away the dead skin cells, which will help achieve the longest-lasting tan possible. Use a water-based exfoliating scrub rather than an oil-based one. Oils may interfere with the spray tanning solution from developing properly.
Don't apply any moisturizer, deodorant, perfume or other beauty products before your tanning appointment. They may also inhibit the quality of your tan.
Do shave or wax the evening before your spray tanning session. If you shave after you get your spray tan, it will exfoliate the skin and affect the tanning results.
Don't wear any jewelry or makeup to your tanning session. Pull your hair up and off your face and neck.
Do wear a swimsuit, thong or underwear -- whatever makes you feel comfortable.
Do ask the technician questions before your session begins. He/she will guide you on how to position yourself to achieve optimal results.
After your spray tanning session
Do wear loose clothing and flip flops when you leave the tanning salon. Ditch your bra for at least six hours.
Don't take a shower (or get wet for any other reason) for the first 24 hours after receiving a spray tan. Water contact will stop the tanning process.
Don't exercise for the first 24 hours. Sweat will cause your tan to streak.
Don't book any hair or nail appointments for 48 hours after your tanning session.
Don't use soaps and other body products that contain parabens, glycolic alpha hydroxy acids or sodium lauryl sulfates -- they will fade your tan more quickly. Don't use a loofah, puff or wash cloth.
Do moisturize every day -- morning and night. Also use a moisturizing soap-free body wash to extend the life of your tan.
Do use a tan extender to reduce patchiness and extend the life of your tan. Use a product that contains a light DHA bronzer.