The my spa guide to everything tanning - the healthy way. How to book, prepare your skin and what happens during and after, with some top tips to achieving a beautiful tone and lasting results.
Having your fake tan applied by a professional using either spray or lotion practically guarantees that you will have a golden, even and streak free tan with the minimum of mess and fuss.
This is definitely the safest way to get that summer glow.
When should I book my tan?
Both spray tans and manual tans are best applied a day before the event you are getting tanned up for as you need to leave at least 4 hours between having the tan applied and showering.
What do I need to do before the treatment?
You will need to exfoliate before the treatment, which you can do at home, or some spas offer a full body exfoliation, (see Scrubs and Polishes), as an added extra before you have the tan. If you choose to exfoliate yourself at home be sure not to moisturise as the moisturiser can stop the tanning spray or lotion from adhering properly to your skin. The length of time your tan lasts depends on how well you exfoliated before your treatment so pay extra attention to it! You should also ensure that you are not wearing any makeup when you arrive for the treatment.
To avoid any irritation you should shave or wax ,if required, at least 24 hours before your tanning.
What happens during the treatment?
When you arrive for your tan the therapist will discuss how dark or light you would like your tan to be, you will then be directed to a treatment room or changing room to take off all your clothing and jewellery leaving only your knickers on; some spas will offer you a paper or plastic disposable thong to wear. Don’t be embarrassed your therapist will have seen it all before!
Wear a thong unless you want an untanned behind and make sure if you are wearing your own knickers that they are not your lucky pair as the tanning spray or lotion will inevitably end up all over them by the time your treatment is finished
If you are having a spray tan manually applied you will be asked to stand either in a cubicle which is open on one side or on towels in front of a sheet and the therapist will start to spray you with the tan using a device that looks like a weed killer spray bottle! But it’s really not…Starting with your front the therapist will spray your entire body which may require them to ask you to get into some odd positions to ensure that they don’t miss a bit, embarrassing maybe but absolutely necessary! They will usually ask if you would like your face sprayed as well before they do this.
The spray tan can be rather cold so don’t be shocked!
After the spray tan has been applied the therapist will ensure it dries quickly onto your skin sometimes using a hair dryer or a fan built into the cubicle. You will be asked to redress once the therapist has checked that the tan has dried, usually this only takes a couple of minutes.
If you are having a spray tan applied automatically you will be asked to enter a tanning unit after undressing where the tan will be sprayed through nozzles onto your skin at the touch of a button. Prior to your treatment the therapist will have worked out the correct tanning level for you based on your body size, skin type and desired colour, they will then either talk you through the process or show you an instructional video. You will have an instant natural looking colour which will darken during the day to achieve your desired outcome.
If you are having a manual tan you will be asked to lie on the bed in the treatment room while the therapist applies the tanning lotion to your skin.
Once the tanning lotion has dried you will be asked to get up and get dressed.
Wear old clothes as the excess lotion or spray can sometimes rub off on your clothing and when you redress leave your bra off to ensure that you don’t accidentally give yourself strap marks!
What do I need to do after the treatment?
Generally you will get a good even finish to your tan as the therapist will be able to see where they have already applied the spray or lotion and will have a great deal of control over how much tan they are putting on your skin. Unlike DIY tanning if you are unhappy with the result at least you have someone to complain to!
With both the spray and the lotion, the colour will darken over the following four hours, but as the therapist should be experienced in applying tans they should know how much spray tan they need to apply to your skin to get the depth of colour you are looking for.
Both types of tanning require you to wait a minimum of four hours before showering and showing off your LOTION. We would recommend you have your tan the afternoon or evening before your event so that you can go to bed and let the tan fully develop before showering the next morning.
Pop a towel between you and your sheet if you are planning to go to bed with the tan on and shower in the morning as some of the tan may transfer from your skin to the sheets
To maintain your tan in the days following your treatment you should exfoliate and moisturise daily. This will ensure that your tan lasts as long as possible and fades away gradually rather than becoming patchy. A properly maintained tan whether applied using a spray or a lotion will usually last for 3-5 days depending on how well you exfoliated before the tan was applied.
As with all spa treatments, you should always advise the spa if you have any allergies or if you may be pregnant so they can ensure the treatment and products used are suitable for you.