Choosing Your Spray Tan Color

As the summer approaches we get more requests from our clients that they want to receive the darkest possible sunless tan.  Even though it’s May, this sends shivers down our spines.  We always want to accommodate our customers but know that applying a darker shade will not necessarily give the desired result. 

Remember the goal of a spray tan is to look pretty and natural.  We always try to advise our clients that a darker level of solution may not look natural on certain skin tones. 

So, what exactly is DHA and why do I care? 
The primary ingredient in all sunless solutions is DHA (Dihydroxyacetone).  DHA reacts with the naturally occurring amino acids on the epidermis causing a bronzed color to appear.  In other words, DHA adheres to the dead skin cells and turns them brown.  As the cells begin to shed so does the coloring attached to it. 

All sunless solutions contain a certain percentage of DHA. A higher percentage of DHA will produce a deeper result.  In addition, the more DHA concentration in the solution the more the color changes from a golden brown to a red brown. Using too high a percent of DHA on lighter skin will produce an unnatural color and have patchy fading.

What’s the deal with Bronzers?
Bronzers are a temporary color added to the solution to assist the technician with the application process.  It also gives a pop of color for the client to see while the DHA develops.  This is a short-term coloring, similar to certain types of makeup that wash off immediately.  It is not representative of the final color.  

We frequently hear clients say “I don’t want a solution that has any red.” Or “I want my solution to have ash/green in it” or I want the purple solution.  The common misconception with these requests is only the cosmetic bronzer can have an ash, purple or red base. The active ingredient DHA is clear. The hue of bronzers will have no bearing on the final color. 

When you get a sunless tan no matter what color is used, you WILL look tan. The key is to choose a shade that will look best for your skin tone and fade in natural looking way.