Whether you get a professional spray tan or self-tan there are tips and tricks that you can use to achieve the perfect glow and get long-lasting wear out of your sunless tan.

TIP 1: Get all your other beauty treatments done at least 1 day before you get a sunless tan. Manicures, pedicures, waxing and certain types of hair treatments (color, perms, hair straightening treatments, etc.) can remove a sunless tan and should be done before you spray tan or self-tan.

TIP 2: Exfoliating is super important before spray tanning or self-tanning.  The color you see after a spray tan is only on the outer layer of the epidermis. The tan will develop more evenly and last longer if all the dead skin cells are removed prior to your sunless treatment.

TIP 3: Shower, shave and exfoliate at least 3 hours before you spray tan or self-tan.  Do not use lotions, depilatories, oil-based exfoliating scrubs or moisturizing shave creams. Use a bar soap that doesn’t leave a film on the skin.

After you have exfoliated and shaved your pores are open and you have scrubbed off the naturally occurring Amino Acids that are necessary to get a perfect tan.  By waiting you give your pores time to close and your skin to build up those necessary Amino Acids.

INSIDER TIP: Self-tanners should apply a little lotion on the dryer areas (elbows, knees, ankles, feet) directly after showering. 

Tip 4: Customize your tanning.  There are several different types of self-tanning products that give you the bronzed glow.  If you get spray tanned tell your technician about your tanning goals.  They can help you pick the right shade for you.  If you self-tan there are drops, mousses, sprays and lotions available. Pick the one you feel most confident in applying. Self-tanners are designed to let you build a tan to your liking.  If you want a deeper tan simply apply daily until you like what you see.

TIP 5: Application can be easy if you follow this rule. No matter what type of self-tanner you choose to use start your application process from the lower half of your body and work your way up. This way you don’t make creases in your tan.

TIP 6: After you have spray tanned or self-tanned wear loose clothing.  Depending on the type of product used or spray tan received, it will take 8 to 12 hours for the tan to fully develop. During that time tight clothing can leave marks in your tan.   

TIP 7: Avoid contact with moisture during development.  No sweating or getting wet while the sunless tan is developing or you will end up with a streaky looking tan. Do not use lotions or other products that can damage your tan until after your first shower.

Tip 8: Whether you spray tan or self-tan hydration is the key to keeping your tan lasting.  Drink plenty of water but also make sure to use a moisturizer daily. BEWARE not all lotions are good for a sunless tans.  Oil-based lotions or lotions that contain petroleum and/or mineral oils will prematurely remove at sunless tan.

TIP 9: If you plan to go into the sun make sure to use plenty of spray application sunscreen. Do not use lotion sunscreen as it will remove the tan before your very eyes.

Bonus Tip: Not all spray tan solutions perform the same. To learn more about the different solutions Sol Potion offers click here.


You may have questions about spray tanning. Below is a general list of the most commonly asked questions.

How does spray tanning work?

Sunless tanning, often referred to as spray tanning, is a personalized service performed by a professional airbrush technician. The result is an instant tan that looks natural. The active ingredient that creates this appearance is Dihydroxyacetone (DHA). DHA is derived from natural sugar cane which interacts with the amino acids on the outermost layer of the skin to produce a brown color. If the you properly prepare and care for your sunless tan it can last from 7 to 10 days.

Are there any risks with spray tanning?

While airbrush tanning has been reported as the safer way to obtain a tan, the FDA offers recommended guidelines for clients that wish to get a spray tan such as sealing the lips with lip balm and wear protective undergarments. Some people have reported allergic reactions to the Dihydroxyacetone (DHA). If you are concerned about allergies, have your technician conduct a patch test before your session.

Why should I try airbrush tanning?

Immediate results. A sunless tan will give you the exact color you are looking in 5 minutes. In addition, you’ll get all the benefits of sun-kissed tan, without the harmful side effects from traditional tanning (i.e. skin cancer, early skin aging).

If I am pregnant, can I still receive an airbrush tan?

Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) is FDA approved and considered safe as it only penetrates the outermost layer of the skin. There is no evidence that DHA is harmful. However, we do recommend that pregnant women always consult with their physician first.

Will an airbrush tan affect my tattoo?

Airbrush solution will not hurt tattoos. However, it may darken the color during the life of your sunless tan. If you are concerned about this, ask your technician for a recommended barrier cream to cover your tattoo before your spray tan session.

How deep a tan can I get from an airbrush session?

Many people think that the darker the tan the better. However, if the color is too dark for your natural skin tone the fading will appear more prominent resulting in a patchy look. Our goal at Sol Potion Studio is to provide a natural looking tan that is specific your skin tone. Your airbrush technician will suggest the shade that will best suit your needs.

How do I prepare for my airbrush session?

There are a few things that you should do to prepare for your airbrush tan treatment:

  • Shower, shave and exfoliate at least 3 hours before the airbrush session. It is important to give the amino acids on your skin time to rebuild in order to accept the sunless tan.
  • Do not use lotions, depilatories, oil-based exfoliating scrubs or moisturizing shave creams prior to the session. Sol Potion’s Blue Seas Exfoliating Sunless Body Prep is moisturizer free and perfect for preparing the skin for the airbrush session.
  • Apply clear nail polish to nail beds to prevent staining. If you do not wear nail polish apply a very light amount of barrier cream to your nail beds.
  • Do not wear makeup, perfume or deodorant to the session.
  • Wear dark loose clothing to the session. The solution will wash out of most fabrics, but we recommend cotton.
  • Bring an umbrella if there is rain in the forecast.

What products I should avoid before my sunless session?

It is recommended that you do not use any lotions, depilatories, oil-based exfoliating scrubs or moisturizing body washes or creams before your session. Do not wear perfume, deodorant or makeup.

How do I protect my fingernails and toenails from staining?

Painted fingers and toes will protect your nail beds from staining. If you do not wear polish, apply a clear base coat before your airbrush or use a barrier cream on the nail beds.

What should I wear to my spray tan session?

Wear dark loose clothing. Cotton is recommended. Avoid wearing a bra, socks or other restrictive clothing immediately after your session. The spray tan solution can permanently stain leather and silk.

Will the airbrush solution stain my clothing?

Most sunless tanning solutions contain bronzers. This is so you can see color immediately while the DHA develops. Bronzers are a temporary color that will wash off during your first shower. The bronzer can leave color on clothing and/or sheets. The solution is water soluble and will wash out of cotton. Silk, leather and other materials may stain.

How long will it take to develop?

DHA takes up to 12 hours to fully develop. Early exposure to moisture stops DHA development. However, if absolutely necessary you can shower 8 hours after your airbrush session.

When can I shower after my session?

It is recommended that you avoid moisture (i.e. swimming, showering, sweating, and hot tubs) for at least 12 hours after your session. Early exposure to moisture can stop the DHA’s development process.

Can I use lotion after my session?

Our solutions have moisturizers that will keep your skin hydrated until your first shower. You should lotion every day after your first shower to prolong the life of your tan. Make sure not use any lotion that contains petroleum or mineral oil as this will cause early fading and streaking. Smooth Daily Moisturizer is the perfect complement to your sunless tan.

How long will my airbrush tan last?

The average sunless tan can last from 5 to 10 days depending a few factors:

  • Proper preparation for sunless tanning treatment.
  • Level of physical activity (excessive sweating or contact with water will increase fading).
  • Moisture maintenance is the key to prolonging the life of your tan.
  • Make sure to stay hydrated and moisturized.
  • Avoid exfoliators during the life of your sunless tan.

Are there ways to extend the life of my tan?

YES!  In addition to proper care of your sunless tan, you can use Sol Potion’s Tanning H20 self-tanning spray, Ritual gradual self-tanning lotion, our Self-Tanning Mousse or Sun Drops tanning serum as needed to keep your color looking fresh. These products contain DHA that will freshen your tan in between sessions.

Can I swim or go in tubs with my airbrush tan?

If you participate in water related activities, you will not get the longevity out of your tan. AVOID the hot tub at all costs, unless you want to completely remove the sunless tan.

  1. Moisturize before you get wet. This can be with a good waterproof sunscreen. It will help to create a barrier between the water and your skin. HINT: We like sport spray sunscreens. These generally do not contain petroleum or mineral oils, which prematurely fades sunless tans. They are also waterproof which acts as a barrier between the water and the skin.
  2. When you get out of the water PAT DRY with the towel. Do not wipe the skin. Patting dry will avoid friction that can wipe off the tan.
  3. Do not use oil-based suntan lotions. As stated above, petroleum or mineral based tanning lotion, tanning oil and sunscreens will streak and prematurely fade a sunless tan.
  4. Make sure to use a good daily moisturizing lotion when going back indoors. We recommend using Smooth Daily Moisturizer because it is specifically designed to work with sunless tans.
  5. Apply a gradual self-tanning lotion or sunless aerosol spray tanning products as needed to keep the tan fresh.

Will my airbrush tan protect my skin from the sun or UV tanning?

NO! Sunless tanning solutions do not have sunscreen protection, and will not protect you from damaging effects from UV exposure. Whenever you go into the sun you should always apply a sunscreen.

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