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Top 4 reasons a spray tan does not set properly

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You are the professional in your field. Your customers come to you because they trust you; that trust could be broken if it seems like your spray tanning is not producing the results that you promised. There are several ways that a spray tan could be damaged, and what’s especially frustrating is that some of it can be out of your control. You can tell your clients to exfoliate until your face turns blue, but if they still won’t exfoliate then really there is nothing you can do beyond warn them that their choice will affect the length of the tan they receive.

Keeping your clients and yourself well-informed is a huge step towards making sure that you are providing the best spray tans possible. Here are five, easy-to-fix issues that could be effecting your spray tan.

A great example of a perfect tan, sprayed by Be Bronze

1. Barrier creams

History of Barrier Creams

Back in the Dark Ages of spray tanning, there were these giant booths that sprayed every single person in the same way. There was no personalization at all. So many things could go wrong: if you put your hands the wrong way, or stood incorrectly, or didn’t have your ears outside the hair cap, or were “too tall” so that the spray didn’t reach the top of your shoulders correctly, or accidently rubbed your barrier cream up your arm, or touched the side of the booth when you were coming out, or…well you get the idea.

Thought: what if you started sneezing during the automatic spray tan? That would certainly turn out interesting!

Because these booths sprayed every person in the same way, people used barrier creams on their hands, feet, elbows, and anywhere else that DHA could soak in more easily. This was an okay stop-gap measure, but it was by no means perfect. For one thing, it is rather unpleasant to have to “gel up” before tanning; for another, many tanners found that they were accidently rubbing off parts of their tan while trying to remove the barrier cream after tanning.

Today: if you are using a spray tan gun then barrier cream is not needed.

There is no need for a barrier cream because you control how close or far away you are spraying, thus you are able to control how much an area is sprayed with. What you have to do is make sure that you are not spraying the hands and feet at the same distance that you spray the rest of the body. What I have found is that many people still feel like they need to use barrier creams, but it is all in your head! “Feathering” the gun back from the hands and feet will easily solve what barrier creams turn into a chore.

How to solve: Don’t use it! You don’t need it!

2. Moisturizers and other skincare products

Moisturizers, creams, soaps—we aren’t telling you not to use these! Please do! Taking care of your skin is one of the many important facets of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. But if you use them before a spray tan, these same beneficial products can be a real waste.

Anything that can get between you and your tan can create a barrier. This can include moisturizers, soaps, shampoos, shaving creams, skincare ointments—anything that could leave a residue on the skin.

Why don’t I want anything on my skin before a spray tan?

Because the DHA in a spray tan needs to be able to react with the Amino Acids in your skin. If there is something that will interrupt that process by not allowing the DHA to come in contact with those acids then the spray tan will not set to 100% of its ability.

How to solve: Only use moisturizers and skincare products after your tan has set and preferably after your first shower.

3. Gun Problems

Sometimes you can sabotage a tan and not even know it.

If your gun hasn’t been recently cleaned it might only allow the spray tan Bronzer to spray out and not the DHA (bronzer is lighter and so could “sneak out” through a clog while the heavier DHA is left behind). Check out this link to watch a one minute video on how to clean your gun!

If your gun is turned up too high it could literally be causing the solution to bounce off your client’s skin. This of course would stop a tan from setting properly. To fix this problem, simply read our Spray Gun troubleshooting guide

4. Your Client showered or went swimming too early

Sometimes we Humans can be impatient—probably why I burn my mouth when I’m making French Fries. If your client doesn’t allow the solution the proper setting time then there is no way that their tan will fully develop. Make sure that you have been very clear about how long they have to stay dry for.

Other than showering or swimming too early, there should be no reason why you can’t enjoy a dip in the pool—just be certain to moisturizer and use tan extenders afterwards to counteract the drying effects of the chlorine.

Note: I’m not sure about hot tubs—we still have to try this out (shucks, we have to hang out in a hot tub!)

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