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Why Did My Spray Tan Solution Go Green?

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I have experienced this and I’m sure you have too. You open your bottle of spray tan solution, pour it into your cup, or spray it on your client and notice that your solution is as green as Oscar the Grouch.

The process by which your solution turns green (or blue) is called oxidation. Most spray tan solution bronzers are made from three bronzer colors, using either Cosmetic or the higher quality Food Grade color additives: Red, Yellow, and Blue. Of these three colors, red oxidizes the fastest—which means it deteriorates quicker than the other two colors.

As time goes on, there will be less and less red in your bronzer formula. Anyone who didn’t skip art class in school can probably guess what happens when you only mix the leftover colors: Yellow and Blue. (For those of you who skipped that day of school to go see a movie: the answer is Green.)

Now obviously no client is going to be too happy with that unless it’s Saint Patrick’s Day, and even then they might be sprinting for the nearest shower to wash off the solution. The good news is that you don’t have to be stuck pouring out hundreds of dollars of solution every week because there are some solutions that “keep” longer than others.

Why do some spray tan solutions turn green faster than others?

As with nearly anything, the quality of the ingredients in your spray tan solution is extremely important. Quality plays a HUGE role in how fast a solution will turn green. Some companies out there dump a whole bunch of “extras” into their spray tan solution in the hopes that they will distract you from the truth about the actual quality of their individual ingredients. It’s basically the same way magicians work: they make you look left when you should be looking right.

But the bottom line is: Cheaper solutions use cheaper ingredients.

If your solution is made from cheaper ingredients, like Cosmetic Bronzers rather than Food Grade colorants, or if it’s made with oils and alcohols (another indicator of a lesser-quality solution), then chances are it will also turn green faster than a higher-quality spray tan solution.

Ask yourself this: Have you ever received a bottle of solution only to find out it had ALREADY turned green? Have you ever had a bottle of solution turn green only a few weeks after receiving it, even though you stored it in a refrigerator?

If you answered yes to either of these, you might be using an inferior product.

Is there a spray tan solution that will never go green?

Unfortunately there is not. Given enough time, any spray tan solution that contains bronzers will turn green. The good news is that higher-quality solutions can last six months or more—some don’t even go bad until around a year or even longer!

So the next time you’re pouring green spray tan solution down the drain, ask yourself: do you feel like you really saved any money by buying the cheaper solution?

Frequently Asked Questions

How should I store my spray tan solution?

That depends entirely on the quality of the solution: Lesser quality solutions will need to be kept in cool, dark places out of sunlight, and possibly in the refrigerator. Higher quality solutions can be left at room temperature, and in direct sunlight (Your client will appreciate the difference!)

No matter the quality, no spray tan solution should be boiled under any circumstances!

Is it safe to pour solution back into my spray tan bottle?

Yes, as long as the solution you are pouring in is not green of course! If you have left over solution from a spray tan, you should experience no problems by returning it back to the bottle.

My spray tan solution is green around the cap, has the entire bottle gone bad?

Not necessarily. What most likely happened is that the small amount of solution left over on the cap has oxidized. The best way to ensure that your solution is still good is to pour a little bit out into your cup—if it looks good, then it is good!

My client said their armpits turned green, has my solution gone bad?

Most likely not. If the solution was bad it would probably have resulted in a green tan all over rather than localized to just your client’s armpits. This is almost certainly a result of the spray tan bronzers reacting with deodorant or perfume. Remind your client to exfoliate their underarms properly before getting their spray tan, but don’t worry: the green color is only the bronzer—it is not representative of the finished tan developing underneath. (That being said, since they had residue on their armpit the finished tan might still be lighter since there was something there to block the tan from setting.)

Do I have to refrigerate my spray tan solution?

This depends on the quality of your spray tan solution. Some companies state that their solutions will last longer if refrigerated and others state that it’s not needed. Typically speaking, the higher-quality solutions will not need to be refrigerated.

Can I freeze my spray tan solution to make it last longer?

We have conducted tests where we have frozen solution, then thawed and thoroughly mixed the solutions. While some of the results from some samples were fine, others did not develop properly. This lack of consistency is enough for us to say, “Don’t Freeze”.

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