What is Spray Tanning?

What Is An Airbrush Tan?

Airbrush tanning produces a natural looking tan that lasts for a week or more.  Even better, an airbrush tan doesn't damage the skin by causing sun spots, premature aging, or skin cancer.  Airbrush tanning offers a seamless tan that looks natural and is safe to utilize regularly.

Many people think that airbrush tanning and spray tanning are the same thing, but in actuality they are very different.  Spray tanning can leave you looking like you've been shot with orange or brown paint and can leave a splotchy, streaky result.  This is because a spray tan is applied by computerized machinery that sprays you from head to toe.  Typically there are only a couple of solutions to choose from which may not be appropriate for your skin tone.  Also, it can sometimes take up to three sessions to get an even application; this can also result in a very unnatural looking color. 

An airbrush spray tan is applied by a tanning specialist using an airbrush pen or HPLV gun.  The solution is custom mixed by your tanning specialist to match your skin tone and your desired results.  And because the solution is being applied to your body by a highly trained, master certified Body Bar specialist, you are guaranteed a flawless, even spray tan.  There will be no need for multiple coats of solution. 

The main ingredient used in our sunless tanning product is dihydroxyacetone (DHA).  DHA is a plant-based sugar molecule derived from sugar beets and sugar cane.  All solutions are non-toxic and:

  • Paraben Free
  • Gluten Free
  • Sulfate Free
  • Nut-Allergen Free
  • Propylene Glycol Free
  • Phthalates Free
  • Synthetic Fragrance Free
  • Non-Comedogenic
  • Hypo-allergenic
  • Ingredients are plant based
  • Vegan

Our airbrush tans typically last 7-10 days depending on your skin type, lifestyle, and how well your maintain your tan. 


We provide airbrush tans in-salon and on a mobile basis.  

Airbrush tanning is also much more affordable than spray tanning/UV tanning.  We offer tanning memberships for $55/month.  Check out our special Buy 3 Get 1 Free package too! 

Airbrush tanning is truly the best tanning option for anyone looking for a little more color and it's not limited to fair-skinned clients only.  There are no age restrictions either as there is with UV tanning (18+ years old in California).  We do caution pregnant and diabetic clients though, to speak with their doctors about the application of a sugar-based solution to their largest organ; their skin.  We also require that breastfeeding moms take certain precautions, all of which will be discussed during the consultation.


How To Prepare For A Sunless Tanning Appointment

Tanning Tips

How do I prepare for my tanning session?

Before you tan:

  • In the winter months it is important to make sure that your skin is hydrated.  Apply
    moisturizers heavily and gently exfoliate dry skin for several days prior to your
    tanning appointment!
  • Shave and exfoliate at least 24 hours in advance.
  • Wax at least 48 hours in advance.
  • NO lotions, perfumes or deodorants day of appointment.
  • Mani/pedicures should always be done prior to appointment, NOT after.
  • Come prepared with loose fitted clothing and flip flops: maxi dress, t-shirt with pajama bottoms, etc.
  • You cannot wear a bra, yoga pants, jeans, closed-toe shoes or other tight fitting clothing after your spray tan.
  • The better you exfoliate prior to appointment, the longer your tan will last (approximately 7-10 days). 

During your appointment:

  • What you wear during your tan is up to you.  You may go nude or wear underwear/bathing suit.  We have a limited supply of disposable thongs to wear as another option.
  • For breast-feeding moms, we offer pasties or another solution that does not require pasties, depending on your preference.
  • If you choose to wear a top or bottom during your tan, we ask that you make sure to place it where you want your tan lines to appear. 

After your appointment:

  • If you feel wet anywhere, please let us know.
  • You may feel tacky or sticky after your appointment; the feeling should not persist for more than 1 hour.  Maintaining a cool body temperature will help to expedite the absorption of the solution.
  • Avoid perspiration, lotion (especially if it contains fragrances or mineral oil) and perfume for at least 8-12 hours after your appointment; preferably until the following day.  This means that you cannot work out after a spray tan.  You also cannot use face wash or moisturizers until after you have rinsed the tanning solution off of your skin.
  • Warm water rinse only for the first 2 days after your appointment (you can shampoo your hair).  After that, no harsh soaps or face creams.  We offer a tanning-friendly body wash for sale in the salon if you must use a product to shower with.
  • Deodorant, powder foundation and makeup are okay to apply after; however, a 1 hour delay after your tan is recommended.
  • Do not wear a bra for at least 2 hours after your tan.
  • Do not wash your hands for at least 2 hours after your tan.
  • Try to moisturize at least once a day to prolong the life of your tan (ask about our tan extending products and moisturizers).
  • Expect your hands and face to fade faster due to frequent washing.
  • Expect your feet to fade fast as well due to shoes rubbing on your skin.
  • Do not exfoliate for at least one week after a spray tan and try to shave as little as possible.
  • If your tan "smudges" after your appointment, please contact us immediately.
  • We recommend sleeping in long pajama bottoms and a long sleeve shirt if you wear the solution on your skin overnight.
  • If the solution is transferred onto clothing, sheets, towels, etc., it can be washed off with COLD WATER and detergent.

* Follow these tips and your tan should last a minimum of 5-7 days *


How do sunless/self-tanners work?

The principle tanning agent used in all self-tanning formulas is dihydroxyacetone (DHA). This ingredient does not produce a “real tan” by increasing the skin’s melanin levels, rather it creates a tanned appearance by developing a brown color on the surface of the skin.  The action of DHA is limited to the upper layer of the skin and involves a reaction between DHA and skin proteins and oxygen that produces brown compounds. This process is similar to what occurs when you slice open an apple and the surface of the apple browns when it’s exposed to the oxygen in the air.

The development of color takes anywhere from 2 to 4 hours and the intensity of color is dependent upon the DHA concentration in the product as well as each tanner’s individual skin characteristics. The color developed by the DHA usually lasts 7-10 days and begins to fade as the top layer of the skin naturally exfoliates.

How long should I wait after using a self-tanner before I shower?

DHA solutions take about 16-hours to fully develop. Clients will receive the best results if they can avoid bathing until the day after their sunless session.  If they must bathe, they should wait a minimum of 6-8 hours after the application.  If showering prior to the 16-hour post application recommendation, a simple rinse with water only, is best. Soap destroys DHA. Delayed bathing allows the DHA bronzer sufficient time to complete its reaction with the amino acids (proteins) within the skin.

NOTE:  The cosmetic bronzer is the color that is immediately visible during the session and it will wash off during the first shower, revealing the DHA bronze tan beneath. An uneducated client may think their tan is washing down the drain.

Why is keeping skin moisturized essential to maintain great sunless results?

It is important to keep skin moisturized after sunless tanning as dry, flaky skin will slough off faster and color will fade sooner. Your goal is to basically slow down your body’s natural exfoliation process.  Sunless tan-extending products with a light self-tanning bronzer help hydrate skin and maintain even, natural-looking color longer by providing subtle bronzers.

Will the bronzers from a spray tanning application rub-off on my clothes?

If you are using a spray solution with a cosmetic bronzer (water-soluble make-up), some of the bronze color may rub off on clothing or bed sheets. This is most likely to happen when you get dressed immediately after tanning.  To minimize the chance of the bronzers transferring to clothing, we recommend you wear loose-fitting, darker clothes after your spray session. Try to refrain from physical exertion that could result in your sweating until you shower and wash off the cosmetic bronzers.  The cosmetic bronzers used within our products are water-soluble. Therefore, in most cases, the color will come out of clothing in the wash.  It is however important to note bronzers may stain light hair, wool, spandex, lycra, silks or other fine fabrics. If product comes into contact with hands or clothing rinse immediately.

How long will my sunless tan last?

The longevity of a sunless tan depends on the type of self-tanning application, the skin’s natural exfoliation process, and on the skincare regimen followed before and after application.  On average, self-tanners last 3-5 days.  A professionally applied sunless tan received at a salon or spa, will last 7-10 days.  This is because the solutions used by professionals contain higher percentages of DHA than what is found in self-tanners.

The “life span” of a sunless tan also depends on your skin’s natural exfoliation. The faster your skin turns over, the faster the sunless tan will fade. The tan created by the DHA affects only the top layer of the skin and will begin to fade after 4 to 5 days as the skin naturally begins to exfoliate.

Following a good skin care regimen before and after sunless tanning will help a sunless tan last longer. Exfoliating prior to a sunless tanning application and keeping skin moisturized afterwards are essential.

What is a custom airbrush spray tan?

The "custom" part indicates that your tanning specialist will choose and/or mix tanning solutions that are appropriate for your skin tone and your desired tanning result.  The "airbrush" part indicates that the spray tanning solution will be applied, by your tanning specialist, using an airbrush pen or an HPLV airbrush gun.  


What Is Contouring?


Combine contouring with an airbrush spray tan for amazing results!



The FDA has advised that all users of DHA spray tanning services avoid inhaling or ingesting DHA. When using all-over sunless tanning sprays including eyes, lips, mucous membranes or internally.

The FDA along with NORVELL® recommends you take the following protective measures during your sunless tanning session:

  • Use of Protective Undergarments
  • Using Protective Eyewear
  • Use of Nose Filters
  • Sealing Lips with Lip Balm

If you have additional concerns, please consult with your health care provider.

To understand the complete FDA stance on DHA please visit http://www.fda.gov/.


Spray tan products DO NOT contain a sunscreen and do not protect against sunburn. Repeated exposure of unprotected skin while tanning may increase the risk of skin aging, skin cancer, and other harmful effects to the skin even if you do not burn.”
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