How to Stand in a Spray Tan Booth
Going in for your first spray tan can be intimidating, but once you have an idea of what to expect from the experience, it’s really not so bad at all. After removing your clothes and all other accessories, you’ll step into a stall slightly larger than the average phone booth and wait to be given voice instructions on how to position yourself. Different booths may provide different cues, but the basics will usually be the same—hold your arms and legs away from your body, keep your fingers spread wide, and stand as straight as possible so the tanning solution hits every part of your skin.
Entering the Booth
Avoid wearing makeup and skip moisturizers.On the day of your tanning appointment, skip the cosmetics. The same goes for lotions and moisturizers, except where specified by the tanning specialists before your session. Anything extra on your skin can act as a barrier and prevent the tanning solution from getting through.
- Pack some makeup remover wipes if you're planning on heading to the salon after another engagement.
Avoid putting on deodorant or antiperspirant before your session.Deodorant and antiperspirant often contain traces of aluminum—it’s possible for them to react with the chemicals in the tanning solution and turn your armpits a greenish hue. How embarrassing!
Remove all clothing and accessories.When you arrive at the salon, you’ll be shown to a private room where you can get undressed. Be sure to take off any watches, jewelry, or other accessories in addition to your clothes. These could be ruined by the tanning solution or leave behind unwanted tan lines.
- In most salons, you have the option of wearing a swimsuit or going completely nude for better coverage. If you decide to stick to a swimsuit, wear an old or dark-colored one in case the solution stains.
- If you have long hair, pull it back and tuck it into one of the plastic caps provided by the salon to keep it out of the way.
Stand in the center of the booth.Step into the booth and plant yourself directly in the middle. There, you’ll be just the right distance away from the nozzles that disperse the tanning solution. When there’s only 1 row of nozzles, the center of the booth is where most of the spray will be concentrated.
- Look down to see if there are markings on the floor that indicate where you should place your feet.
Face the specified direction.Somewhere on the inside of the booth you should see a sign telling you which wall to turn towards. It will usually be the one where the spray nozzles are located, but some booths might have you start facing the opposite wall to do your backside first.
- In smaller booths, you’ll face each wall by the time the session is over so the nozzles can make multiple passes.
Listen for cues on how to stand.Once you get situated, you’ll hear a prerecorded voice come over the speaker to tell you where to look, how to position yourself, and when to turn or adjust your stance. Be sure to listen carefully—this voice will be your guide throughout your first spray tanning experience.
- Try to follow the instruction to the letter. If you get off your mark, you could end up with uneven coloring.
- If you’re having spray tanner applied by a trained technician rather than an automated booth, there will be much less guesswork involved. These professionals are there to walk you through the process step-by-step and make sure you’re comfortable.
Getting into Position
Stand up nice and straight.Try not to slouch, lean, bend, or hunch over. Any creases or wrinkles resulting from poor posture won’t accept the tanning solution, and will come out lighter than the rest of your body.
- Don’t be alarmed if you’re told to stick your butt out while the booth mists your back. This is just so you don’t end up with awkward tan lines on the tops of your thighs.
Place your feet about shoulder-width apart.Stand with your legs slightly wider than your hips, with your knees and toes pointing forward. The nozzles will then be able to coat one entire side of your body with a single sweep.
- In smaller booths, you may be instructed to stagger one leg forward when you’re turned sideways so the tanner can reach the inside of your thigh.
Hold your arms out away from your body.Raise your arms out to the sides with your elbows slightly bent and your palms facing the wall behind you. Some booths may tell to hold your arms up beside your head like a cactus or a football goal instead.
- Always follow the instructions given by the booth you’re using. Different machines will distribute the tanning solution differently, which means a certain stance may be better for one type of booth than another.
Spread your fingers wide.Extend your hands like you’re counting to 5. This will help each part of them achieve a consistent coloration. When it comes time to do the backs of your hands, you may be directed to curl your fingers up for better coverage over the knuckles.
- Spray tan specials recommend rubbing a light layer of lotion on areas that tend to absorb more tanner, like your knuckles and the spaces between your fingers, to keep them from getting quite as dark.
Keep your eyes and mouth closed.This is especially important to remember, as the chemicals in the tanning solution can be mildly irritating to the eyes and airways. You’ll be given a last-minute reminder just before the nozzles switch on. Otherwise, keep your face as relaxed and neutral as possible.
- Some salons offer complimentary nose plugs and eye protection to their customers for a safer and more comfortable tan.
- Be careful not to clamp your eyes shut or purse your lips too tight. Doing so could create wrinkles.
Transition quickly between poses.When the voice prompts you to turn, stagger your stance, or raise your arms, try to do it in a timely fashion. In most booths, you’ll only have about 10-20 seconds before the next round of solution starts spraying. That should be plenty of time as long as you’re paying attention and ready to react.
- Be prepared to move as soon as the nozzles have stopped spraying so it’s not a race against time to get into the next position.
- In the majority of spray tan booths, you’ll only have to change positions once. However, smaller booths may require you to take 2 basic postures 2 times each, one for each side.
Finishing up a Fresh Tan
Hold still while the air vents dry you off.After the tanning solution has been applied to your entire body, the nozzles will begin emitting warm air. Keep your arms and legs out wide so the air gets to every part of your body. The drying process should only take a few extra seconds.
- Make sure you remain in the booth until the door opens and you’re given the go-ahead to step out.
Blot splotches and streaks with a towel.You may notice some minor inconsistencies once you’re back under regular lighting. Patting these areas gently with a clean towel can make them less apparent. Make sure you avoid rubbing or wiping, which can smear the tanner and leave streaks.
- Since you’ve already been blown dry, It won’t be necessary to towel off.
- Spray tan booths usually produce a smoother, more even finish than other forms of self-tanner, but they’re not perfect. If a totally natural skin tone is what you’re after, you may be better off shelling out a few extra bucks for a personalized airbrush tan.
Wash your hands and feet immediately.It’s not uncommon for spray tanning solutions to darken the cuticles and the lines in the palms, knuckles, and tops of the toes. Overly dark areas can be a dead giveaway that your perfectly bronzed skin came from a machine and not a sunny cabana.
- If you’re worried about washing off too much of the tanner, bring along some baby wipes and use them to carefully touch up your extremities.
- Painting your nails with a clear coat can create a barrier against concentrated color.
Wait 10-15 minutes before getting dressed.While there's usually no harm in slipping back into your clothes as soon as you're dry, most specialists recommend waiting a few extra minutes. That way, you can minimize the risk of transferring the color to your favorite outfit. You're welcome to remain in the changing room as long as you need to make sure you're sufficiently dry.
- Pick out something dark and loose-fitting to wear on your way home from the salon.
Avoid getting wet for at least 8 hours.Stay out of the shower, swimming pool, or hot tub for the rest of the day to give the tanning solution a chance to set up on your skin. The combination of moisture and chemicals like chlorine can partially dissolve the tanner, causing it to spot or run.
- Hold off on exfoliating for about a week to keep your newfound color from rubbing off. Shaving less often will also help your tan will last.
- Moisturize your skin regularly to keep it supple and hydrated and prolonging your tan.
- If it’s your first time getting a spray tan, start with a lighter shade and work your way up in future sessions once you have an idea of how it looks with your skin tone.
- Schedule your appointment 2-3 days before a big event like a wedding or blind date to ensure that you look your best.
- Tanning solutions don’t provide UV protection, so you’ll still need to slather on the sunblock if you plan on doing any sunbathing.
Video: VersaSpa Spray Tanning @ Sun Kissed Tanning Salon
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