I’ve been reading about celebrities getting airbrush tans in magazines for years, I’ve seen instagram posts tagged with #airbrushtan, I’ve seen episodes of reality shows where they go to get them, but I had never known anyone that had one done themselves. It seemed really intimidating. I didn’t know what to expect and was afraid I’d do or say something wrong or embarrassing. So for years I ignored the ads for salons that offered airbrush tanning services. I decided I’d stick to tanning beds where I knew what I was doing and no one else was there to laugh at me. Until one day I read an article about how tanning booths emit the same dangerous UV Rays that the sun does. I read about all the internal damage UV Rays can cause to your skin, including cancer! I brought it up with a friend of mine and she confided in me that she does airbrush tanning instead of tanning beds. I had so many questions!!! She sat down and talked me through it and we made an appointment together with her airbrush tanning specialist.
She told me what I needed to do before the appointment, and I’m glad she did. I would’ve had no idea. The day before we went in, I shaved my legs and made sure to exfoliate in the shower. Apparently, skin cells have their own life cycles. Old ones are at the very surface and when they die and flake off, the new skin cells beneath them are exposed. You don’t want the tanning solution to be applied to old, dead skin because it will flake off and your tan won’t last as long or look as even as it should! There are many special exfoliating brushes and scrubs available, but if you don’t have any, some soap and a good rub-down with a wash cloth will work just fine. Shaving, waxing, facials, manicure/pedicures, massages, and laser treatments should all be done before your tanning appointment because if you do them afterwards, you run the risk of ruining the skin with the fresh tan on it.
She also told me to NOT wear any deodorant, perfumes, or lotions on the day of the appointment and go in wearing loose, comfortable clothing. She said I could wear a swim suit for the actual tanning, or I could go nude if I felt comfortable with it. I wasn’t quite that brave, but the technician was super nice and really professional. She assured me that she’s seen it all and is in no way judging my body. In fact, she said she could custom tailor the tan so that it would hide some of my blemishes and make me look toned and thinner. Amazing! She sat with me and discussed my goals and how dark I want the tan to be. She knew all about the products and was confident that I wouldn’t come out looking orange or unnatural. She matched my skin tone to the perfect color for me. I really didn’t expect so much personal attention. I felt like I was really being taken care of. I was really relaxed and comfortable and the whole thing lasted about 15-20 minutes.
Afterwards, the technician told me that I should stay as dry as I can for at least 8 hours! Avoid showers, pools, and sweaty exercise while your tan sets. Once it dries, you’ll want to keep your skin moisturized. Apply moisturizer daily in the morning and evening to help keep your tan as long as possible. When your skin gets dry, it flakes off and will take your gorgeous color with it, so keep it smooth and hydrated! Avoid soaps and moisturizers that contain AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) as well as chlorine from pools/hot tubs whenever possible. Long hot showers and baths might also dull your tan, so keep ’em short if you can! You can also apply tan extender solutions that contain DHA – these will help your tan last even longer. DHA is the compound that creates the tan. It sounds like some sort of chemical, but it’s completely natural and organic. An airbrush tan doesn’t penetrate past that top layer of skin, so there is no internal damage unlike UV Rays which go deep into the inner layers and can create problems.
My tan lasted about 10 days and looked way more natural than I had expected. I was worried there would be streaks or blotches or come out too dark or orange, but none of that was the case! I was also surprised by how affordable it was. I figured it was a “luxury service” and would cost a small fortune, but it was much less than I expected.
If you’re apprehensive, I highly recommend you take the leap and give it a try. If you’re in Denver, I highly recommend Shine. They use 100% vegan, cruelty-free products and really know their stuff.