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How To Get a Great Spray Tan

Many people are making the switch from UV tanning to faux tans in automated spray tan booths. Learn what to expect before you go.


  • Step 1: When the spray pauses, turn around. Place your feet apart and stretch your arms out to your sides, making sure the backs of them are facing the spray.
  • TIP: Take a breath when the spray is farthest away from your face.
  • Step 2: Open the door and step out of the stall when the second round of spraying stops. Remove the shower cap and nose filter, and put them in a trash can.
  • Step 3: Thoroughly wipe all of the areas where you applied barrier lotion with paper towels. Then use a large towel to gently wipe or pat down the rest of your body.
  • FACT: Dihydroxyacetone (or DHA) has been the key ingredient in most sunless tanners since the FDA approved it for external use in the 1970s. It is the only active ingredient in sunless tanners approved by the FDA.
  • Step 4: Get dressed and gather your belongings before leaving. Remember not to get wet or bathe for several hours to get the most out of your sunless tan.
  • Step 5: As soon as you press the Go button, take a deep breath, close your mouth and eyes, and return to put your arms back out to your sides for the first round of spraying.
  • Step 6: Step into the spray booth and stand arm's length from the sprayers with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold your arms away from your body with your fingers pointing down and palms facing back.
  • Step 7: Go to the private room with the spray booth and remove all of your clothing and jewelry. Put a shower cap on your head. Pull it back so your hairline and ears are exposed, but the rest of your hair is in the cap. Place nose filters in your nostrils.
  • TIP: Bathe and exfoliate before your appointment. Then apply a non-oil-based lotion to your skin.
  • TIP: Ask the attendant if an instructional video is available. If so, watch it before you get your spray tan.
  • Step 8: Apply a thick layer of barrier lotion to your feet and toes, palms and fingers, and nails. Blend a thin layer onto your ankles, wrists, elbows, and knees.
  • TIP: Be careful not to get the barrier lotion anywhere else, because it will repel the tan.
  • Step 9: Call before you go to the salon to make sure a spray booth is available. Make an appointment so they will have it ready, and ask them what you need to bring.

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