How To Make Your Client’s Spray Tan Last at the Beach!
Summertime is fast upon us and your books will be filing up fast with spray tan appointments. Many of your customers will be relying on you to get them ready for swimsuit season. Before shedding those oversized sweaters and leggings, they will be in search of that liquid confidence to visually shed those winter pounds that crept in between the pumpkins and the dropping of the ball in Times Square and giving them a tan that lasts through the beach-going months. Get ready to grab your spray gun, put on your celebrity spray tan artist cap and embrace the role of spray tan magician. With the sun shining on their skin, all will be revealed. You’ve got your work cut out for you!
As every spray tanner knows, there are many things that can be done to ensure your customer achieves a flawless and long-lasting tan. By neglecting any of them, not only will your customer not get the best results possible, but also things can go horribly wrong. Communication is key and your reputation and growing clientele depends on it. It all starts with the correct preparation of the skin, a thorough client consultation before the session even begins and then properly educating them on how to care for their skin afterwards.
By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail
Let’s start with preparation. We all know the spray tanning preparation ritual of cleansing, exfoliating and epilating. But, there are optimal ways of doing each of these. Understanding them will help you to better educate your customer and the end result will be an even deeper and longer lasting tan. In addition to the basics, the condition of the skin must be addressed as well as the pH level before applying the spray tan (or self-tanner).
Cleansing – All cleansers are not created equal. Many cleansers on the market contain ingredients that can dehydrate the skin or excessive oils that act as a barrier to the skin and prevent the tanning solution from properly reacting with the amino acids in the top layer of the skin. The result will be a lighter or nonexistent tan. For best results, educate your customer to use a pH balanced skin cleanser and to avoid soaps in general.
Exfoliating – There are two types of exfoliation: abrasive and non-abrasive. Abrasive exfoliation includes salt or sugar scrubs, loofahs, exfoliating mitts and the like. Non abrasive exfoliation is a gentler exfoliation often using enzymes to gently exfoliate the skin without creating microtears. When it comes to sunless tanning, the use of both is recommended but timing everything. Up to three days before spray tanning, an abrasive exfoliant should be used to remove a buildup of dry and dead skin cells and old self tanner. This will create microtears on the skin, but by allowing a few days for the skin to recover you will not have to worry about the spray going into the cracks and crevices of the skin. Then either the night before or morning of the spray tan, recommend that a non-abrasive exfoliant be used. This process will ensure that all old sunless tanner is removed to avoid overlapping of color that creates streakiness and that only young and healthy skin cells without microtears remain on the body for maximum cellular lifecycle which will keep the tan on the skin longer.
Epilation – By removing facial and body hair as close to the spray tan as possible, this will extend the time between your customer’s spray and the need to once again remove unwanted hair. The two best methods for hair removal are laser hair removal or waxing, as that will last the longest. Shaving is the least desirable as it will often need to be redone within one to three days and will remove the skin cells together with the tan by acting as an abrasive form of exfoliation with hair removal.
Ph Balance – All skin has varying pH levels all over the body. Where the skin is
drier, such as the elbows and knees or back of the arms and calves, the skin will have disparities in pH, resulting in different absorption rates for the solution so it will not absorb evenly and will lead to darker areas where the skin is drier. To counteract this, spray on a pH normalizing spray prior to applying the solution. In the sun, color disparity is very noticeable so it is a great way to ensure the skin looks even in daylight.
Moisture – Level of moisture in the skin will affect not only the activation of the tan but also the appearance of the color on the skin. Where your customer has extremely dry skin, the application of DHA (which is often quite drying to the skin) can create what we like to call the “palm tree effect,” where the skin begins to look crackled. When you have the luxury of time, advise your customer to begin moisturizing their skin every day leading up to their spray tan (just not the day of the spray tan). This will also make the skin look much more youthful post spray.
Getting to know your customers
Never under estimate the power of the consultation. Not only will your customer appreciate the personal attention that comes with the service, but you also have the opportunity to learn things about your customers that will help you deliver the best results. You will learn things that will help you choose which solutions you will use; determine which add-ons you will recommend but also find out about anything that could affect the tan before you begin. Some examples are:
Medications – there are a number of medications that can cause dryness or excessive exfoliation, so learning about them beforehand will arm you to select the best solutions to counteract the effects. This can make all the difference in whether or not the tan develops and how long it lasts.
Hormones – Menstruation, hormonal imbalances and pregnancy can all have an impact on the activation of the tan. It may be as simple as knowing your customer’s tan lasts longer when she is 14 days into her cycle and working together on the best day to spray her before she leaves for her vacation.
Areas they would like to minimize – Body contouring will not only give your customers an added boost, but will also make them love you forever! Bikini ready areas include sculpting the abs, highlighting the clavicle bones, enhancing the spine for a tighter back and minimizing areas that your customer feels self-conscious about.
Note the length of time they will leave on the tan before showering. This will help you choose whether you will use a rapid tan and when to recommend they shower for the results they desire. Rapid tans can dry out the skin and cast orange if sprayed too heavily or left on too long and they can also be very drying, so determining your customer’s skin condition and how much time they plan on leaving it on the skin is crucial for best results.
Setting the Tan – By applying a drying powder to the skin after the tan, that will help reduce moisture on the skin and help to keep fabric from cutting directly into the solution and will help to prevent any smudging or streaking, especially under the breasts, underarms, inner thighs, behind the knees and between the crease in front of the elbows.
Leave your customer with aftercare instructions
For flawless beach-ready results, what your customer does when you put the gun down and leave the room will make all the difference. The proper after care will prevent the customer from smudging the tan, rinsing it off too soon, or removing it with the wrong products.
What to wear after a spray – Tell your customers to either loosen up buttons or wear clothing without buttons or a thick side seem at all (like jeans). Baggy should be the word de jour. Also, advise them to skip the bra and anything that’s tight enough to leave a mark on their skin, as that will also remove the spray tan. We love flowing dresses, but that leg crossing can create sweat under the crossing leg, which can create a smudge; so, sweat pants win as the best thing to wear after a spray tan.
How long should they wait before washing & sweating?
Depending on whether you chose a full activating solution or a rapid tan will determine the recommended wait time. Have them leave it on long enough for the perfect color that looks natural outdoors under the sunlight.
What to use in the shower – Recommend your customer not use soap or body wash with oil. pH balancing skin cleansers work best. The first shower after a spray tan should be a light rinse with warm water and patted dry.
Swimming – The fastest way to remove a spray tan is by swimming in chlorine or salt water. If it is unavoidable, recommend that your customer apply an oil-free waterproof sunscreen. While this may not prevent it from washing off, it will give your customer’s tan the best chance of survival.
Hydration – Recommend hydration from the inside out. That will keep the skin cells plump and on the body longer. Water and green tea (eight glasses per day) and a daily oil-free moisturizer will do the trick. If the color begins fading, recommend supplementing the daily moisturizer for a gradual self-tanner.
Maintaining evenness/topping up – The hands, face and feet will always fade before the rest of the body. By recommending your customer to use a sunless aerosol ever so lightly in those areas, they can add more color to those areas without the risk of oversaturating those areas and making them look streaky and orange.