Spray Tanning 101: What every wannaglow bride needs to know!

 In Interviews, Recommended Vendors

I’m one of those folks who could light a room with the underside of her forearm, and could probably get a sunburn in the shade, so I’m all in favor of faking the sunkissed look when the real thing isn’t easily achievable (or safe!) A correctly applied spray tan is a great choice for anyone who wants a little extra long-lasting color without having to go through the frustration of self tanners, or risking sun damage to their skin.

If you’ve been wondering what spray tans are all about, Leanne Sedlak from SkinCatering has the answers! And I am so pleased that she is offering $5 off your first spray tan if you mention my blog when you book, and 10% off any product purchases with the code SERVE-UP. Enjoy!

So what is spray tanning, exactly?

Spray tanning, also known as sunless tanning, is the misted application of a special mixture that includes the active ingredient DHA, a simple sugar called Dihydroxyacetone which is derived from plant sources such as sugar cane and sugar beets. The solution reacts with the amino acids in your skin, creating a tan look.

Spray tanning is different from the self-tanners you can buy because of the percentage of DHA in the product. Professional spray tanning solutions can contain up to 15%, where bottled tanners contain closer to 5%, requiring layers of solution to be applied to achieve a darker look. Also, bottled products can leave the client a streaky, orange mess – though the products available do continue to improve. A spray tan will allow for more even coverage and a quick, one-time application to get the desired result.

Who should consider spray tanning for their wedding day?

Consider spray tanning for your wedding day if you are wearing a strapless dress and you have tan lines on your shoulders, if you have a “golfer’s tan” (very common with grooms in particular!), or your skin looks uneven or blotchy.  There will be a lot of pictures and you will want to look and feel your best, so if you are more confident in a white dress with tanned skin – go for it! You may also want to consider getting a spray tan if you have been under a lot of stress or look paler than you normally would due to a recent illness.

How long do the tans generally last?

A spray tan that is well cared for will generally last 7 to 10 days. Taking care of a tan includes patting yourself with a towel after showering (not rubbing the skin), and keeping moisturized every day.

How do you choose a spray tan color, and how dark (or not) should you go?

If you have never spray-tanned before, go lighter at your initial appointment. This will minimize the shock factor of seeing yourself with a tan. You can always go darker at future appointments, but it can be difficult to imagine what “lighter” would look like if you start too dark.

At SkinCatering, we specialize in a natural-looking tan, not a deep Mediterranean tan. Our goal is to make it look like you’ve been out in the sun all summer and have gorgeous, healthy-looking skin.

What is a spray tan appointment like?

Our tans take place in a private room where we have a pop-up tent. Once the client is ready, we re-enter the room and begin the process. The entire tan takes about 10 minutes to apply. We have a brief pre-tan routine and a brief post-tan routine that ensures a beautiful, polished result. We direct you into each position to achieve the best results. The solution is applied using an airbrush gun (much larger than the type used for face makeup!) Once the tan is complete, we give the client a post-tan tips card with the information we discussed during the appointment.

Clients can see the tan immediately because of the instant bronzer, so we can see where we have applied solution and so the client can get some instant gratification. This instant bronzer washes away with the first shower and the underlying DHA solution continues to “develop” over 24 to 48 hours, so don’t be alarmed if you look lighter than you did initially.

Ideally, when should a bride schedule her spray tan appointment?

I recommend that brides do a spray tan trial about a month before the wedding. Be sure to consider the season in which you are getting married. In July through September, a darker tone will look natural, as guests and those in your bridal party will more than likely have more color to their skin. Whereas if you are getting married in the winter, you want to stay on the lighter side – giving just enough color to warm the skin tone.

Plan to spray tan 2 or 3 days before your wedding. I personally think my post-spray-tanned skin looks the best on days 2 & 3. A spray tan trial allows you to see what post-tan days your tan looks its best. You want the height of the color to coincide with the day of your wedding.

What do clients need to do to prepare for their appointment?

Exfoliate & shave the morning of your appointment to ensure the smoothest application, and avoid putting moisturizer on your skin afterwards! This creates a barrier and your skin will not be able to receive the tan properly.

Wear dark, loose clothing to the appointment. If you are going after work, bring clothes to change into. We have wipes for clients to use to remove makeup and deodorant (deodorant can cause underarms to turn green!) but other places may not, so consider bringing your own.

During the appointment, clients will wear anything from a bra & undies, just undies or a thong, a bikini, or just their birthday suit. Some spas have a dress code (i.e., no full nudity) so call ahead to check before your appointment.

After the appointment, what can clients do to prolong the color?

Avoid water and sweaty activities immediately after you tan. This includes washing hands, walking outdoors in rainy or humid weather, going to the gym, and even having sex! While your tan feels dry, it is very susceptible to touch and water during the development time, which is about 6-8 hours. (For this reason, many clients choose to tan in the evening, going to bed afterwards and showering the next morning.)

To prolong the color, there are many kinds of lotions that contain a small percentage of DHA in them, called Tan Extenders. I personally choose not to use them because they typically have added chemicals that I don’t want on my body, and I find the tan extender unnecessary. It’s been my experience that tan-extending lotions can leave the skin looking blotchier as the tan fades, than if you had just let it be. I recommend using a simple moisturizer, such as our SkinCatering Rock Me Body Lotion (from our baby line) or our Chocolate Lavender Body Frosting for a deeper level of hydration.

Leanne Sedlak is the owner of SkinCatering, a day spa in downtown Springfield, MA that specializes in natural skin.  She is also the Segment Host on the Melanoma-awareness television show, Skin Talk. Leanne was named the “Top Woman to Watch in Western Mass in the Beauty Industry for 2013” by Western Mass Women’s Magazine and recently she was honored by the Women’s Business Owners Alliance as a “Top 10 Women in Business in the Pioneer Valley” for 2014.

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