Spray tan gone wrong? 4 quick and easy fixes

Tan lines on woman's back

Whether you’ve had a spray tan disaster or you have a desperate client looking for advice on a spray tan gone wrong, here are the most common spray tan fails and how to fix them. 

4 spray tan fails (and how to fix them)

Problem #1 A spray tan that looks too dark

You wanted a golden glow but ended up looking orange! When a spray tan ends up darker than intended, it looks fake and unnatural. 

The Solution: For dark or orangey spray tans, put baby oil on the skin, let it set and then soak in a hot bath for a while. The oil and hot water will help to break down the tan. 

Once out of the bath, taking a shower and rubbing skin lightly with a loofah or exfoliating mitt is a good idea. Scrubbing gently is key – otherwise the tan may turn patchy. 

Problem #2 Dark patches on the palms and soles of the feet

Fake tan takes to some areas of the skin more than others – the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet are two examples. 

The Solution: Soak a flannel in a mixture of lemon juice, lime juice and water. Heat it up for a minute in the microwave and then leave it too cool. Rub this over palms and soles and the colour should break down. 

Problem #3 Drip marks

Drip marks are often the result of skin getting wet too quickly after a spray tan – rain, sweat and tears are the most common culprits. 

The Solution: When faced with drip marks, it’s really important to act fast! Take a little body lotion and run a finger around the drip marks. This will help to blend the bronzer that is still sitting on the skin and cover any paler spots. 

Problem #4 A patchy tan

Whether clothes have rubbed against newly spray-tanned skin or skin has been exposed to sweat or water too soon, the resulting patchy tan is one of the worst spray tan fails! So what can you do? 

The Solution: If a tan is patchy all over, pro spray tan therapists recommended trying to remove the whole spray tan and starting over. Oil, heat and steam are all spray tan enemies so using body oils, sitting in a steam room or having a hot bath should help. 

You can also try a DIY tan removing solution. Mix lemon juice with baby oil or a little baking soda. Apply the mixture to skin and leave it to work for around five minutes. Then remove with a cleansing wipe. Skin should be tan-free and ready for another spray tan attempt. 

Tips for avoiding spray tan fails in future

Make spray tans gone wrong a thing of the past with these pre and post spray tan tips. 

Prep the skin

Pre-spray tan, it’s important to: 

  • Exfoliate to remove dead skin cells
  • Avoid waxing, shaving or using an oily moisturiser
  • Remove all traces of deodorant

All of the above can affect how the tan takes to the skin and lead to spray tan fails. 

Wear loose fitting clothes

Clothes that rub against the skin during a post-spray tan session can create a streaky, patchy tan. Loose fitting clothes and slip-on shoes make ideal appointment attire.  

Keep away from water

Rain, a steamy shower, a swimming pool – keep away from all water for at least six hours after a spray tan. 

How to perfect your spray tan skills

If you’re a spray tan therapist looking to achieve a perfect golden glow for each and every client, enrol on the Certificate in Spray Tanning at New Zealand Beauty School. Our courses are created by industry professionals and can be completed from home in your own time. We provide all of the know-how you need to take your spray tan skills to the next level. 

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