A myth that has taken hold in the mind of the consumer is that a spray tan will turn them orange.  We all can remember when spray tanning was just becoming popular and while it was a healthy, fast alternative to tanning beds, the spray tans would turn you a lovely shade of cheeto and they smelled awful.

Great news, spray tan solutions have come a long way!  We now have a variety of colors and strengths to choose from so your tan will look beautiful and most importantly…natural.

So, let’s dig a little deeper. There are several factors under our control to insure a gorgeous glow and not an orange disaster.

First, the strength of the formula.  The active ingredient in the spray tan solution varies.  The more DHA (active tanning agent) in the solution the darker the tan.  So, before you get a spray tan, I’ll ask if you want a light, medium or deep tan.  Based upon your desired level of “tan” I’ll pick the correct strength.

While the DHA controls how dark the tan will be, while the “base” of the solution (the other ingredients), control the shade or tone.  It is important that your spray tan artist understand how the undertones of your skin will look when combined with the color of the solution.  Back in the day, there weren’t a variety of base colors to choose from, so, that is why some people would turn out radiant while the rest of us would become orange.

To further explain this, let’s talk about color theory.  Red + blue = purple. When you mix red, blue and yellow (the primary colors) together you get brown.  So before I spray tan a client, I have to assess her natural skin tones and pick the base accordingly.  For example, I naturally have a golden undertone (yellow), so I use a violet (blue+red based) solution to get a lovely natural brown.  If I had pink undertones (red) and used a yellow-based solution, guess what…red + yellow=orange. So, we know how to avoid orange. NEVER mix red (pink) or yellow.  Simple….well, as simple as I can make it in this blog post.

So, what I want you to take away from reading this is that you can get spray tanned and have it look natural not orange.  When your spray tan artist understands color theory and they have a variety of solutions at their disposal, you are in good, capable hands.