What is Dihydroxyacetone (DHA), the ingredient in the sunless solution, and how does it work?

DHA works by reacting with the keratin protein in the top (or dead) layer of your skin, causing it to turn brown. The DHA in sunless tanners is derived from sugar beets or sugar cane and was approved by the FDA back in the 1970's. In the 1980's, it was improved to produce better results (no more orange!) which has lead to more people choosing the safer, healthier way to be tan!

girl getting a spray tan

How do I prepare for my spray tan session?

Proper preparation is key to a long lasting sunless tan. Because a sunless tan is tinting the transparent, "dead" surface skin cells, freshly exfoliating your skin will help the DHA solution absorb better, last longer and also fade more evenly. Exfoliation should be done either the day before or the day of your spray tan session. BEFORE YOU EXFOLIATE, shave & wash/condition hair first! That way, the products you use can be removed while exfoliating! I always suggest using mesh or plant fiber gloves (you can pick them up at most dollar stores) with a little Suave Clarifying Shampoo. This is the BEST method! I've also been known to use a little baking soda on a washcloth (again, with a little mild shower gel to give it some "slip"). If you choose to use a store bought exfoliating scrub, make sure it's oil-free so it doesn't coat the skin (that will hinder DHA absorption; same goes with moisturizing soaps and shower gels, save those for after-tan care when you need the moisture). Combining the scrub with either the wash cloth or glove would be even more effective. No matter which method you choose, be gentle so you don't irritate your skin. I DO NOT recommend a Loofah or shower mesh balls, they don't exfoliate evenly.

Waxing, bleaching, or depilatory use should be done a day or two before tan. PLEASE DO NOT USE RAZORS W/MOISTURIZING STRIP or any strip at all! This is a waxy substance that will cause streaking! Use a single/double blade disposable razor.

Shaving should be done at least 6-8 hours prior to tan, and make sure you wash off any shaving product residue. Using a mild shower gel to shave with is a good option because it's non-irritating to the skin. Rinse well.

Skin should be free of lotions, deodorants, makeup, perfumes, colognes, sunscreens, sweat, etc. AND, it helps to have your finger/toe nails painted so they don't absorb the solution!

Plan to wear dark colored, LOOSE clothing after your tan is applied. You may have a little "rub off" from the solution, but it will wash out of all fabrics except for silk and leather. Sandals or flip-flops are the best option for feet.

You may wear a dark colored swimsuit or under garment to tan in, or the disposables we provide.

How do I take care of my tan after?

Continue to wear dark, loose clothes for the next 6-8 hours while tan develops.

Don't exercise, sweat, swim or bathe for at least 6-8 hours. The longer you leave the tint on, the more the tan "takes" and the longer it lasts.

The first shower is just a warm water rinse. When you resume normal showering, don't use exfoilating products and wash with a mild, moisturizing shower gel or, even better, purchase a bar of our very own tanning soap that actually has the DHA in it so every time you shower, you're putting tint back into your skin instead of fading it further. Using a shower poof, at least every three days, instead of a wash cloth, which can be too abrasive, along with our tan extender will keep your tan fresh and long lasting!

Most likely you will see some tint wash off in the shower, this is normal. Your tan will still be developing over the next 24 or so hours.

Pat skin, don't rub dry.

Apply moisturizer to shower damp skin to seal in moisture. Moisturize again before bed with body butter or a thicker, richer lotion of your choice. You can also use a tan extender once a day, every other day, or every third day to prolong your tan. (Be sure to wash palms after applying any extender.)

Avoid products that will fade your tan such as bar soaps, especially deodorant soaps, toners and astringents with alcohol, or any products that cause exfoliation such as Retin-A's, AHA's, BHA's, etc. Also avoid Dove and Curel products which are known to fade sunless tans.

Long, hot baths as well as chlorinated pools and hot tubs will fade your tan quicker as well. Make sure to use a tan extender after being submerged in water for any length of time.

Why is a professionally applied sunless tan better than a "booth" sunless tan?

Well, let me speak from personal experience. A few years ago, I had the brilliant idea to go to one of these sunless spray booths before a very important event I had to attend. NOT a good idea. You are at the mercy of the booth itself as far as color (there is no one there to customize a color or type of solution for you, based on your particular skin) and where the spray ends up on your body. I studied the poster on the wall beforehand, showing which way to stand and when...but, I was a streaky mess when it was all over and mortified as the night progressed as the aforementioned streaks just got darker and darker....especially on my feet, for all the world to see, due to the fact I was wearing strappy, summer sandals! That was my first and last time in a booth. I had no control over where the tanning solution ended up, and I had to wait it out for the mistakes to wear off!!!