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What To Expect At Your First Sunless Tanning Session

Sunless tanning is an alternative to UV tanning or traditional sun tanning, while still getting that healthy glow. Sunless tanning products can be used at home, but did you know this cosmetic tanning is also available at salons?

One example of a sunless tanning salon—the only service they provide—is Innovations in Kingston, Pa. Hence its name, they offer the latest innovation in sunless tanning: mist-on tanning.

"We spray people!" said owner Nadine, of her new career. After seeing the process on Good Morning America, Nadine knew she had to bring this to her neck of the woods. She ventured to New Hampshire, the nearest salon that offered the product, to check it out. The rest is history. "And, here I am," she said.

Getting a spray on tan as opposed to using sunless tanning products at home may be a little pricier than the bottles and tubes, but it is said to be easier to apply, more likely to be streak-free and also complete coverage.

Rather than traditional tanning booths that use UV rays, this mist-on tanning was first introduced as a way for people unable to be exposed to UV rays to still get a tan. And, unlike 'easy to misapply' bottled self-tanners, this mist-on technology leaves tanners streak free, and will not turn skin orange.

There are many types of products available to sunless tanning salons, and Nadine uses Dr. Laughlin’s formula. Laughlin is a Texas-based biochemist and one of the pioneers of the spray-on booths.

Laughlin’s particular tanning solution includes bronzers, which are responsible for the instant color. Then, the DHA chemical, the active ingredient in most self-tanners, is what makes the rest of the color appear. The DHA color will peak in 24 to 48 hours, so as Nadine says, you continue to tan as you carry out the rest of your daily activities. The formula also contains vitamins and moisturizers, leaving skin super smooth and soft. The tan will last about 5-7 days. For a darker tan, tanners can go twice a week. But, after a base is achieved, one session a week can keep the color a lasting golden brown.

Nadine says the key to the beautiful looking tan is all in the application. Here is what to expect at your first sunless tanning appointment:

Prior to getting ready, the salon attendant will guide tanners step-by-step through the process, kind of like a trial run.

Then, tanners get undressed in the private room and then apply lotion onto their hands and feet. This helps the formula from sticking to these areas. There is also a barrier cream to dab onto cuticle area of finger and toenails, so the mist does not absorb there. Next, you place on a hair net to protect your tresses.

Then, once ready, the tanner steps into the booth onto a mat. Once ready, you push a start button. There are four positions in which to stand to get maximum results, and to make sure that the mist hits every portion of skin. You basically turn from side to side, holding arms up, them down to make sure no spot is missed.

There is a bar that moves across which lightly sprays the tanning solution. It goes back and forth, so you get spritzed twice in each position. The machine gives you ten seconds between each to move into the next position. You must hold your breath while the spray comes across your face—after all, they are chemicals.

After the spray is on, there are a few more steps that help the tan form and last. After you are complete, you step out of the machine and wipe off your hands and feet really well. Then, you take a towel and buff in the color. You are not wet at all when you step out of the tanning booth, so putting clothes back on will be smudge free!

The tanning process itself takes 48-seconds. Getting undressed and dressed takes longer! The whole process may take a total of 5-minutes.

A reported who tried the mist-on tanning at Innovation for a story reported awesome results.

“Instantly, I was a golden shade darker. Then, throughout the day, the color developed even more. Now, five days later, I still have the color. The process lasted less than a minute and my skin felt the softest I think it ever felt. In an instant, I felt much healthier because my fair skin had some color. I totally enjoyed the experience,” she said.

Prices for sunless tanning sessions at these salons vary in price. Many offer package deals. One this is for sure- it works and it is safe.

Angela is a former fitness competitor, professional dancer, cheerleader, and personal trainer. She is a regular contributor to The Sunless Tanning Resource Center. Get information on Sunless Tanning products and their use.