Equipment Free Application Steps
Airbrush self-tanning solutions are designed to perform optimally with profession grade spray tanning equipment. This allows the solution product to adhere to the skin surface in a smooth, even layer, resulting in finer coloration and smooth fading.
With a bit of practice home applied application with an application pad, spray bottle or hand spreading may also provide natural looking results. Product applied by these methods will alter the way the DHA is distributed onto the skin surface which may affect quality of the resulting tan.
All of our products are individually custom created by professional chemists, to perform and fade optimally when suspended in their unique formulation base. Any alteration or dilution of the product, through thinning or mixing of our solutions with water, lotions, oils or other additives, may affect the quality of the resulting tan. For best results we recommend our products be used unaltered.
Solutions may be hand applied to the skin in a number of ways, including:
- spraying or pouring product onto an applicator pad, sponge, or cloth and wiping onto skin
- painting product onto the skin with a foam paintbrush
- direct spray application with a pump spray bottle, spraying product onto skin, with or without additional blending
- blending solution with lotion, oil, liquid or other bases, and applying directly to skin with or without an applicator or spray bottle (not recommended)
Each of these options will produce differing results, and fading qualities. Each individual must choose the method that best suits their lifestyle and application needs.
For professional application results, airbrush solutions typically work best when applied at 2 to 3 ounces per application. Some solutions work well with as little as 1 ounce sprayed onto skin surface. Home applied methods, without equipment, will create a thinner application layer upon the skin, usually ½ to 1 ounce of total product per application. This may alter color depth, and fading. Multiple, back to back, thin applications within the same session, to more closely mimic the recommended professionally applied product amounts, will provide richer coloration and even fading. Application devices, such as sponges, pads and cloths may absorb as much as one ounce of solution, so calculate personal application amounts accordingly.
To protect flooring, standing on a dark washable bath towel, or within a shower or tub enclosure is recommended. Feet may be optionally covered with a protective plastic or fabric foot cover. Gloves are recommended to protect hands and palms from excess color, and aide in easier cleanup.
Before application, the skin should be freshly cleansed and exfoliated, and free of lotion, soap, oil deodorant or cosmetic residues.
Dry skin areas such as hands, feet, knees and elbows may be pre-moisturized with a lotion or cream product, to minimize excess discoloration.
If you prefer to apply solution ungloved, wash palms, and under nails well with a nail brush and bar soap cleanser product every 5 minutes, or between “areas” to prevent discolored palms. Clear nail polish will protect nails and cuticles.
Those who regularly apply self tanners at home, will probably already have access to the basic application items, such as gloves, moisturizer lotions, soap, scrubs. A trip to the local chain discount store or drugstore will often provide a range of extra tools that can be effective for airbrush solution self application needs.
- Applicator Pad: In the Car Care product aisle, purchase a 5-6 inch wide round padded fabric covered pad for applying solution to the skin. These are usually sold for application of car wax products and come in a variety of fabric types. A fluffy or brushed surface finish tends to work well for many solutions. Commonly available fabrics are fleece, terry cloth or brushed micro fiber.
- Small Cosmetic Sponge: This is very handy for small areas with tight crevices, such as the face and neck and behind ears. Also useful between fingers. You will find a range of small soft sponges sold for application of facial cosmetic products. Wedges, rounds, and squares all will work well. Cotton balls and rounds will work in an emergency, but tend to leave an abundance of fiber strands on the face, and soak up large amounts of solution.
- Spray Bottle: A small transparent pump or trigger activated spray bottle. These are available from many Beauty Supply stores, Drug, chain and discount stores. 4 to 8 ounces are a convient size to handle, but you may also use the smaller sizes typically found in the travel items section. These smaller bottles are sold for decanting home cosmetics for travel use. Trigger style sprayers are often less tiring on fingers and hands.
- Back Applicator: In a perfect world we would all have a friend handy to apply product to our backs. But assuming you are not always so lucky, a few alternatives may help. Solution products may be applied to the upper back using a long handled body lotion applicator device with a pad or sponge affixed to a handle. You may also cover a long handled bath brush with a plastic glove, affixed with a twist tie or rubber band. Normally these tools are available in the bath tools aisle of drug and department stores. Similar products may also be available near sun tanning lotions.
- A long handled foam paint brush will also work in a pinch. These are available in the paint items or craft area.
- Gloves: Largely a personal preference. Some people like to use them, others prefer to go glove free. If you opt for gloves, look for snug fitting surgical type. If you go glove free, wash fingers and palms every 5 minutes with soap and a nail brush to minimize staining.
- Foot covers: Optional. These can be as basic as a pair of footies or short socks, or as sophisticated as the plastic style cover used to protect the shoes while you paint your home. Available in the Paint Products aisle. If you are careful to confine product spraying to areas over the sink, preventing mist blow down onto your standing area, you can usually go with naked feet during application. Use caution not to step into any spray on the flooring surface, and wash foot soles after application.
Apply product to freshly cleansed and exfoliated dry skin. Spray 3 to 8 squirts of spray into the center of the application pad (depending on spray pattern size, and amount preferred), and apply solution quickly and evenly in a smooth overlapping circular motion, covering all areas. Skim damp pad over skin surface, delivering a light thin coating to skin. Up and down stripes may produce streaking, unless you also do a second coat in an alternate direction. Often it is simplest to divide body into sections and concentrate on one portion at a time.
- One leg front and back
- Alternate leg front and back
- buttocks and lower belly
- Back and sides of body
- Front, chest and sides of body
- One arm
- Alternate arm
- Neck and face
- Hands (done last after removing gloves)
Apply product lightly on dryer thick callused areas such as hands, feet, knees and elbows. Many people prefer to start from the base of the legs and work their way up, saving hands, feet and face for last. But you may use whatever order works best for your personal needs.
Work you way up the body saving neck and face for last, to minimize unevenness in neck creases. (Caused by bending head down over neck covered with wet product)
When applying product to the face, do not forget to apply behind ears and back and sides of neck. Blend product lightly up into hairline, and across front ear flaps. Do not apply solution directly into the ear cup or canal.
If more then one coat is applied, you may apply all thin coats in a single session, saving hands and feet for last.
Remove foot covers, if used. Blend product down from ankles and lightly across tops of feet. Do not apply solution to foot sides, heels or toes. If airbrush solution causes hands and feet to become to dark, you may optionally use only a light moisterizing self tanning lotion or moisterizing gradual tanner on hands and feet.
Remove one glove, and apply product lightly to back of opposite hand. Replace glove. Remove opposite glove and tan alternate hand.
Wipe excess product from knuckles, elbows and knees with a dry paper towel, damp cloth or baby wipe, depending on what works best for your skin.
Immediately rub a light moisturizer lotion into the entire hand and foot. Include sides, tops, wrists and ankles. This will blend a light coating of tanning product over the entire foot and hand top, including toes, fingers, and between digits.
If needed, again, wipe excess product from knuckles with a baby wipe, damp cloth or paper towel. Clean palms of hands.
Nails may be cleansed with a cotton ball dampened with fingernail polish remover, if clear polish was not applied.
For best color results it is recommended you wait 6 to 8 hours and as long as 12 to 24 hrs before showering, heavy sweating or swimming. Wearing tanning solution products longer after application prior to showering is not necessary, but may create richer deeper color on some individuals.
Very pale skin tones may find shorter periods between application and showering can prevent off color development (orange tones) or poor fading. This may create a lighter overall tan depth/color, but can also create better fading for some skin types.
A tinted product may produce some minimal rub off on clothing or bedding, especially if applied heavily. This will normally wash out (beware of anything Silk) easily with regular laundering and use of stain remover as needed. It is recommended that one wear darker washable fabrics while allowing tan development to proceed.
After your tan completely develops, if foot tops and hand backs are to pale, lightly apply a second coat of solution across backs of hands, stopping before knuckles. Do the same for the feet, stopping before reaching toe joints. Apply a coat of moisterizing lotion to evenly blend solution. Wipe off knuckles as needed.
Good Luck and Happy Sunless Tanning.
Tampa Bay Tan