Our guide to spray tanning
Jane McGuire

Our guide to spray tanning

First published date April 03 2014 Amended date April 04 2014

Anyone who has ever applied fake tan will know it’s no mean feat to perfect that sun-kissed glow from the comfort of your bedroom. From streaky patches to orange palms, each attempt comes complete with a series of Tango-tinted challenges. What’s more you can wave goodbye to your white bed sheets and towels and be ready to smell like a digestive for days.

So why do we do it? Millions of us long for that summer glow all year round and understand how the perfect tan can instantly boost confidence or complete an outfit. With far less harmful effects than sun beds and no exposure to UV rays, the fake tan industry has been one of the fastest growing areas of cosmetics. Whether you have been working in the beauty industry for years and want to add extra treatments to your repertoire or are a complete beginner, a tanning course is the best way to become skilled at the nation’s favourite beauty obsession. 


A never -ending summer

From the mahogany shade of Jordan and the cast of ITV’s The Only Way is Essex, to Pippa Middleton’s holiday glow when she wore ‘that bridesmaid’s dress’, for the majority of celebrities a tan is a must. As such a popular industry, learning the art of the flawless complexion is definitely a secret worth knowing.


What should I expect?

A course will train you in all the important aspects of tanning; beginning with learning how to do a patch test on a client as part of the pre-treatment procedure, to the application, machine operation and maintenance. Get ready to get a little bit technical whilst learning about the ingredients and health and safety of the products, alongside the anatomy and physiology of the body to achieve the correct coverage. 


Will I come home orange?

Many courses come with the not-so-subtle warning that you will learn by practising on one another - so be prepared to leave looking like you have spent a week in the Caribbean.


What happens next?

Studying for an NVQ diploma in beauty therapy is often the next step, which can lead into a career as a beauty therapist. There are a number of different options working as a beautician, including the nine ‘til five world of a high street salon, as well as working for a health spa or luxury hotel. Many courses teach you how to promote and market your own brand, as frequently beauticians choose the freedom of being self-employed. Mobile beauty therapists supply at-home services for weddings or proms, dictating their own working hours. This is a handy option if you have a family or are planning to fit this in part time around another job.


Did you know?

In the Victorian era a pale complexion was a sign of nobility and women would avoid the sun by using parasols at all times when outdoors, drink vinegar and even paint fine blue lines on their skin to appear more translucent. On the other hand, the tanned look we now long for was a mark of being poor, signalling you were a labourer who spent hours outside working in the sun.


Tanning top tips

1.       Exfoliate – dry skin equals a patch-tastic tan.

2.       Latex gloves – no one wants to wake up to telltale orange palms the next day.

3.       Don’t forget – wrists, elbows, ankles, knees and most importantly feet.

4.       Buff – use a buffing mitt to dab away any build up tan and ensure it is spread evenly.

5.       What to wear – make sure loose, dark clothing is worn after fake tanning. Self explanatory really.

6.       Tan remover – the fake tan world’s equivalent of an eraser pen, the wipes remove any streaks or obvious signs you are faking it.