The fake bake is a trend that people opt for all year round, and it’s the perfect way to achieve a healthy summer glow, no matter the skin type. The convenience, safety and instant results of spray tanning make it a go-to service for many women and men. 


It’s a popular industry with plenty of potential customers, so what are you waiting for? Get stuck into our ultimate tanning tips guide!


Personal Traits

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While spray tanning is popular, most people are still pretty uncomfortable with the idea of stripping off in front of a total stranger. Therefore, you need to have amazing social skills that’ll put your client at ease and build a respectful relationship. 


In reviews of other tanning technicians, people tend to highlight how comfortable they were made to feel during the process, so it’s clearly one of the main things people think about before choosing where to get a tan.


Make sure that as soon as you welcome your client, you keep things chatty and friendly, and if they seem nervous, be reassuring throughout the whole process.


Benefits of Spray Tanning

hygiene in beauty therapy

Spray tans have had a bad rep with the ”tango” and TOWIE association, so remind potential clients of the many benefits of spray tanning.


Spray tans gained popularity when people began to realise the damaging effects of sunbeds and sunbathing in general. The health benefits of spray tanning, in comparison to sunbeds, are something you can mention when promoting your services. 


Sunbeds cause premature wrinkles due to the intense UV rays that penetrate the skin. The ageing effects are something your clients will likely be conscious of as people use tanning to achieve a youthful glow.


UV rays from sunbeds have also been proven to cause skin cancer (melanoma) which can lead to permanent skin damage. Protect your customer’s health and gain clients by raising awareness of the serious effects of sunbeds.  


Practically, spray tans are a dream for anyone wanting to achieve an instant bronzed look, making them perfect for events or holidays. So you can expect to be in demand all year round. Spray tans are also ideal for people with very pale or sensitive skin, who struggle to achieve a natural tan.


The slimming benefits of tan are enjoyed by many – think bodybuilders, who use a deep dark tan to sculpt their muscles. If you can’t tone it, tan it!


Tanning Prep


Both you and your client should take steps to prepare for the spray tan to get the best possible results.

The Tanning Technician

First and foremost, you need to make sure that the tanning booth and gun are clean and sanitised from the last session. 


Before spraying, wear a dust mask to protect your airways from the fumes and wear a washable uniform, so you don’t ruin your clothes. 


Spray tanning fumes can be strong, so it’s essential to have some ventilation that will extract them. You can purchase a machine, or make sure that you have plenty of windows open and fresh air flowing.


You need a spray gun and compressor for the actual tanning. A compressor controls the pressure of the spray tan, which will affect the quality, smoothness and colour of the overall look.  


Make sure you purchase a tanning booth, gun and compressor from a reputable seller so you can give the best quality tans.

  • Posh Tan 1 litre

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  • Posh Tan 500ml

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The Client

Advise your client on the steps they should take before coming in for their spray tan so they can create a perfect base on which to work. 


1-2 days before the spray tan, your client should shave, exfoliate and moisturise. Exfoliation will remove any dead skin cells so the tan won’t peel or wash away as quickly. Hairs prevent the spray tan from reaching and soaking into the skin, so shaving will remove this barrier. Moisturising the skin will prevent dryness, so the tan doesn’t peel off as quickly. 


The client should wear dark, loose-fitting clothing, so they don’t smudge the tan or stain their clothes. 


On the day, apply barrier cream on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, as these are dry areas that shouldn’t be tanned. You should also provide disposable footpads, caps and underwear to protect the client’s hair and private parts.

  • Spray Tan Disposable Sticky Feet 25x Pack

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  • Tanning Mop Caps (100 pack)

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The Spray Tan

Perform a consultation with the client before tanning, as you will need to take extra precautions for pregnant women or people with breathing difficulties.

Mix the tanning liquid and solution, dependent on the instructions and the darkness of the tan you want to achieve. 

Position the gun 8-12 inches away from the skin and keep an even speed, so each area is covered equally. Work in overlapping lines, so you don’t leave the client with any white patches.

You don’t have to follow a strict tanning routine, so keep practising until you find what works best for you. The following order is a general guideline: 

  1. Back of body – Spray from the top of the neck and work your way down the legs. Ask the client to raise their arms so you can get into any deeper areas. 
  2. Sides – Keeping the arms raised, spray the sides of the torso and legs.
  3. Front of the body – Starting from the neck, spray the chest, torso and front of the legs. 
  4. Outer arms – Ask the client to raise their arms up and outwards, then spray down the arms.  
  5. Inner arms – Flip the arms so that you can tan the insides, blending the two sides. 
  6. Hands and Feet – Ask the client to make a claw shape with their hand and spray lightly in a crossover motion. Spray the feet lightly so they don’t go darker than the rest of the body. 
  7. Face – Spray the centre of the face in horizontal motions, then spray each side in a vertical line. Make sure the mouth and eyes are shut but not too tightly as this will wrinkle the face and cause tan lines. 

Wipe down the nails immediately after tanning to prevent staining. Advise your client to apply a clear nail varnish before their spray tan, which can be removed along with any excess tan after the procedure. 


Clean out the gun/airbrush thoroughly to avoid a build-up of tan which would block the nozzle and possibly break the gun. 


TOP TIP: Whether you work from home or rent a space in a salon, it’s a nice touch to have umbrellas ready, so your client can protect their tan if it rains. 


A good spray tan should last anywhere between 4-10 days if taken care of properly. 


Advise your client with aftercare tips so they can enjoy their tan for as long as possible! Boost your professionalism by providing an aftercare leaflet that they can refer to for instruction. 


Here are some general aftercare guidelines to share with your client:


For best results, wait 12-24 hours until your first rinse and don’t use soap in the initial wash as the chemicals will strip the tan off more rapidly. 


Moisturise daily to prevent the tan from peeling and going patchy. Use a moisturiser that contains gradual tan to boost your glow while protecting it.


Use baby powder instead of deodorants to avoid streaking the tan in areas that are prone to sweat. 


You can also top up your tan with a high quality home-use mousse or spray to make that golden glow last a little longer.

  • Posh Tan Mousse ‘Home use mousse’

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  • Tanning Aftercare Leaflet

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The tanning tips mentioned should be pretty easy to get the hang of once you’ve had a few practises. You don’t want to end up with a Ross from Friends situation, so take it slow and steady until you get the hang of it!

Want to become a professional tanning technician?

Our Beauty Therapy courses cover everything you need to know about professional spray tanning!