Matching Spray Tan Solutions to Skin Tones

It can all be pretty baffling when you first train in Spray Tanning, there’s so much information to take in but it’s a really important aspect of getting it right for your client.  As part of your client consultation, you should spend some time understanding why your client is having a spray tan.  It may be for an important event, in which case ask them what they want the effect of their tan to give them.  For instance, they may be going to a formal Ball and want a bit of colour to cover up bare legs and arms but not too obviously “fake”.  They may be going on holiday and want to have a really good depth of colour to feel more confident about wearing a swim suit.  Whatever their reason, you need to listen and assess their needs so that you can recommend the right prescriptive colour for their occasion and give them the best spray tan possible.  This sets you apart from all the other spray tan therapists out there and shows your professionalism.

The fact is the days of the “one size fits all” tanning solution are long gone.  Spray tan solutions allow you to spray any skin type; from the fairest pale skins through to Olive, Hispanic, Asian and African as they provide from 5% to 14% DHA.  Additionally with some solutions (check with your supplier) you can mix them together in equal quantities to make an “in-between” bespoke colour for your clients.  How this works:

Take an equal quantity of two differing solutions by the same manufacturer, let’s say we want to make a 10%, use 25ml of 12% and 25ml of 8% = 10% (12 + 8 = 20/2 = 10)

It’s really important to match the right %DHA solution otherwise you run the risk of turning a pale person orange or spraying too light a colour on a darker skin tone.  Always err on the side of caution, your client will return if you spray them too light but they probably wont if you overdo it and turn them orange or make them look “too fake” for their liking.

We base our suggestions on The Fitzpatrick Skin classification system first developed in 1975 by Thomas Fitzpatrick, MD, of Harvard Medical School. His skin classification system and its adaptations are familiar to dermatologists.

Spray Tan Solutions

Spray Tan Recommendiations by Skin Type

If you stick to these guidelines you wont go far wrong.

Sometimes you can achieve a better depth of tan by using a lower DHA solution but applying twice and on alternate days.  You would aim to use around 40ml per average body on each spray session.

Always make sure you make full use of your Client Consultation Card to log the solutions used and any comments you receive from your client the day after.

Adding DHA Drops

Some tanning companies sell DHA drops, whereby you add this to the solution in your spray gun cup to make the solution darker.  Always be aware that the more DHA you add the more drying the solution will be on your clients’ skin as there are no additional moisturisers being added to compensate.

Bronzing Drops NO DHA

Additionally you can use bronzing drops to darken the colour guide to help you see the solution going on the skin.  This can be an advantage if you are spraying a darker skin tone and the solution you are using has a very light colour guide.  There are advantages to using lighter colour guides, it can help with the fade and there tends to be less rub off on your clients’ clothing and bedding.

Use of  High % DHA

I’m not a great advocate of using extremely high DHA solutions above 12%.  It would appear to be particularly appealing to those here in the UK and some other European countries.  In the EU DHA is recommended at no higher than 14% and some Safety Assessors wont pass products which contain higher than this to comply with the EU Cosmetics Regulations.  Higher means drier in most instances and this can cause terrible fading problems in clients and potentially irritation to their skin.  Dancers and Body Builders don’t generally require higher %’s either.  There generally is a lack of understanding, particularly in the UK on this.  The main area to concentrate on in these clients is the colour guide and laying a base colour then spraying again on consecutive days.  More on this subject in a future post.

To find out more about the different tanning solutions available at Unreal Sunless click the link.

To find out more about Fitzpatrick scale

Do you stick to the Fitzpatrick guidelines?

If there is a topic you would like us to cover?  Feel free to email us using the contact page.  In the meantime check out some of our other posts Spray Tanning How It Works

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