Pro Sunless Advice

Why does spray tanning turn you orange?

Why does spray tanning turn you orange?

The dreaded “orange” effect has stuck with the sunless tanning industry since its conception. As technology and products become more advanced, this issue began to decrease, however everyone remembers this unwanted color.

So why does spray tanning turn you orange? Typically, you will find this is caused because of user error. As a technician, there are some key aspects that must be taken into consideration to ensure an orange free tan.

Using the right solution: You, as the technician, must fully understand the different skin tones and which solution works well with each. Everyone’s skin tone is different so a solution that works well on one person may not work well on another.

It is recommended to choose a solution close to the client’s natural skin tone. A more natural looking tan will help to avoid a heavy contrast between spray tan and natural tone. Spraying a client with too dark of a solution can cause an orange hint to the skin because the contrast is so extreme. Other effects of a dark solution could include patchiness, alligator skin and uneven fading. Besides, it’s better to have the client be too light than too dark!

Staying educated: Keep up to date with your sunless brand. You can’t be a great technician without the proper education. Be sure you are following your formula’s application instructions and application tips.

Most companies will only recommend 1-2 coats of solution per client. Why do they do this? Over applying is a thing! It is extremely common for a technician to apply one coat of solution to the body and another AND another thinking the one coat was not enough color. Big no no. Initial application color is ONLY BRONZER and plays no part in how the color will develop. Too much solution can be detrimental to a spray tan, and can lead to the terrible orange.

Proper application: Application will also play a key role in avoiding an orange looking spray tan. More specifically in those problem areas such as knees, elbows, hands, feet, ankles and so on.

Technicians should avoid heavy application on drier areas that are prone to product buildup. It’s recommended to feather off in areas like ankles and wrists. As extra precaution, it is always essential to apply the proper prep product to your client such as pH balancing spray and barrier cream. Barrier cream should be applied to all dry areas so DHA penetration on the skin is minimal. pH balancing spray should be applied to the entire body to ensure a cleansed surface for solution application.

Using reputable product: Make sure your clients are using reputable at home products. Many at home tanning products can be purchased at any drug store. Many of these self-tanners have an unknown amount of DHA which can lead to over development. Provide your clients with alternatives that will be more beneficial and rather than detrimental. It’s also a good idea to emphasizes the importance of proper usage to your self-tanner clients, all the tips above go for self-applied tanning products as well!


Bold. Beautiful. Sunless