What you need to know about airbrush tanning

A popular alternative to tanning beds, airbrush tans are not only attractive and safe, but they also save you time and money. One application is equal to about six sessions in a tanning bed. Airbrushing is done one-on-one in a tanning salon.

How should you prepare?

Shower, shave and exfoliate before the session. Be sure to remove all skin care products before your appointment. Do not wear makeup, lotions or deodorant because these products will create a barrier for the solution. Exfoliating well before the application is a good way to achieve a smoother appearance.

What should you wear?

In order to minimize tan lines, wear minimal clothing during the session. After the application, be sure you have loosely fitting clothing to wear home. Avoid wearing wool, nylon and silk material since the solution may react the material.

How long does the process take?

The first session generally includes a consultation and skin evaluation to find the right shade for your skin tone. Airbrushing normally takes about 20 minutes.

How much does airbrushing cost?

Prices vary from salon to salon; $25 to $35 is the general price range for a single full-body treatment. It's usually less expensive if you only treat parts of the body like your face or legs. You may be able to save money by purchasing a package deal that includes several applications.

How long does the tan last?

An airbrushed tan lasts five to seven days in general, 10 days at the most. The tan does not wash off in the shower, but heavy exfoliating can cause it to fade faster.

How long should I wait before going in the water?

You should wait a at least eight hours before rinsing off in the shower. Do not use soap or shampoo but do use a generous amount of moisturizer. After this initial rinse, you can take showers as usual, but if you want the tan to last, avoid scrubbing with exfoliators.

Airbrushing is a good method for those with sensitive skin or who want to improve the look of their skin. The overall color covers minor imperfections, just like a layer of foundation does for the face.

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Salon owner Liz Medley says she and her staff try to talk during the tan to make their clients feel at ease. (Photo by Brandon Smith)
Salon owner Liz Medley says she and her staff try to talk during the tan to make their clients feel at ease. (Photo by Brandon Smith)

Due to its link with skin cancers, many tanners search for safe alternatives to the sun. Dermatologists view sunless tanning to be less harmful

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