Many people love tanned skin because of the healthy glow it delivers. However, not everyone is able to tan, or necessarily wants to. For these people, spray tans are an ideal solution. But when getting a spray tan at a salon costs $50, and sometimes even more, it can seem inaccessible. One solution? To purchase the best spray tan machine for at-home use.
This might not seem like an affordable solution when you think about the cost of professional self-tanning machines you see at salons, which cost thousands of dollars to purchase and even more to maintain. However, there are quality at-home self-tanning machines you can purchase for under $200, which means they cost the same as or less than four self-tanning sessions at a salon. When you consider that maintaining a spray tan means 2-3 visits per week, your machine can pay for itself in less than a month, even if you purchase a higher-end option.
Of course, all this means you need to find the right spray tan machine for you. Let’s take a look at what you need to know before you buy.
What Is Spray Tanning?
Many people think that spray tanning is just painting the skin, layering a color on top of it to change the way it looks. However, this is not how spray tanning works. With spray tanning, you apply a solution in the color of your choice that is designed to mix with your skin’s chemistry, sinking into the skin and actually changing its color.
In general, you will need to start out with a color lighter than the color you wish to achieve. As you tan more, you can start going steadily darker until you find the color that looks right on you. You also must consider that the intensity of the color will depend on your unique chemistry, so you cannot base your expectations on what is on the bottle or results others have seen. This is why you should take a gradual approach; it helps you avoid going too dark, which tends to result in a fake orange color rather than the look you want.
Spray tanning can be done in a salon or at home. You can use a machine, an aerosol bottle, a lotion, or a mousse. Machine tanning tends to get the best results as it is highly controlled and hits the body evenings, reducing the chance of streaks developing.
Why Tan at Home?
As we noted above, purchasing a spray tan machine for at-home use can save you a lot of money when compared to getting your tans done at a salon. However, there are more benefits than simply saving money. Some other benefits to consider are:
- You have complete control. At a salon, you can make your requests, but the technician may not interpret them the way you do.
- You save time. Since you are not commuting to a salon, you save 20-30 minutes every day you need to tan.
- You can enjoy the peace and quiet. Spray tanning can be a spa-like experience, but most professional spray tan sites are inside tanning salons where there is loud music and loud conversation.
- You get to do something for you without the guilt. Because it saves you money, it feels like less of a sacrifice than spray tanning at a salon.
Spray Tanning vs Tanning Beds and Tanning Outside
Now, you might be wondering why you should spray tan when you could just get a real tan by using a tanning bed or booth are laying out in the sun. While every option will have its pros and cons, we believe that spray tanning has some unique advantages you should consider.
- Spray tans are the easiest tans to get. With other forms of tanning, you need to spend a lot of time and effort to reach the color you desire. With spray tanning, you just spray and go. Your full tan will be visible within an hour or two, while your initial tan will be instantly visible.
- Sun damage and skin cancer are not a concern with spray tanning. While other forms of tanning will result in more lasting change, they also put you at great risk. Anytime you naturally tan, you damage the skin, even if you cannot see the damage immediately. Self-tanning incurs no damage.
- Compared to tanning in a tanning bed, it is cheaper. While the actual price of your tanning sessions may come out even with self-tanning at home, when you consider the cost of the various lotions you need, tanning in a tanning bed is more expensive.
- Your tan is more even with self-tanning. While we have all heard of or seen poor results with sunless tanners, those results are usually due to inferior products are incorrect application. A quality machine used correctly delivers streak-free, even results that not even the sun can deliver.
Disadvantages of Spray Tanning
As the saying goes, every rose has its thorn. And while spray tanning is pretty incredible, there are a few disadvantages to it. The first disadvantage is that the sprays used in self-tanning can stain items, such as clothing. You also must take care to avoid stains under your fingernails. However, the product should be fully dry within 15 minutes, after which time you will not need to worry about staining clothing or furniture.
The other main disadvantage is that spray tans do not lost very long. In order to maintain them, you need to spray every 2-3 days. If you go longer than that, there will be noticeable fading. The more you shower and exfoliate, the faster the tan will fade. However, most people who swear by self-tanning believe that these disadvantages are minor and can easily be dealt with if you take the right approach.
Features to Look for in a Spray Tan Machine
Unless you have purchased a spray tan machine before, you likely are uncertain about what to look for. Your instinct might be to go for the most expensive or top-of-the-line model to ensure quality, but these machines are rarely better than budget-friendly models for the average at-home user. So, what should you look for as you shop?
- Weight: Because few people can dedicate a room to spray tanning, you will likely need to store your machine away after each use. As such, it needs to be light enough and compact enough to carry and store away.
- Nozzle: The nozzle is where the spray tanning solution will come out when applying it to your skin. For the best results, you want one that creates a mist and is easy to control.
- Type: There are four general types of spray tanning machines you can find.
- High volume/low pressure systems are salon-quality systems that are portable and can also be used at home.
- Low volume/low pressure systems are also salon-quality but are only recommended for at-home use if you are experienced with them or if you hire a professional to come and apply the tan for you.
- Airbrush spray gun machines are an option for those looking for very precise application, but they use a lot of tanning solution, making them expensive to operate.
- Finally, there are spray tanning booths. Due to the space they require, the cost of purchase, the maintenance needed, and the cost to operate, these are generally only used in salons or luxury residences.
Best Spray Tan Machine Reviews 2017 – Comparison Chart
|Product and Rank||Weight||Nozzle||Type|
|#1 Maxi-Mist Lite Sunless Spray Tanning Kit||18 pounds for the full kit, including the tent||Fine mist||High volume/low pressure|
|#2 Belloccio Turbo Tan Premium Kit||38 pounds for the full kit, including the tent||Fine mist||High volume/low pressure|
|#3 Black Fascination FX Spray Tanning Machine and Kit||25 pounds for the full kit, including tent||Airbrush||High volume/low pressure|
|#4 Maxi- Mist Lite plus Spray Tanning System||7.6 pounds for the full kit||Fine mist||High volume/low pressure|
|#5 Fuji Mini Tan M Model Spray Tan HVLP||20 pounds for the full kit||Bleed valve style||High volume/low pressure|
|#6 Aura Allure Spray Tan Machine||16 pounds for the full kit, including tent||Satin finish||High volume/low pressure|
|#7 St. Tropez Pro Light Spray Tan||4 pounds total||Fine mist||High volume/low pressure|
Best Spray Tan Machine 2017 Product Reviews
#1 Maxi-Mist Lite Sunless Spray Tanning Kit
When it comes to the ultimate at-home tanning machine, professional results are key. The Maxi-Mist Light delivers exactly that. When you use this tanning machine, you will have a natural-looking glow that matches what you would receive at the salon.
While the kit comes with spray tan solution that is formulated to work perfectly with the machine, it is able to use other spray tan solutions. This allows you to use whatever products you like best. While the weight of the entire kit comes close to 20 pounds, the machine itself is not heavy.
While you can do your spray tans in the shower, many do not like to clean up directly after application since water and cleaning gloves can mess up the results of their tan. That is why the tent that comes with this kit is such a big bonus. The spray gun gives you vertical and horizontal spray options for maximum control and the nozzle is designed to prevent clogs from forming. You can adjust the nozzle for different patterns and output. All in all, this is a very solid choice for those interested in self-tanning at home.
#2 Belloccio Turbo Tan Premium Kit
This kit is designed with salon professionals in mind. As such, it is a bit bulkier than other models you can use at home, but it also delivers the kind of results people are happy to pay salons for. It comes with the machine, multiple solution cups, solution, tent, and accessories, which makes it one of the most complete at-home spray tan kits on the market. You even get a DVD instructing you on the best ways to use the machine.
The hose for the machine is longer than most, coming in at 9 feet total. This makes it easy to access all areas of the body without having to do extra contortion work to do so. The nozzle can also be adjusted for different spray patterns, making it easy to do a precise job.
While you can use any tanning solution with this machine, the company does recommend their own products as they are specially formulated to work with the machine. With the kit, you will get four different shades to try out. Because it offers all these different solutions, it is a good way to get started and find the right one for you.
#3 Black Fascination FX Spray Tanning Machine and Kit
The Black Fascination FX Spray Tanning Machine and Kit is a great buy for those who already have experience applying their own spray tans or who can pay a professional to stop by and apply the tan for them. Why does this machine require experience? Because it uses an airbrush-style nozzle, which is more difficult to operate than fine-mist style models.
With that said, because it is an airbrush system, it also delivers some of the most natural-looking results possible with spray tanning. It is also a lightweight machine with an ergonomic design, making it easier on your physically to use. The hose is 8 feet in length, giving you pretty good reach.
The machine allows you to adjust the speed of the spray and the nozzle allows you to control pattern and direction. The motor is incredibly quiet given its power. Despite all that it offers, it is also budget-friendly.
#4 Maxi- Mist Lite plus Spray Tanning System
Once you purchase your spray tan machine, your biggest expense will be the tanning solution. So if you are looking to save money over time, you want a machine that uses as little as possible. The Maxi-Mist Lite plus Spray Tanning System is designed to get maximum coverage with minimal product. When you consider that, plus the low price point of the machine, it is clear that this is a great buy.
Unlike most other selections on this list, this system does not come with a full kit, so you will be using your shower for your tanning booth. The gun itself is very light and easy to use, making it a good choice for anyone with joint problems or who wants to spray tan on a daily basis. However, you may find yourself needing to contort a bit to get the job done since the hose is fairly short at just 6.5 feet.
The machine comes with multiple cups and replacement parts, allowing you to do a while before you need to buy anything else for your machine. It includes three bottles of tanning solution. When you finish them, you can purchase more of the same or use the solution of your choice.
#5 Fuji Mini Tan M Model Spray Tan HVLP
When it comes to what you get in this purchase, it can seem pretty bare bones. All that comes with your purchase of the Fuji Mini Tan M Model is the machine, the hose, the gun, and an operating manual. However, that is because what you get is very high quality.
In essence, this is a miniature version of a salon spray tan machine. As such, you get salon quality results when you use it. So while you will need to buy your accessories separately, you are getting top quality.
The machine works fast and is very quiet, making it ideal for small spaces. The design is user-friendly, so if you have never done spray tans before, you will still get impressive results. It is even designed to shut off if it overheats, a rare feature in an at-home machine.
#6 Aura Allure Spray Tan Machine
Allure is a pretty new name in the industry, but it does not appear to be suffering from growing pains. In addition to offering high-performing spray tan machines, it also delivers some of the most elegant designs the industry has to offer. While the look of your machine is likely not a deciding factor, if it looks good, it certainly doesn’t hurt.
The defining feature of this machine is the satin spray nozzle technology. This delivers an application that is as smooth as with an airbrush machine, but with an easier-to-operate designed. This allows those new to spray tanning to get the look they want while they are still developing their skills.
You can choose the color you like best, which is a pretty fun twist, and the whole machine is designed for ease of use. There is even a cup holder for when you need to put the gun down and a cord management base. It is waterproof and easy to clean, which means less for you to worry about.
#7 St. Tropez Pro Light Spray Tan
Finally, if you are trying to keep things simple, there is no better purchase for you. This handheld unit can go anywhere, be stored anywhere, and reaches everywhere it needs to reach. Despite its small size, it delivers salon-quality results.
The unit comes with a tanning solution that is effective and 100% natural, so even those with sensitive skin can use it. The even application makes your tan look natural and reaches a color that is sun-kissed but not too dark. It also comes with Aromaguard to eliminate most of the self-tan smell.
Despite being compact, it is very easy to clean the machine. It comes with a guide to help you learn how to spray tan at home, as well as nose filters to protect your nasal passages while tanning. All in all, it is a great purchase for those wanting to spray tan at home.
How to Get Excellent Results
Buying the best spray tan machine is only half the battle when it comes to excellent results. The rest is you using the correct techniques during application. To get the best results possible, follow our guide below.
- Never wax or shave on the day you spray tan. Both of these processes open up the pores, which can cause a patchy look to develop. With waxing, give 48 hours before you spray tan. With shaving, give 24.
- Exfoliate your skin a few hours before application. This removes the dead skin cells on the top of your skin, revealing younger, healthier skin beneath. You do this because otherwise the dead skin cells will rub away on their own, giving the skin a patchy look. You can use any method of exfoliation that you enjoy.
- Moisturize your skin. You can use any moisturizer you like. The goal is to hydrate the skin so it absorbs the color evenly.
- Make sure your body is completely dry. Any moisture—sweat, water, moisturizer, deodorant, etc.—can prevent the tanning solution from penetrating the skin evenly.
- Prep the elbows, knees, palms of your hands, lips, and other areas with creases with petroleum jelly. This stops the product from saturating the creases, which creates darker lines than on the rest of the skin.
- Apply the product starting at your feet and working your way up. Why? Because if you bend over after applying the product, you will create lines in the color, which is not the look most are going for.
- Be gentle when it comes to applying product to the face. The skin here is very thin and will absorb the color quickly. You should apply it very lightly so your face does not end up darker than the rest of your body.
- Allow the product at least 10 minutes to dry, or follow the instructions that come with the solution. After is has dried, dust yourself with talc-free powder to help set the color and prevent it from staining clothing and furniture.
- Give the product time to set in and darken. You do not want to shower or sweat for several hours after use—8 hours is the minimum time recommended.
While making your choice may seem stressful, it doesn’t need to be. Ultimately, there is a great option no matter your needs. We firmly believe that your ideal spray tan machine is on our list; all you need to do is make your buy. So stop wasting time and start working on the tan you dream of.