For hundreds and thousands of years, if you wanted to get a beautiful golden tan, you had to spend time in the sun. As medical understanding has improved in the 20th century, we now know that the sun—more specifically its UV rays—can cause a lot of damage to the skin. From dark spots and wrinkles to skin cancer, the medical problems associated with tanning are widely discussed.
But, just because people know about the problems that can happen when you tan doesn’t mean that they have stopped wanting the tan look. The problem becomes: how to get that beautiful golden tan without damaging your skin.
Thankfully, today there are many answers to that important questions. You can choose to get a spray tan, airbrush tan, or rub a sunless tanning solution on your body. These products remove the need for the sun. Today we will look at airbrush tanning in particular and help you decide which of our top five picks for the best airbrush tanning solution to purchase. No matter what option you choose, you can rest assured that you will get the tan you’ve always wanted quickly and easily.
- 1 What is airbrush tanning?
- 2 Airbrush tanning vs. spray tans
- 3 How does airbrush tanning work?
- 4 Is airbrush tanning good for my skin?
- 5 Can a person with any skin tone receive an airbrush tan?
- 6 What to look for in an airbrush tanning solution?
- 7 Top Five Best Airbrush Tanning Solution-Comparison table
- 8 Top Five Best Airbrush Tanning Solution-Reviews
- 9 How to apply an airbrush tanning solution
- 10 Do I need to go to a spa to get an airbrush tan?
- 11 How do I prepare for my airbush tan?
- 12 How do I maintain my airbrush tan?
- 13 How long does an airbrush tan last?
- 14 What are the health benefits of airbrush tan?
- 15 Final Words
What is airbrush tanning?
Airbrush tanning is performed by another person, either a salon technician or a friend depending on where you are receiving the tan. An airbrush machine—think airbrushed paintings or make-up—sprays on the tanning solution. This is a popular option because it creates an even tan without any streaks.
Most often a professional airbrush technician administers solutions to your body. This allows for constant feedback since the technician can see exactly where and how much solution has been sprayed on your body. They can also avoid certain areas that do not need to be sprayed, like your palms.
Airbrush tanning is preferred by most celebrities because of the customization and care inherent in the procedure. So, if you want a tan that is professionally done, and that could make your skin look as good as your favorite celebrity, then airbrush tanning is the right option for you.
Airbrush tanning vs. spray tans
You may have been confused about the difference between airbrush tanning and spray tanning. In fact, many people actually confuse the two. However, they are not the same procedure for sunless tanning, even though they have a couple of similarities.
Both airbrush tanning and spray tanning uses DHA to create the brown layer on your skin. These two popular sunless tanning options also most often employ bronzing agents. The bronzers work immediately so that you or the technician can see uncovered spots—which ensures your entire body is tanned evenly. However, the similarities stop at the ingredients.
Airbrush tanning is done in person by another human—either a salon employee or a friend. This creates a tan without streaks. Also, if you get the airbrush tan at a salon the technician can help you customize the tanning solution to your own skin tone.
Spray tanning, on the other hand, is usually performed in a booth. You step in and the machine administers the solution. The fumes from this process can be intense, and the body is often not covered in the tanning material evenly. You cannot customize the tanning solution in this option. You can only choose one of the offered options. Thus, it is very common to look orange when you have gotten a spray tan.
How does airbrush tanning work?
Just because you are not being exposed to UV radiation does not mean that you cannot get a beautiful golden tan. Sunless tanning products use a chemical called dihydroxyacetone (DHA) that browns the outer layer of your skin. This is what makes you brown without changing the composition of your skin.
Is airbrush tanning good for my skin?
Airbrush tans are much better for your skin because you are not exposing yourself to the sun’s harmful UV rays. Skin cancer, wrinkles, fine lines, and dark spots are not side effects of sunless tanning.
You should keep one thing in mind, however. When you tan in the sun, your skin turns brown because it is attempting to protect itself. The overproduction of melatonin—the pigment in our skin—creates a protective layer on our skin. This protection is not produced when you get a sunless tan like an airbrush tan. Therefore, when you go into the sun, even if you are tanned, you will need to wear sunscreen.
Can a person with any skin tone receive an airbrush tan?
Any person can receive an airbrush tan and look good, no matter their skin tone. Because most airbrush tans are given in a salon by an experienced professional, they can match your skin tone to the correct tan color.
For example, an extremely fair person would not want to receive a tan that uses the darkest tanning solution. This would look out of place for their coloring. Likewise, if you have dark skin already, an airbrush technician would likely deter you from picking a light-colored solution, since it would not be visible.
With the internet and trial and error, most people can learn the correct tanning solution for their body type. However, the ability to rely on a professional—instead of a machine as in spray tanning—ensures that you will look your best every time you tan.
What to look for in an airbrush tanning solution?
Some airbrush tanning solutions are now made with organic ingredients. If using only organic products is important to you, then you should choose a product that uses those ingredients.
Aloe vera is a wonderful ingredient to see in an airbrush tanning solution. It has a healing effect on our skin—which is why you see it in products that treat sunburns. But, it also allows the DHA to penetrate deeper into your skin, which provides a darker and longer-lasting tan.
Certain vitamins are beneficial for your skin. If you see the vitamins A, C, or E included in a tanning solution, then you know that the company puts your skin’s health first. Vitamin A accelerates the production of fibroblasts, which keeps your skin taut. Vitamin C synthesizes collagen, our skin’s structural protein. Finally, Vitamin E blocks free radicals.
Top Five Best Airbrush Tanning Solution-Comparison table
DHA, Aloe Vera Leaf Extract, Green Tea Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Vitamins C and E, Tomato Fruit Extract, Cranberry Fruit Extract, Caffeine
DHA, Aloe Vera Leaf Extract, Beet Root Extract, Copper, Green Tea Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Vitamins C and E, Tomato Seed Extract, Cranberry Fruit Extract, Caffeine
1 liter Box
DHA, DMI, Erythrulose
Aloe Vera Leaf Extract, DHA (organic), Walnut Extract, Vitamins A, C, and E
DHA, Walnut Extract, Vitamins A, C, and E
8oz or 32 oz
Top Five Best Airbrush Tanning Solution-Reviews
Norvell is one of the premiere names in the sunless tanning industry for a reason. Their products all work with your natural skin tone to create a “just off the beach look.” This airbrush tanning solution is labeled “dark” and sits fifth done of Norvell’s list of their eleven products. So, it will give you a fairly medium-colored tan.
The addition of aloe vera, green tea extract, and vitamins C and E revitalize and nourish your skin as you receive the tan. While none of these ingredients are organic, they are of the highest quality. Finally, the delicate raspberry scent of the solution makes it stand apart from the competition.
Novell is such an industry leader that their airbrush tanning solutions deserved the second spot on this list as well. This tanning solution is different than Norvell’s other offerings because it is formulated to work quickly. In fact, you can have a light bronze tan in as little as one hour. This is a significantly shorter period than the 12 hours it takes most traditional formulas to darken all of the ways.
Despite the new formula in Norvell’s One, you still receive many of the same benefits as their other products. For example, the raspberry-almond scent of the solution remains the same, as do the high-quality ingredients.
Another leader in sunless tanning, Fake Bake has produced a fast-acting formula for their Airbrush tanning solution. The color will be on the darker, side—in fact, it is named “darker.” While this formula is not as fast as the other one-hour airbrush tanning solutions on our top five, it still works faster than most conventional formulas.
Fake Bake’s solution is different than other fast-acting solutions because of the addition of DMI (Dimethyl Isosorbide) and Erythrulose to the company’s trademarked formula. DMI allows for faster delivery of the solution to your skin, while Erythrulose takes longer to activate and, thus, provides a longer-lasting tan.
If you want a completely organic airbrush tanning solution, then you should try Sjolie’s Sunless Organic Spray Tanning Solution. All of the ingredients that Sjolie includes in the solution are organic. The solution we have picked for this list is marketed to people with medium skin tones.
The second ingredient—after water—in this airbrush tanning solution is aloe vera, which only intensifies that ingredient’s helpful properties. Sjolie claims they have added such a large proportion of aloe vera into this solution to help extend your tan for three or more days.
Even though Sjolie’s Sunless Ultra One Spray Tan Solution does not have many reviews on Amazon, we felt that it had to be included on this top five list. Just like the more popular Norvell One, this solution will give you a golden tan within an hour, and it will darken as it continues to sit on your skin.
Unlike the other Sjolie product on our list, this solution is not made of organic ingredients. However, the solution is still paraben, erythrulose, and fragrance-free. It will also work for all skin types, you just alter the amount of solution you use to gain a darker or lighter tan.
How to apply an airbrush tanning solution
If you are planning on applying the airbrush tan yourself, or are learning about being an airbrush tan technician, there is a specific way to apply the solution to allow it to create the fullest effect. You will always want to follow the instructions that come with the solution. If you apply too much of the solution the tan may appear to be orange or it could build up in crevices like the knees, elbow, etc.
The application process of the airbrush tan should take around 15-20 minutes.
Do I need to go to a spa to get an airbrush tan?
You do not necessarily need to go to a salon to get an airbrush tan. However, if you only plan to airbrush tan on special occasions or for specific events going to a salon might be simpler and cheaper. To airbrush tan at home you will need to purchase a spray gun, tanning booth—so the solution doesn’t stain your house or yard—cleaning supplies, the solution, and myriad other accessories. You could also purchase an airbrush tanning kit, but these can run hundreds of dollars.
For someone who plans on airbrush tanning all time, these expenses might make sense. Especially if you have a friend or two that will tan with you since the machine cannot really be run by the person receiving the tan. You will need at least two people or there is a possibility that you might miss a spot or create streaks.
If you don’t want to do your tan yourself, but still want a professional airbrush tan, you can choose to have the technician come to your home. Certain salons offer this service, which allows you to stay in a familiar location while also receiving a professional tan.
But, as stated, if you are new to airbrush tanning or do not plan on using the equipment often, going to a salon for the tan might be the most economical and easiest option.
How do I prepare for my airbush tan?
There are a few steps you can take before your airbrush tan that will help the solution go on evenly and look its best.
How do I maintain my airbrush tan?
Keeping your airbrush tan looking great will likely be a top priority for you. You did spend hard-earned money to receive it after all. Follow these steps to keep your airbrush tan looking good and smooth as long as possible.
How long does an airbrush tan last?
With the proper care, an airbrush tan can last over a week (7-10 days on average). Although this may seem like a short time to have a tan, it is longer then the expected 5-7 days you receive from a spray tan.
When you receive a tan using UV radiation—either from the sun or a tanning bed—the length of your tan will be much harder to determine. Some people lose their tans in just a couple of weeks, while other people can have tans that last for around a month. Genetics play a large role in your skin rejuvenation process, something that you will not have to worry about with a sunless tan.
An advantage of the airbrush—and other sunless tanning options—is that they appear instantly. You do not need to wait for days for your skin to produce more melatonin or shift your skin cells around. Instead, the DHA browns your skin completely in just a couple of hours.
What are the health benefits of airbrush tan?
Sunless tanners, and airbrush tanning, in particular, will not cause the skin problems that are associated with suntanning. Sunless tanning does not employ the UV radiation that suntanning uses to brown your skin. UV rays, especially UVB rays, are the cause of skin damage and cancer. So, staying out of the sun will save you from these problems.
As the most active ingredient in airbrush tanners, DHA, may sound like a scary chemical to some people. But, rest easy. There have been no reported issues with DHA. Very few people may have a DHA allergy, but this is quite rare.
As far as current studies have shown, DHA is safe for pregnant women. Yet, we always recommend that pregnant women consult a doctor before changing their skincare regimen or airbrush tanning. It is better to be safe than sorry.
Just because a person does not want to tan in the sun does not mean that they don’t want beautiful golden skin. But, the many different sunless tanning options and products may seem overwhelming.
In order to the decision easier on yourself, follow our buyer’s guide and choose one of the top five best airbrush tanning solutions. Any of these choices will help you to receive the safe, gorgeous tan that you’ve always wanted.