What is Airbrush Tanning?

Lauren Romano
Lauren Romano
Use petroleum jelly on your lips before getting an airbrush tan.
Use petroleum jelly on your lips before getting an airbrush tan.

Airbrush tanning consists of a tanning solution being applied to your skin via an air compressor and applicator. It’s an option for those that want a quick tan but want to avoid the sun’s harmful rays and don’t want to go in a tanning bed. A technician that is trained in the application process is responsible for helping you to walk out with a golden tan that you are pleased with.

In preparation for airbrush tanning, you should shower and exfoliate but not apply any lotion to your body. Also, no makeup should be worn. Opt for wearing loose clothing that you won’t mind getting ruined. While the airbrush solution should wash out of your clothing, it is possible that it can stain certain materials. Furthermore, you should wear flip flops instead of any other type of shoe. If you are getting the airbrushing done for a big event, such as a wedding, you should do it at least a few days before so that the color has time to even out and you can make adjustments if necessary.

You should wear a bathing suit or underwear that you won’t mind if it were to get stained when you are getting airbrush tanning done. For women, depending on your comfort level, you may have the option of being airbrushed while you are topless but still wearing a bottom. It can give you a more even skin color without the variations showing from where you normally would have your bra or bathing suit.

During the airbrush tanning, you should wear ear plugs, nose plugs and goggles to protect your eyes. You may also want to use petroleum jelly or lip balm on your lips, which may even be insisted upon by the technician before the process starts. Also, the technician should inform you during the process when you should hold your breath so that you won’t inhale any of the solution. Dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which is the color additive of the airbrush solution, is currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) but only for external use.

Wait at least six hours after the airbrush tanning to shower. It gives the solution enough time to set in. In some cases, there may be a slight scent attributed to the solution. Considering that your tan may last longer if you moisturize, you should do so at least twice a day from head to toe.

You should have a consultation with the technician before scheduling a first time appointment to go over pricing information as well as how they specifically do the process. Airbrush tanning is an option for those that have light skin and want to achieve a golden tan in around thirty minutes time from start to finish. In very little time, you just may walk out with a tan that you’re happy with.

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Discussion Comments


We love these types of articles because there are so many people are interested in sunless tanning but do not know what to expect. In addition, they don’t get the longevity out of their sunless tan because they do not know how to prepare for and care for their sunless tans.

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    • Use petroleum jelly on your lips before getting an airbrush tan.
      Use petroleum jelly on your lips before getting an airbrush tan.