Different Types of Spray Tans

By now everyone knows the dangers of using tanning beds and UV tanning, and although they may be convenient, they can lead to long-term problems. These problems include wrinkles, sunspots, and dry leathery skin. Tanning beds and UV tanning activities have also been linked to a significant increase in the chances of developing the dreaded C word.

The number of different types of spray tans can be confusing for many. You can purchase spray tan or self-tanning kits for home use, but with this being said, there is no guarantee that you are going to be the same tan color that was shown on the bottle.

You could in fact become a glowing orange tone if you buy the wrong tanning solution. If this is the look that you are going for then a DIY tanning kit is perfect for you.

Most people, however, opt for the more professional way to achieve a tan by getting a spray tanning session done at a reputable and professional tanning salon. So, if you can’t bear to go through life without a golden glow then you should definitely consider a spray tan.

How Does Spray Tanning Work?

A trip to a sunless spray tan booth is quite a different experience from a tanning bed. It can also add up a bit after a few sessions which you may have read in our spray tan costs write-up.

Spray tans contain a chemical called dihydroxyacetone which is also commonly known as DHA. This chemical is absorbed into the top layer of skin cells and creates a chemical reaction that causes them to darken.

It is important to note that this coloration process is completely harmless and that the chemical DHA has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for external use.

Once you have arrived at the tanning salon of your choice, you will strip down and enter into a special booth where the tanning solution is applied to your body in a fine mist. Some Salons also offer airbrushing booths.

In an airbrushing booth, a specially trained technician uses a compressor and an airbrush to apply a tanning spray evenly to your body.

Different Types of Spray Tans and Machines

There are so many options to look at once you have decided to get a spray tan. It is important to choose the best type of spray tan so as to match what you are looking for in order to get optimal results with that tan gun.

There are many different types of spray tan equipment on the market today, each with its own pros and cons. If you are serious about obtaining a magnificent tan, then it is important to do your homework before choosing which one you are going to use as your perfect sunless tanning solution!

These are the four main types of spray tans available:

  • HVLP spray tanning.
  • LVLP spray tanning.
  • Airbrush spray tanning.
  • Booth spray tanning.

HVLP (High Volume Low Pressure) Spray Tan Systems

This machine is by far one of the most popular spray tanning machines in the industry. The HVLP machine is commonly used in spray tanning salons and mobile businesses and has a wattage of between 400W and 700W. There are different variations of the HVLP machine, but they generally all work in the same way.

There are numerous advantages when using this type of machine:

  • Unlike some other machines, there is no waste of spray tanning solution.
  • This machine sports a deluxe gun, which does not leak or overspray. It only uses 30-50mls of spray tanning solution at a time.
  • It has the ability to tan an individual within 5 minutes. This is extremely beneficial if you run a busy salon because as it means that at least six people can be spray tanned within an hour.
  • The HVLP machine does not overheat during usage as it has an automatic shut-off system.
  • In addition to these features, it has an automatic heat function which assists in drying the client in minimal time.

These spray tanning machines are light and portable, making them the perfect choice for a mobile tanning business that would like to accommodate clients in the comfort of their own homes.

LVLP (Low Volume Low Pressure) Spray Tan Systems

An LVLP spray tan machine is a turbine-driven system that forces out spray tanning solution through a gun that sprays out an even and quick spray tan mist.

This machine is different from the HVLP machine as it operates at a lower pressure and it is significantly noisier when in operation due to the extra fans situated in the turbine.


  • It takes about 10-15 minutes to apply the extremely efficient solution.
  • The stem does not overspray due to its flexible spray delivery adjustment and lower air pressure.
  • Highly recommended for busy spray tanning businesses.


  • The noise makes it a little too loud for mobile tanning businesses.
  • The quality of the spray tan created by the LVLP depends on the skill of the person who is applying it.
  • This machine requires a lot of precision when applying.
  • This machine is more expensive than other spray tanning machines.

Airbrush Spray Gun Machine

Airbrush spray tanning machines are a force to be reckoned with and are used in many professional spray-tanning salons. There are a variety of these machines available but the one that is most commonly used is the airbrush tanning system with a compressor.

  • The airbrush spray tanning equipment is cheaper when compared to the LVLP machine and creates a lot less noise.
  • This machine works at high pressure so that it is able to deliver more of the spray tanning liquid in less time.

It can, however, cause quite a bit of overspray and wastage of the spray tanning solution, and the time that it takes to spray tan the client can range from between 25 to 40 minutes.

Automatic Spray Tanning Booths For Your Sunless Session

An automatic spray tanning booth is an enclosed booth that almost mimics a shower cubicle. The client will stand inside, and a spray tan solution is automatically sprayed in the form of a mist through a number of nozzles that can be found on the sides of the booth.

The most amazing part of this spray tanning machine is its ability for these nozzles to spray the entire body all at the same time. This type of spray tan machine is quite expensive to set up and requires a professional to work the machine. Clients will pay more for a spray booth than any other tanning solution, but the golden tan they will get after the fact is well worth the money.

If time is not on your side, then this tanning machine is perfect for you as it only takes a minute or two for the entire process to be finished. A lot of people also prefer this spray tanning method as it is considered to be the most private method when spray tanning the body. This machine is best suited for the more upscale spray tanning salons.

The only disadvantage to this machine is that in some cases the results can be slightly inaccurate, and a handheld spray gun may be needed to reach the parts of the body that the spray tan mist did not reach.

How Long Does A Spray Tan Last?

The golden-brown color that is achieved from your spray tan won’t just simply fade away, but it will disappear as your body naturally rids itself off dead skin cells.

Remember that this is a safer way of tanning and requires no UV rays, therefore only the top layer of the skin cells receive color. After about 5 to 7 days most of these skin cells will be gone and you will return to your normal color.

What Tips Should I Follow After Having A Spray Tan?

In order to make your spray tan last for as long as possible, it is advisable to immediately use a towel to wipe off any excess liquid from your body after your spray tan artist has finished.

Thereafter, make sure to completely dry off before you put your clothes back on so that you do not run the risk of staining your clothes from the effects of the spray tan gun.

Depending on your skin tone, tour tan will take about 8 to 24 hours to reach its full color so it is important to wait at least 4 to 6 hours before you shower. If you have been for an airbrush tan, then you will need to wait 10-12 hours before you shower.

It is also important to try not to do any sweat-inducing activities that will negatively affect your spray tan color. Use a good moisturizer after your first shower and thereafter apply it daily.

The Best Products to Use to Enhance Your Spray Tan

Norvell Pre Sunless Tanning XLATAN pH Balancing Spray, 8 fl.oz.

Norvell Post Sunless Hydrofirm Moisturizing Spray, 1 Liter

This product promotes skin that is tight, tanned, and toned in one ultra-hydrating, routine-simplifying step! This moisturizing mist sets and seals your sunless tanning application while deepening and darkening DHA development for long-lasting sun-kissed color.

Spray tanning has been around long enough to become a near perfected art that offers a safe and healthy sunless tan alternative to get the look of sun-kissed skin without the tan line!



The Sicilian 200X Double Dark Black Bronzer Tanning Lotion 13.5 oz - New 2021 Tan Lotion

The Sicilian 200X Double Dark Black Bronzer Tanning Lotion 13.5 oz – New 2021 Tan Lotion

When this tanning lotion is applied before sunless tanning, this pH-balancing bronzing booster deepens, darkens, and develops any tan in half the time! The color will begin to develop within 2 short hours. Accentuates, amplifies, and extends the life and intensity of any tan.