Ideally, a quality custom airbrush tan should last 7-10 days before it starts to fade. When the color starts to breakdown, it should be even, barely noticeable. We've all seen tans that are on their last days & look very splotchy & harsh. That shouldn't be the norm & is usually avoidable. Now that we've established the standard, you may be wondering why your tan is not lasting the above amount of time, or why the end result is less than desirable. I've broken some of the most likely answers down into four categories listed below.
1. Pre-care - Every committed self-tanner knows exfoliation is key. However, there are some things you may not be considering. Stay away from exfoliants that are oil based, such as sugar & salt scrubs. An exfoliation mitt or dry brush work best! Also, remember shave, then exfoliate, in that order. Most razors have a moisture strip that act as a barrier between your skin & the bronzer. Like a blank canvas is easiest for a painter to begin their piece of artwork, so is bare skin to a spray tan artist.
2. Post-care - This may be the biggest key to understanding why your sunless tan isn't sticking. After the recommended waiting period, your initial rinse should be with luke-warm water, not hot! No soap should be used during the first rinse, & only a mild body wash should be used after that. Moisturize after the first rinse with an alcohol & paraben-free lotion. Make sure to moisturize twice a day after that & HYDRATE! The biggest breakdown typically happens when clients forget to moisturize twice a day. Also, stay away from aerosol sunscreen & chlorine. We carry all of the recommended products in our studio, or you can plan ahead of your appointment & have the right items on hand.
3. Skin types - Certain skin types struggle more with color longevity than others. Dry & mature skin usually has more of an issue with fading quicker. Sometimes oily skin can also struggle to hold a tan, as the solution doesn't soak in as well. It takes an experienced & skilled spray tan artist to find the right solution fit & to spray with a certain layering technique to gain better results. If you have dry or oily skin, you may want to invest in our prep or moisture lock additives to see if those help. If you have dry skin, try a thicker post-care lotion.
4. Additional internal factors - As mentioned in previous blog posts, hormones can play a huge role in your sunless tan lasting. Depending where you are in your cycle can oftentimes be directly tied to how long your color sticks. I've seen this time & time again over the years. If no other factor has changed, & your color comes off quicker, I bet this may have something to do with it!
If you're paying premium price for a sunless tan, you want the maximum results! If your tan is not lasting, talk to your sunless artist. It may be something one, or both of you can tweak.