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Custom Airbrush Tans Explained

Updated: Apr 10, 2023

When I started spraying 6 years ago, I had no idea that I was false advertising. I claimed to offer custom airbrush tans, however, that was misleading. This wasn’t intentional though. I was under the impression that any hand-spray was custom, & I couldn’t have been more wrong! I’ll lay out the characteristics of a true custom airbrush tan, at least by my definition.

Too often, I see sunless artists that claim to offer custom sprays using one or two solutions. I was certainly guilty of this! The problem is that there are many different skin types with different undertones. One solution does not fit all, & skin type truly does play so much into what solution should be used. For example, one of the solutions we carry turns me way too warm because I have a red undertone with Type II skin. However, it works beautifully on guests that have a olive skin tone with a Type III or greater skin type. Understanding the color wheel is helpful in knowing how to off-set undesirable tones (insert middle school art class). In my opinion, there should be multiple rapid & long-setting solution options available. Solution should never be pre-mixed before seeing the client & having a brief consultation.

When customizing someone's experience, it is important to understand the same positions do not work for everyone. Each client should be positioned by body type. When I learned how to spray, I was sent a PDF file with the general positions to use, & this is what I went with for a few years. I eventually realized I was missing important problematic areas that made the tan less than seamless & left client's feeling bummed about their results. Nowadays, I would not spray my 12 year client who has an athletic build the same way I would spray my 50 year old client who is on a weight loss journey. It is easy to fly through the same general positions & routine on a day when there are 15 guests back to back, however, without thoughtfully positioning each client, we are more than likely not delivering an exceptional experience.

Another way to customize a spray is to understand skin conditions. Guests with psoriasis, oily skin, and mature skin all absorb solution differently. Understanding the viscosity of the solutions offered & how they mesh with skin types, conditions, & concerns is important, as they all lay a little different. Additionally, having the appropriate supplies on hand, such as sponges, drying powder, hand wipes, thicker lotion are all helpful in these scenarios. They can truly prevent a disaster & provide a customer with a 5 star experience.

As sunless artists, we should educate ourselves about skin types, invest in multiple high-quality solutions, & above all, be thoughtful!

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