Airbrush Sunless Spray Tanning FAQ

For sanitary purposes, all clients must wear bottoms- swim suit, trunks, boxer briefs, thong, etc. We also have disposables available for clients as well. Minors must wear tops and bottoms. We also require clients to follow the FDA recommendations for sunless spray tanning. 

The longevity of a sunless tan depends on the type of self-tanning application, the skin’s natural exfoliation process, and on the skincare regimen followed before and after application.

On average, self-tanners last 4-7 days. A professional application, I.e. a sunless tan received at a salon or spa, will last longer than an at-home application as there is usually a greater percentage of DHA used.

  • At-home application (lotions, sprays, mousse, etc.) = 3 to 5 days
  • Professional application (stand-up spray units, airbrush, Custom Bronzing) = 5 to 7 days

The “life span” of a sunless tan also depends on your skin’s natural exfoliation. The faster your skin turns over, the faster the sunless tan will fade. The tan created by the DHA affects only the top layer of the skin and will begin to fade after 4 to 5 days as the skin naturally begins to exfoliate.

Following a good skincare regimen before and after sunless tanning will help a sunless tan last longer. Exfoliating prior to a sunless tanning application and keeping skin moisturized afterward are essential. Sunless tan-extending products with a light self-tanning bronzer, like Norvell Color Extender Pro-long™ Moisturizer or Venetian Gradual Self Tanning Lotion, help hydrate skin and maintain even, natural-looking color longer.

To get the best possible tan possible, we recommend waiting 24 hours to have your first warm water rinse. You may warm water rinse, 4-8 hours after your tan, but it could affect how deep the tan will get. If you need to warm water rinse within 3 hours of your session we recommend the Venetian ONE Rapid Rinse Tan. It is engineered to keep developing after the warm water rinse.

Loose-fitting dark clothing. Anything tight will cause the tan to rub off and you will end up with lines. Tight=tan lines. We also recommend placing a towel on your car seat to protect your tan and your leather seats from one another. A large golf type umbrella is recommended if there is a possibility of rain around your scheduled appointment time. 

We are happy to tan minors. All we ask is that girls wear tops and bottoms, boys trunks, etc. If you are sunless tanning for a dance/ cheer competition, you may wear a sticky strapless bra to prevent tan lines. Minors must have a parent accompany them to their appointment. 

All of Norvell’s products are engineered to work together. Sunless tanning is a chemical reaction, if you don’t have the specific ingredients to cause that reaction you can get bad results. Norvell’s products also are pH balanced. Your skin needs to have a neutral pH. DHA, Dihydroxyacetone, the compound in sunless tanner that makes you tan, reacts with the acid mantel, very fine, slightly acidic film your sebaceous glands excrete. Since your skin has an acidic pH from the acid mantel, it is important to neutralize the skin so the solution processes correctly. 

The principal tanning agent used in all self-tanning formulas is dihydroxyacetone (DHA). This ingredient does not produce a “real tan” by increasing the skin’s melanin levels, rather it creates a tanned appearance by developing a brown color on the surface of the skin.

The action of DHA is limited to the upper layer of the skin and involves a reaction between DHA and skin proteins and oxygen that produces brown compounds. This process is similar to what occurs when you slice open an apple and the surface of the apple browns when it’s exposed to the oxygen in the air.

The development of color takes anywhere from 2 to 4 hours and the intensity of the color is dependent upon the DHA concentration in the product as well as each tanner’s individual skin characteristics. The color developed by the DHA usually lasts 5 to 7 days and begins to fade as the top layer of the skin naturally exfoliates.

It is important to keep skin moisturized after sunless tanning as dry, flaky skin will slough off faster and color will fade sooner. Your goal is to slow down your body’s natural exfoliation process.

Sunless tan-extending products with a light self-tanning bronzer, such as Norvell Color Extender Pro-long™ Moisturizer, help hydrate skin and maintain even, natural-looking color longer by providing subtle bronzers.

If you are using a spray solution with a cosmetic bronzer (water-soluble make-up), some of the bronze color may rub off on clothing or bed sheets. This is most likely to happen when you get dressed immediately after tanning.

To minimize the chance of the bronzers transferring to clothing, we recommend you wear loose-fitting, darker clothes after your spray session. Try to refrain from physical exertion that could result in your sweating until you shower and wash off the cosmetic bronzers.

All cosmetic bronzers used within Norvell products are water-soluble. Therefore, in most cases, the color will come out of clothing in the wash.

It is however important to note bronzers may stain light hair, wool, spandex, lycra, silks, or other fine fabrics. If a. product comes into contact with hands or clothing rinse immediately.

It is recommended that individuals not tan more than 3 times in a 2 week period, to avoid build-up of tanning solution that will contribute to uneven wear-off.

This allows a complete cycle of natural exfoliation and eliminates patchiness or uneven areas of wear, such as around the waist, inside the arms where the elbow bends, underarms, and backs of knees.  These are natural areas of the body where friction from clothing and daily activities may cause premature exfoliation.

In addition, spraying too frequently may also cause the skin to exfoliate more rapidly (decreasing the longevity of your sunless tan), as over-application can alter the skin’s pH levels, causing it to shed more frequently.

We recommend avoiding these situations for the first 48 hours following your spray tan. Chlorinated pools & spas can increase the rate at which the skin exfoliates causing the tan to wear and fade rapidly.

Norvell® Solution should dry enough to re-dress in 8-12 minutes. Your spray technician can reduce this time by removing the spray gun from the quick disconnect air hose and “blow drying” the skin.

Results will vary based on the individual’s skin type and pH balance. Norvell® solutions have been formulated to provide a color that will be appealing to the majority of sunless tanners, and a variety of shades will allow you to find the perfect solution for your individual needs.

Your sunless technician should have all the tools needed to achieve the custom color you so desire.

No. It is common to get a false sense of security when you have been spray tanned. Your skin will still burn when overexposed.

It is still necessary to apply SPF lotions or sprays when in the sun.  Norvell® solutions do NOT contain any SPF.

When used as recommended, Norvell’s professional and retail sunless tanning products are formulated to give a natural, just off the beach™ color, starting with our perfectly blended instant cosmetic bronzers that allow you to gently transition into your DHA tan over 24 hours after application.

High pH levels in the skin can sometimes give individuals an undesirable, ‘fake’ non-natural looking sunless color. Sunless application on skin that is out of balance due to high pH levels sometimes results in what many people refer to as an ‘orange’ coloring.

To prevent this from happening, there are a few things you can do:

  • Do not use bar soaps before your sunless session. A properly pH balanced skin cleanser will not elevate pH levels on the skin and result in more ‘golden brown’ sunless tanning results.
  • Norvell recommends spraying the body with Pre Sunless xLaTan pH Balancing Spray before any sunless application. This product is formulated to lower the pH levels of the skin giving a more golden brown color, and maximizing your sunless results.
  • Do not over-apply sunless products. In general, the darker your natural skin tone, the higher concentration of DHA (sunless product) you can apply to the skin and still maintain a ‘natural’ color. Generally, those will fair/light skin tones should apply less DHA (sunless product) to the skin to ensure natural-looking results. Be sure to not only evaluate how much product you apply to the skin, but what the concentration level of DHA in each product is. Sunless products that are designed to give a darker color may not be desirable for fair skin.

DHA is an acronym for Dihydroxyacetone.

DHA is the active ingredient found in all sunless tanning products. It is a simple carbohydrate that is primarily used as an ingredient in sunless tanning products. It is often derived from plant sources such as sugar beets and sugar cane, and by the fermentation of glycerin. DHA does not make your skin cells darker in pigmentation, but rather reacts with the proteins and amino acids found in the top layer of your skin to create a darkening effect or sunless tan.

Norvell professional sunless solutions and Norvell retail self-tanning products use advanced DHA odor encapsulation, the newest technology in odor inhibitors, to ‘trap’ odor-causing molecules commonly associated with DHA products and virtually eliminate sunless odor.

Preparation and maintenance of your sunless tan is the KEY to sunless success. Make sure to read our online sunless preparation and maintenance guide before your sunless application.

Follow these important steps to ensure maximum sunless results:

  1. GENTLY exfoliate your skin before your sunless spray session. A gentle, sulfate-free skin polish, such as Norvell Renewing Sunless Exfoliator, can be used before your sunless session.
  2. Any waxing or shaving should be performed 24 hours in advance of applying sunless products.
  3. Remove any ‘barriers’ that may prevent the sunless product from absorbing into the skin evenly. These include, but are not limited to make-up, deodorant, perfume, oils, moisturizers, residue from hair conditioners.
  4. Optimize your skin surface pH levels before application. Do not use bar soaps before your sunless tan, and apply Norvell Pre-Sunless xLaTan Ph Balancing Spray.

xLaTan works on the skin surface 3 ways:

  • Boosts amino acid levels, which work directly with DHA, to maximize sunless color results.
  • Balances the pH on the skin to reduce any ‘orange’ coloring and produce golden-brown results.
  • Hydrates skin for even and maximum absorption of sunless solution.

Most people will not see any effect on the color of their hair; however, those with light blonde, gray or platinum hair may see some temporary discoloration from the cosmetic bronzers. This discoloration will easily wash out during the first after session shower.

For those with lighter hair, we recommended spraying onto a cosmetic sponge for facial application and blending into the hairline carefully.

A hair cap may also be worn during application.

Note: when wearing a hair cap, make sure to pull the cap back to expose the edge of the hairline and tuck the cap behind the ears. Otherwise, you will create a hard line around the forehead and temples.

Many individual factors can contribute to patch or uneven wear-off, as each person’s skin is different. It is best to follow our Norvell Preparation and Maintenance Guide for maximum sunless results.

  • Be sure to gently polish the skin before each sunless session using Norvell Renewing Sunless Exfoliator™.
  • Keep skin hydrated on the inside and out. Using a product such as Norvell Daily Replenishing 24hr Moisturizer™ or a daily application of Norvell Color Extender Pro-Long™ Moisturizer will extend the look of your tan. This bronzing booster will also reduce the appearance of uneven wear and patchiness.
  • It is also recommended that individuals not tan more than 3 times in a 2 week period, to avoid build-up of tanning solution that will contribute to uneven wear-off.

For frequent sunless tanning clients, we recommend using Norvell® Intensive Detoxifying Salt Scrub 1 to 2 times per month, to remove sunless tanning build-up. Be sure to wait at least 24 hours after a salt scrub application before applying any sunless product, and do not shave immediately prior to using a salt scrub. For more in-depth tips about how to best exfoliate to maximize your sunless results, check out our insider tips.