Spray tanning has become an incredible method for us who love to have a healthy, sporty skin tone because it doesn’t depend on where you live or how the weather is. However, the price for a tanning session is still a significant expense, and investing in the best spray tan machine for the long run might be a wise choice for you.
Therefore, in this article, you will find everything you need to know: what to look for in a spray tan kit, how to use it, how to maintain the glow, and 5 of the most convenient tanning machines for both personal and business purposes.
- What is Spray Tanning?
- Spray Tanning Options
- Benefits of Spray Tanning
- How to Choose?
- Best Spray Tan Machine Reviews
- MaxiMist Lite Plus HVLP Spray Tanning System – Best for Home Use
- MaxiMist Evolution Pro HVLP Spray Tanning System – Best for Professional Use
- Norvell M1000 HVLP Sunless Spray Tan Airbrush Kit – Second Best for Home
- MaxiMist Allure Xena – Second Best for Professional Use
- Fuji Mini M Model Spray Tan HLVP System
- Spray Tan Machine Components
- Spray Tanning Tips
- Final Words
What is Spray Tanning?
The process is very simple, we might say. You will get a chemical sprayed onto your skin in the form of a thin mist. The substance is colorless, but the component DHA (dihydroxyacetone) will interact with amino acids in skin cells and turn them brown.
While outdoor tanning is known to have health risks, DHA is 100% safe. It has been an ingredient in cosmetics for such a long time.
The tan you get from spray tanning only lasts a week with decent skincare, and we will include tips for maintaining the bronze hue below. If you want to keep an energetic skin tone, you will need to either visit the salon or invest in a kit at home.
Spray Tanning Options
When it comes to artificial tanning, we have several options.
Spray Gun & Airbrush Gun
Tanning experts might come to your house for appointments upon request, and portable machines will be the most compatible choice. They leave no unwanted tan lines or streaks, and you can carry them with you without any difficulty.
If you don’t want to spare a weekly expense for the local salons, a spray tan machine is a wise investment. You will soon get used to the function with some practice!
This option is what you will find at a tanning salon. There are nozzles installed inside the booth, from which tanning chemicals will come out. With such thorough coverage, the solution will be applied evenly and effectively.
If you want a flawless application and don’t mind visiting the salons frequently as well as paying the fee, you can enjoy the service and save some time for yourself.
Self-tanning products are quite easy to find at pharmacies and cosmetic shops. They also contain DHA thus they have the ability to bronze your skin. These products are usually not expensive, yet it requires expertise and time to apply.
Benefits of Spray Tanning
Self-tanners might be complicated, but a professional session of spray tanning is quick, simple, and effective. Besides, the benefits it brings are definitely enough to steal hearts.
For sure, a beauty treatment won’t receive support and love if the result doesn’t meet the standard. A professional salon will discuss with the customers previously and come up with the most preferred skin color, hence you won’t be leaving the tanning booth looking orange and red. Whether you are pale or already slightly bronze when you start, the experts can help you find the best shade of tan.
With self-tanners, tough positions are necessary for thorough coverage. But you only need to remove clothes and step into the tanning booth if you have professionals responsible for the session. The spray guns will finish the work before you notice! Since the solution dries quickly, you don’t have to worry about it smearing all over your bedsheets, clothes, and furnishings.
It requires less time and effort compared to tanning outdoor, while the result is significantly better. It’s not a surprise if you are not satisfied with your tan after being on the beach all day long, yet a suitable spray tan machine can give you that perfect golden glow.
Unlike natural tanning and tanning beds, spray tanning doesn’t have any health risks. It doesn’t involve UV rays, which can cause premature aging and skin cancer.
Solutions used in spray tanning might look a little suspicious when rinsed off, but they don’t damage the skin. Moreover, the salons might add ingredients with enhancing properties to the solution. When you leave the salon, not only do you have a sexy tan, but your skill will also thank you.
How to Choose?
How much fluid can it hold?
Different machines will hold different amounts of tanning solutions. It might serve one application each fill or suffice for multiple sessions. Either way, the gun should be able to hold at least 2 ounces of liquid because a body needs approximately 2 ounces of tanning solution. This rule also makes it easier to calculate the cost of a tanning session.
It still depends on personal preferences. For example, you might not have enough energy to refill the cup every time you use the machine, but other people would rather add a new solution for each session so they won’t ever have to worry about applying a stale solution to your skin.
In case you use the machine frequently, a large cup supplying enough for several applications will be much more convenient, especially if you run a business. It allows you to operate successively without interrupting the function to fill the cup.
Siphon Feed vs. Gravity Feed
The difference lies in the position of the cup in the spray tan machine.
– In siphon-feed machines, the cup of tanning solution will be situated at the bottom or on the side of the structure. The fluid will go through an air suction system and reach the nozzle.
– With gravity feed kits, it relies solely on the principle of gravity to lead the fluid to the nozzle. Therefore, the cup is on top of the machine, allowing the solution to descend seamlessly.
Due to the siphon type being more versatile, it became more preferred. You can rotate and adjust the angles of the nozzle for your convenience without obstruction. However, the gravity type offers more control when applying for the solution and grants you the necessary coordination in hand movements for intricate details.
Try an adjustable nozzle
It is important, yes! When you can make small adjustments, you will easily reach all nooks and crannies for full coverage. Let’s have an example: would you want to apply the solution to your face with the same spray pattern you use for your back? The face certainly needs neat strokes that fulfill the task without getting into the eyes. Meanwhile, it will take forever to cover your back with a solution if you stick to the narrow strokes.
What about the pattern? The recommended zone for you is 2 – 6 inches. If the pattern is too small, spraying an individual will consume so much time. Meanwhile, an overly big spray pattern will end up everywhere instead of the body. Overspray is dangerous to your health, and wasting material is a threat to your budget.
How convenient is it?
Every home-use device should be easy to assemble and clean, especially if it can get messy. No matter how careful and skillful you are, the risk will always be there. It might be the overspray during the session or the excess discharge as you tidy up. Your best bet is LVLP systems with movable parts.
Mind the noise as well! The machine shouldn’t be noisy if you are using it for professional purposes. No one wants to visit a noisy spa, as it is supposed to help them relax. Even for home use, having a loud machine might make your family and even neighbors feel uncomfortable.
Pay attention to the volume
Consider the volume of use if you are doing business. The machines can be light, medium, or heavy – light is the best for home tanners and heavy is more compatible with salons. A spray tan machine for professional uses should be fine with at least 10 settings per day.
How heavy should it be?
Mobility depends on your purpose. At a salon, mobility might not be important, for we are not going to move it around frequently. Nevertheless, a tan artist who does home visits or DIY tanners will need a lightweight machine for easy storage and transport.
How much should you spend?
Last but not least, you should preestablish a budget and stick to it when shopping for something. The rule of thumb is to place your trust in popular brands. The products might be more expensive, yet you will get the quality and the warranty with great service in return.
Small machines or the spray guns alone will cost you at least $40. For the professional systems like what you see at salons, the price can go up to $4000.
Buying guides (like this article!) and user reviews might come in handy when you are having a hard time deciding which product to purchase.
Best Spray Tan Machine Reviews
MaxiMist Lite Plus HVLP Spray Tanning System – Best for Home Use
✅ High-tech spray nozzle
✅ Versatile in function and transportation
✅ Easy to clean
❌ Might cause overspray
❌ The tent is a little small
Besides the basic parts of a spray tan machine, the MaxiMist Lite Plus HVLP kit features everything you need to start getting a beautiful tan at home: 3 cups for the solution, 1 pop-up tent to prevent the solution from staining your furniture, and a convenient bag for transportation.
With an HVLP system, a strong 300W turbine, and a nozzle made with German technology, you can control the flow and adjust the pattern vertically or horizontally. Even the hardest spots to reach will receive enough solutions for full coverage.
This machine is also versatile in many ways. With plastic parts instead of metal, the design is smart and convenient, hence you can bring it along wherever you go. It works with all tanning solutions if you would rather stick to your favorite product instead of changing to something new. Regardless of the solution, the non-stick needle in the gun will reduce built-up fluid and clogging, giving you an easy time cleaning it.
Even though it is great for home use, it can still handle 10 sessions per day – a good number for tan experts to do private visits. You can use it as a unit for backup.
Despite the effort put into the design, it doesn’t completely prevent overspray. If you increase the amount of solution and the intensity, it might take some time to dry. Therefore, low and medium settings are more recommended.
MaxiMist Evolution Pro HVLP Spray Tanning System – Best for Professional Use
✅ Affordable price
✅ Easy to use even for newbies
✅ Smooth flow with little overspray
❌ Similar machines of the same category can do more sessions
Also coming from the well-known MaxiMist, we have no hesitation when giving another first rank to this spray tan machine. The high volume and the 570W compressor provide powerful performance, easily accommodating to around 25 sessions per day.
While the capacity is designed for professionals, it is still friendly to beginners due to the full set of equipment: a large tent, a tanning solution, a flexible hose, a spray gun storage base, and various screw top lids.
With the systems from the Pro series of MaxiMist, you can expect smooth spray patterns for details and contour. All you have to do is adjust the knob for the “Airbrush” mode, and all the small touchups won’t be difficult for you. It’s a quality we look for in a professional spray tan system aside from a powerful engineer.
You will find other machines that can handle up to 50 sessions daily, but 25 sessions without problems is still a remarkable number.
The assembly is not entirely simple. However, a high-quality machine is working for you when you have conquered this challenge.
Norvell M1000 HVLP Sunless Spray Tan Airbrush Kit – Second Best for Home
✅ Nice price
✅ Easy control
❌ Need a short break between two sessions
From the appearance, it looks like a normal spray, but the gun is quite robust with a metal tip. However, the rest of it is made of plastic thus we deem it more suitable for home use than salon use. Furthermore, 10 sessions per day have already reached the limit of this Norvell model. If you want it to do more, you need to look into the salon-use category.
Norvell brings another HVLP motor to us with their compact M1000 design. The unit weighs 11.2 lbs only – one of the lightest machines on our list – which makes it very mobile and portable.
Norvell also has a good reputation due to their excellent solutions, and they generous add 3 bottles of it to the package besides the necessary tools for a smooth start. The solution works on any skin tone, ensuring no weird orange shade after!
You should let the machine rest for 15 minutes after each session so it will always be at peak conditions.
It doesn’t come with a pop-up tent either. If you want a tent to avoid stains, you would have to visit another store.
MaxiMist Allure Xena – Second Best for Professional Use
✅ Compact design
✅ Easy to handle
✅ Not noisy
❌ Seem to be not durable
❌ Need warmups
With a compact design and a steady number of 25 sessions per day for capability, you can have it as a main or backup unit for your salon without disrupting the overall aesthetic arrangement. However, if you want to have it at home, you will still be satisfied with the adequately long hose, the noise-reduction turbine, and the average weight.
What makes this machine stand out is the spray gun made of metal and plastic – a sturdy combination. The gun features a dial for perfect control over the solution flow and a Teflon needle to reduce clogs. Moreover, the package also comes with 2 backup guns if you experience nozzle clogs.
Like the Lite Plus product, this line of MaxiMist machines will also offer 3 samples of Aussie Bronze solution. If you run out of the solution and fail to find it at nearby shops, you can use any replacement with minimum adjustment in the flow of the gun.
Due to the light materials, this spray gun doesn’t feel durable even though the moderate weight is a plus point.
According to real experience, the flow isn’t smooth right off the bat. In the first few sessions, you might find the coverage uneven. However, we noticed a steadier flow if the setting is low.
Fuji Mini M Model Spray Tan HLVP System
✅ High-quality and lightweight
✅ Long hose
❌ Fairly expensive
❌ Somewhat noisy
The Mini model from Fuji might be the prettiest spray tan machine you can find on the market right now! With all components made of stainless steel, it is always shiny and aesthetic. You can install it at your home or salon – the long, flexible hose will give you sufficient room to work.
The manufacturer surely prioritized mobility when designing this mini Fuji because it is very easy to assemble even for newbies. If you think you are not good with machines and installation, it would be the best recommendation for you.
The gorgeous spray applicator also features a knob to help you control the fluid and adjust the spray pattern however you like without causing overspray.
Similar to an airbrush design, it is kind of understandable that the mini Fuji takes some time to finish a session. If you have grown used to the performance of it, you will need 15 – 20 minutes for full coverage.
It is quite noisy, especially when you work in a silent environment – this aspect is worth considering if you are worried about how people react to such noises.
Last but not least, the sleek model comes reasonably comes at a costly price.
Spray Tan Machine Components
A spray tan machine has three primary parts: the compressor, the spray gun, and the hose. These components come in varieties, but the function of the machine remains the same.
In the early days of spray tanning, the machine sets consisted of an air pump compressor connecting to a real airbrush. These old guns don’t produce loud noises, but they still became outdated due to the effort required as well as unwanted overspray.
LVLP – Low Volume Low Pressure
These guns operate at a pressure of 1 PSI. The flow and the pattern are adjustable, but the spray is usually fine, dries quickly, and has little waste.
HVLP – High Volume Low Pressure
The pressure for these systems is a little higher despite being labeled as “low pressure”, about 4 – 10 PSI. The airflow will come from the turbine through a flexible hose connected to the gun. The high volume allows an even flow with less overspray.
Furthermore, turbines are remarkably smaller than compressors, making them suitable for spray tan machines.
The Spray Gun
The most common materials for spray guns are metal and plastic. Metal is certainly heavier than plastic, but it is better at controlling the mist. Meanwhile, plastic offers convenience and comfort to people who need to work with their tan machine multiple times a day.
Besides the materials, guns also vary in phases: single and dual. Each type indicates a method to atomize and spray the tanning solution.
You see, the hose has the least complicated structure among the three components, though it doesn’t mean you can neglect this part.
The material plays an important role here. It can be a double-coated material that is extremely durable, a form of rigid plastic, or a flexible fiber. If you don’t need to move the machine frequently, an inflexible hose won’t be a big problem. But experts who accept home visits will prefer portable machines that don’t hinder their movements.
Spray Tanning Tips
Before the session
The most important thing to do when you decide to get a spray tan is to prepare your skin for the process:
1. Waxing and shaving should be done 1 – 2 days in advance, so your skin won’t be too sensitive from those intense treatments.
2. Exfoliating will remove dead skin cells, which is the first step to prime your skin. Remember to use a tender scrub that is oil-free and made from organic components. We love products with moisturizing properties, but they can ruin your tan and leave long-term effects.
3. You should exfoliate at least 4 hours before the session, so the pores have enough time to close. If your pores are too loose, DHA might reach deeper layers of the dermis and lead to discoloration.
4. Before the session starts, don’t forget to take a shower and keep your skin pristine!
5. Don’t apply any moisturizers and products that don’t have anything to do with the tanning process. Perfumes, lotions, and cosmetics, in general, will act as a barrier, preventing the chemicals from affecting the skin.
Last but not least, bring a raincoat or an umbrella with you if the rain is pouring or coming. After getting a spray tan, you would want to avoid excessive moisture as much as possible.
During the session
If you have put your skin in the most preferable condition, your only concern is the right clothes to wear. Here are some rules to give you an idea of the outfit:
1. Choose oversized, comfortable garments and leave your tight pieces behind no matter how much you like them. Since the tanning chemical has brown pigments, dark colors will be better. We don’t want to ruin a white shirt with that suspicious bronze hue!
2. Think about the underwear. Some people like to keep the bra on despite the risk of having uneven patches of skin. If you choose to take your bra off, you might need to wait for a while before putting it back on, or it can cause unpleasant streaks.
3. Always have suitable eye gear during your session, since the spray mist might be harmful to your eyes. The salons usually offer special glasses for tanning booths.
4. Filters for nostrils and balms for lips are important too, as we don’t want a tanning solution to get inside us. Even though it is not a threat to your skin, the threat from it on your health is undeniable.
After the session
Your skin is all pretty and glowing now, but you can still enhance and maintain the look!
1. Wait for 6 – 8 hours to shower, even if the chemicals might feel a little sticky. However, don’t let it linger for more than 24 hours.
2. Besides water, you should stay away from all kinds of moisture too, including lotions, liquid cosmetics, and even sweat from working out.
3. When you finally get to shower, it’s better to choose shower gel. With soap bars, we will have to rub and create friction against the skin.
4. Use oil-free body washes only! Shower pompoms should be restricted as well, to avoid harshness on your skin.
5. No matter how relaxing a hot shower or bath is, it can reduce the longevity of your spray tan. Keep the water cold or lukewarm at most.
6. Pat your skin dry with a cotton towel and try not to rub.
7. After getting a shower, your skin will be rather soft with moisture, and it’s the most suitable time to lock the moisture in with a moisturizer, preferably oil-free. You should make sure to apply it twice a day and reapply whenever your skin feels dry.
8. Swimming, long baths, sauna rooms, and every activity that exposes you to excessive wetness for a long time.
9. Prevent your skin from being stripped by avoiding harsh chemicals such as chlorine or acids and rough impacts from bandages or tapes.
10. Tinted moisturizers can enhance the glow and the tone of your skin, so don’t be afraid to use them. However, keep your eyes on products that have the same color as your tan, or it will look a little awkward!
11. No exfoliating until you want to say goodbye to the beautiful tan and switch to a new style.
Is Spray Tanning Expensive?
Of course, different salons will have different price charts. However, you can expect the cost to be between $25 – $50, which tallies up to $100 – $200 per month. If you become a regular or purchase a monthly membership, the total fee might be somewhat lower. Beauty salons usually offer discounts for special seasons as well.
How long does a spray tan last?
The average life cycle for spray tan is 5 – 7 days, it can extend to 10 days with proper care. However, the duration might vary depending on your age and your body’s reaction to the chemicals.
Is spray tanning dangerous?
As we have mentioned previously, the main function of DHA is interacting with the amino acids in our skin cells. It might cause rashes even though the situation is very rare. In conclusion, it has no known risk for health, but you should still avoid inhaling the mist or getting it in your eyes.
More posts from us:
- Can You Swim with a Spray Tan? 5 Must-Know Tips!
- How to Keep a Tan from Fading? 8 Tips for Long-lasting Tan!
- 6 Ultimate Tips for Washing Hair after Spray Tan
- How to Get Rid of Spray Tan Smell? 5 Super Easy Methods!
- Shower After Tanning? 5 Must-Know Tips!
If you want healthy, sexy bronze skin without exposing yourself to the harmful UV rays from the sun and the tanning beds, now is the perfect time for you to consider getting the best spray tan machine. With the right kit, even sunless winter days won’t be able to stop you from achieving the perfect tan.
Don’t forget to take good care of your skin after getting a tan by following our tips. The road to beauty and style isn’t all smooth and easy! We will return with more interesting topics, see you soon!