I have been meaning to write this post for SO long now! I know there’s a lot of you that have wanted to know what I think are the best sunless tanning products and how I airbrush spray tan at home, so thanks for being patient with me!
A little backstory:
My very first ever spray tan was just before my sisters wedding. I was pregnant and knew I couldn’t go to a tanning bed so I found a coupon and decided getting airbrushed was my best option.
I made an appt, drove 15 minutes from my house, went in to a tiny room with two huge fans and a girl I’d never met told me to undress to my “comfort level” and then she would come in to spray me. I remember feeling so crazy awkward and uncomfortable…and honestly it was a bit time consuming.
But what surprised me the most besides how expensive the tan was (even with my coupon the total ended up being somewhere around $40 for one tan) but how basic the actual spray system seemed to be. I asked a few questions about what product she was using, what kind of generator and what kind of air brush gun she had. And I paid close attention to how she sprayed me…very lightly on my hands and feet and heavier on larger parts like quads, back, stomach…
I went home that night loving my tan…but determined to find a cheaper, quicker, more convenient way to do it myself.
I looked up all that I could find online, did a ton of research on best products and found an at home system I have had now for over 8 years. It’s a bit of an investment up front, but over time it easily pays for itself. My tans now cost me anywhere from $2-$3 depending on how much product I use, and I can use it however often I want…no more appointments. OH and Matt sprays me too. I do most everything, but he’ll help with my back and the back of my legs.
It took a bit to get the hang of it, and I have to admit I ended up with some dark patches and blackened palms a time or two…and I now regret a few purchases as well…..but hopefully I can share my tips and tricks with you to avoid those same mistakes!
GENERATORS AND GUNS
I first started with this system and it worked great for a long, long time. It was inexpensive and I loved being able to travel with it. But the gun that I ordered with it is not amazing (it was actually all sold separately when I got it.) I still use it, and have since I started, but I hope to replace it soon. I definitely wish I would have waited and saved a bit more for the better gun.
The gun I’m saving for is this one and I’ve been told the difference between that one and the one I have is similar to painting a wall in your home with a paint brush verses a roller brush. Sounds like a big difference right?! The process is much quicker and the results are far more smooth and even. I’ve gotten the hang of it now, but I do find it hard to make the tan even.
After a few years my little generator burned out so I decided to upgrade to a bigger generator. I now own this one and it’s far more powerful. I would definitely recommend making the investment to get the more powerful generator instead of starting with that little mini kit. It’s night and day different!!!
I have tried literally dozens and dozens of products. Some smell terrible, some take too long to dry, and some turn out orange…which is by far everyone’s worst nightmare when it comes to sunless tanning.
My favorite company right now is Tampa Bay Tan. The bottles have changed since I got them, but I bought this sampler kit to try them all. Everyone will like something different so I would highly recommend starting with that trial kit to see what you like best.
My favorites are the Rapid Tan and the Tan Envy. The rapid tan is exactly that…FAST! And it is PERFECT for a last minute tan when you need something fast and you don’t have 8 hours to let it dry and develop.
I love that one for when I decide last minute to wear a dress but my legs are white!
I feel like it’s not as long lasting as the ones that develop longer…which is why I bought the gallon of the tan envy. I spray the night before I need to be tan just before bed and then go to sleep. I can shower in the morning and then I don’t feel sticky.
TANNING FOR TRAVELING
I hate when I spray just before a trip and then it washes off long before I’m ready. Whether it be a beach vacation and I’m in the water more or I’m working out more or showering more…whatever the reason may be, I loathe when it comes off too quickly and I can’t touch it up.
But traveling with that huge compressor is NOT fun. It is so heavy!!!! I took it this last summer to Houston for a week long photo shoot with the Labrada team and regretted it every single time I had to lift my bag!
So, I recently tried this kit from Sephora, but found it cheaper here on Amazon.
It’s really easy to load, the motor is no louder than a hair drier and the tan was really even and easy to apply.
You can adjust the direction of the spray too! Which I loved! And the overspray (meaning how much ends up on the walls or floor instead of your body) was very, very minimal!
The formula alright too, and the best part is that it would be extremely easy to travel with. It’s lightweight and can come apart.
I wouldn’t plan to use this little machine on a regular basis, or to do multiple tans in a row if you are hoping to spray your friends too….but for every once in awhile and FOR SURE when you’re traveling, this is the way to go.
My last recommendation for traveling is one that you can put on with just a tanning mitt (promise me you will not apply tanner with your bare hands!!!!!)
This one is my last choice because I truly do love the airbrush look and application far more than anything else…but if you’re just wanting a recommendation for a simple product to throw in your bag for summer tanning then for sure try this foam.
I hope this answers all of your questions!!! If you have any more please don’t hesitate to ask! And if there’s something else you absolutely love please comment below so we can all try it too!