Airbrush Tanning: A New Look from a Tried and True Idea

There are many ways that you might go about changing up your look from changing your hair color to wearing a new style of clothing. Tanning has long been a symbol of health and beauty that can transform a person’s appearance from head to toe. Airbrush tanning is a method of applying self-tanner that is healthy and more predictable than natural sunlight or artificial lights.

The Evolution of Self-Tanners

Self-tanning products began to hit the shelves during the 1960s after experts discovered the connection between exposure to UV light from the sun and skin cancer. Some people might still remember the QT tans that delivered a streaky orange finish on everyone who used them; especially on their hands from having rubbed the lotion in.


During later years, some manufacturers came out with tanning products that were tinted, so you could see where you were applying too much lotion and get spots you had missed. Then came sprays and foams which promised to provide more even coverage. However, without a devoted friend to help you reach areas like your back, you were likely to get less-than-perfect results.

The ingredients used in self-tanners have changed over the years as well. Pills made with Beta-carotene, an ingredient derived from foods like carrots, were made to tan people from the inside-out. Unfortunately, even this product which was made from ingredients found in the healthiest of foods was found to have associated health risks that make it too dangerous to take. When experts found that those who smoked had a higher risk of developing lung cancer, the pills were taken off the market.

Today, dihydroxyacetone, or DHA, is the FDA-approved active ingredient used in most self-tanning formulas. Instead of working as a dye, DHA causes a chemical reaction in the skin that causes it to tan. The more of the ingredient used, the darker the skin will tan.

Tamar Vezirian of Gotham Glow Tanning in New York City explains that her secret for giving each client their own perfect tan is using her unique, custom blended airbrush tanning solution. Applying a solution filled with nutrients and blended to perfectly to complement the person’s own complexion, provides the perfect sunkissed tan.

Application: Another Secret to Success in Airbrush Tanning

There are basically two ways that airbrush tans are applied. One is with a machine that applies the solution to everyone in the same way. This automated booth method requires the person to turn around at the perfect time and gives them more privacy since there is no one else in the room, however, without a person in the room to apply, the automated booth option becomes a one size fits all and often lends itself to easily to a streak prone or spotty result.

The second method is where a technician holds an airbrush gun and applies the tanning solution manually. This allows the tech to give the person more or less color as needed and make sure it is evenly applied all around. For clients who are uncomfortable about airbrush tanning in this way, a swimsuit or disposable lingerie can be worn. Most feel it is the best way to get the best possible tan.

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