Going to your first self-tanning shower session can be intimidating at times, but having a feel for how the experience will turn out will help you realize that you don't have to stress. After undressing and removing all of your accessories, you will enter a booth slightly larger than a phone booth and wait for a voice to instruct you on how to position yourself. The instructions could vary from one tanning salon to another, but the general guidelines are generally the same: spread your arms and legs, open your hands wide, and stand as straight as possible. This will allow the solution to reach every corner of your body.
Part 1 of 3: entering the cabin
Step 1. Do not apply makeup or moisturizer
On the day of your appointment at the tanning salon, skip cosmetics. Do not put on makeup, or apply milk or moisturizer, unless a salon employee tells you otherwise. Products applied to your skin will form a barrier and prevent the tanning solution from working on your skin.
If you plan to go to the tanning salon directly after another engagement, pack makeup remover wipes
Step 2. Do not apply deodorant or antiperspirant before the session
Deodorants and antiperspirants often contain traces of aluminum, which could react with the chemicals in the tanning solution. Your armpits could then take on a greenish tint. It wouldn't be the best effect!
Step 3. Remove all your clothes and accessories
When you arrive at the lounge, you will be directed to a cabin where you can undress. Remove your watch, jewelry or any other accessory, in addition to your clothes. These could be damaged by the product or leave unwanted tan lines.
- In most tanning salons, you can choose to wear a bathing suit or enter the booth naked. If you decide to wear a swimsuit, choose an old one that you no longer wear or a dark colored one, in case the solution leaves stains.
- If you have long hair, pull it back and tuck it under a plastic cap provided to you by the salon.
Step 4. Stand in the center of the booth
Enter the cabin and stand in the middle. At this point, you will be just the right distance from the jets that will diffuse the solution. When there is only one row of jets, the tanning shower will be the most concentrated in the center of the cabin.
Look at the ground and see if there are any markings telling you where to place your feet
Step 5. Turn to the correct side
A small sign in the cabin will tell you which way to turn. You will usually have to face the jets, but he might also ask you to face the wall opposite the spray, treating your back first.
In smaller cabins, you will be asked to face each wall during the shower, so that the product is applied all over your body
Step 6. Listen to the directions
Once you are seated in the booth, a recording will be played over the loudspeakers. You will be instructed where to look, how to position yourself, and when to turn or change position. Listen carefully: this voice will be your guide throughout your first self-tanning shower experience.
- Try to follow the instructions to the letter. If you don't follow them, you could end up with an uneven tan.
- If the solution is applied by an employee and not by an automated booth, you will just have to let it go. The professional will tell you what to do and make sure you are comfortable.
Part 2 of 3: take a stand
Step 1. Stand up straight
Don't arch, don't bend, don't bend, don't slouch. Even the slightest fold of skin due to poor posture will prevent the solution from being applied correctly and leave a lighter mark on your body.
Don't be surprised if you're asked to pop your butt when the booth sprays your back. This will only prevent tan lines on the upper thighs
Step 2. Spread your feet in line with your shoulders
Spread your legs slightly more than your hip spacing, knees and toes pointing forward. The shower will coat an entire side of your body in one pass.
If the cabin is smaller, you might be asked to shift one leg forward as you turn sideways, so that the solution can reach the inside of your thighs
Step 3. Spread your arms
Raise your arms out to the sides of your body, elbows slightly bent and palms facing the wall behind you. In some booths, you might be asked to keep your arms on either side of your head, like a cactus or a goalie.
Always follow the instructions given by the booth you are using. The machines do not all distribute the solution in the same way and the optimal position will therefore not be the same from one cabin to another
Step 4. Spread your fingers well
Open your hands as if you were counting to 5. This will help you achieve an even shade across all of your fingers. When the shower is spraying the back of your hands, you may be asked to stretch your fingers as far as possible, in order to best cover the knuckles.
Specialists recommend applying a thin layer of moisturizer to areas that tend to absorb the most solution, such as the knuckles and the spaces between the fingers, to prevent them from becoming too dark
Step 5. Close your eyes and mouth
This is especially important, as the chemicals in the solution could irritate your eyes and respiratory tract. Just before the shower starts, you will be reminded one last time to close your eyes and mouth. Keep the rest of your face as relaxed and neutral as possible.
- In some tanning salons, eye and mouth protection will be given to you, for a safer and more pleasant experience.
- Be careful not to squint your eyes when closing them, and not to pinch your lips too hard. You could otherwise cause wrinkles to appear on your tan.
Step 6. Quickly strike a pose
When the voice tells you to turn, change your position, or raise your arms, do so quickly. In most booths, you will only have 10 to 20 seconds before the solution starts dispensing again. By being attentive and by remaining ready to react, this period of time will be well enough for you.
- Be ready to move as soon as the shower stops, so you don't have to rush to the next position.
- In most tanning booths, you will only need to change position once. However, in the smaller cabins you will need to take 2 basic positions, 2 times each, on each side.
Part 3 of 3: finish the tan
Step 1. Stay still as a stream of air dries your body
After the tanning solution has been applied to your entire body, the booth will emit a stream of warm air. Keep your arms and legs apart, so that the air reaches every part of your body. Drying will only take a few seconds.
Do not try to get out of the cab until the door opens and you are told to exit
Step 2. Dab spills and streaks with a towel
If you notice small marks after your skin is tanned, gently dab those areas with a clean towel. This might be enough to blur the marks. Be careful not to rub or wipe your skin, however, or you will wash off the product and leave marks on your tan.
- Since your body has been dried in the cabin, it will not be necessary to use a towel all over your body.
- A self-tanning shower generally achieves a smoother finish than other forms of self-tanner. However, the result is not always perfect. If you're looking for a completely natural tan, you might want to spend a little extra on a custom tan airbrush.
Step 3. Wash your hands and feet immediately
It is not uncommon for the self-tanning solution to darken the cuticles, the lines of the palms of the hands, the knuckles and the tops of the toes. If these areas are too dark, it will be obvious that your caramel tan is artificial and you are not coming home from vacation!
- If you're worried about rinsing out the solution too much, take some baby wipes and use them to carefully touch up the ends of your limbs.
- Applying clear polish to your nails will prevent them from getting stained.
Step 4. Wait 10 to 15 minutes before getting dressed
While you can usually put on your clothes as soon as you are dry (dry), most professionals will recommend that you wait a few more minutes. Thus, you will eliminate any risk of transferring color to your favorite outfit! You can stay in the changing cubicle for as long as necessary to dry completely.
Pack a dark, loose fitting outfit to wear on the way home
Step 5. Avoid getting your body wet for at least 8 hours
Do not shower or bathe, or go to the pool for the rest of the day, so that the solution can stick to your skin. The combination of humidity and chemicals such as chlorine could partially dissolve the product and cause spots or streaks to appear on your skin.
- Do not exfoliate your body for about a week, to avoid losing your nice tan. Shaving less often will also allow you to make your pretty color last.
- Regularly moisturize your skin to keep it supple and hydrated and your tan to last longer.
- If this is your first time trying the self-tanning shower, start with a fairly light shade and intensify the color the following times. This will give you a better idea of the result on your skin.
- Make your appointment at the tanning salon 2 or 3 days before a big event, such as a wedding or a first date, in order to enjoy the best result on the big day.
- Self-tanning solutions do not provide UV protection. You will need to apply sunscreen over and over again if you are going to be out in the sun.