Choosing the perfect shade of tan is probably just as difficult as choosing the right shade of foundation. Any shade of brown is considered a tan. It all just depends on what shade of brown is ‘normal’ for you. The variations are endless since a spray tan can be layered on through several days to either build up to a darker tan or left a lighter shade.
The trick is to create a tan that looks natural for your skin type and tone. The fair skinned beauty or the girl next door with the cool undertones will look best with only light shades of tan, perhaps one or one and a half shades darker than their normal skin colour. This will add a natural looking healthy glow to the skin rather than look contrived. Fair skin, generally Skin Types I and II on the Fitzpatrick Skin Type Scale, with warm undertones can look good with one or two shades of darker tan than those with the cool skin undertone. Think Taylor Swift!
Sculpt specific body parts and the face to add definition to your spray tan if you like. The medium or medium-fair skin can take a slightly darker tan, to look like a bronzed goddess. Layering on the spray tan over two weeks and extending the life of your spray tan with over-the-counter products will allow the tan to build up to a shade that suits you best. You can see where you’re headed with the shade of tan and stop when you like what you see in the mirror, rather than to emerge from the spray tan room looking like an Oompa Loompa. People with Skin Types II and III will generally fall into this category. Think Jennifer Aniston!
The olive and Asian skin looks great with a darker tan to enhance that sun-kissed look. These are your Skin Types III and IV, and the side benefit is that the risk of turning orange after a spray tan is minimal. Most shades of tan will look good on this skin.Think Kim Kardashian!
It is not unusual for the darker skinned Types V and VI to have a spray tan to smooth out uneven skin tones. A spray tan smooths the skin over giving it a nice and healthy look. Think Oprah Winfrey!
To get the most out of your spray tan, exfoliate the driest parts of the body like the knees and elbows so that these do not end up looking darker than the rest of the body. This is because dry skin tends to absorb more colour. The skin should be free of soap, moisturisers, perfumes and what-nots because these products can react to the active ingredient in spray tans and turn the skin orange. Shudder!
In the meantime, exposure to sunlight after your spray tan can turn your tan darker as the tanning liquid does not act as a sunscreen. The UV light from the sun will cause the melanin in the skin to darken, creating a ‘burnt’ look. In the long run, tanning by being a sun-bunny is not recommended.