Spray tanning: a solution to winter blues that won’t turn you orange anymore

It is around that time of year when one looks in the mirror and looks like an extra on Twilight or just plain translucent. While he or she dreams of summer and laying out, spray tanning could be the answer. Spray tanning can give that sun-kissed, natural glow in the middle of the winter blues without the worry of skin cancer.

Spray tanning has come a long way from when it originally started.

“(Spray tanning) is quick, fast, effective … The orangey-ness has been taken out of it. People have the connotation that spray tanning is going to turn them orange, but that really is not the case anymore and people are starting to understand that,” said Kristin Klinker, owner of The Beach, a Champaign spa & tanning salon.

You can buy spray-tanning solutions in a bottle at a drugstore or you can get it done professionally.

“I’d rather have it done professionally because I like the color better, and it is more convenient and less work,” said Megan Keller, junior in Education. “I also think it stays longer. However, for economic reasons, it is cheaper to spray yourself.”

With at-home and salon spray tans, you can choose the color you want. They work for everyone from people with pale skin to those with olive skin tones.

Also, salon sprays are scented to make the process more enjoyable, while the at-home sprays can have a very strong smell to them.

“While (the store-bought spray) was being sprayed it was horrible. It smelled like a chemical. It was like poison. Once it was on it didn’t smell like that,” said Maggie Sharp, junior in LAS.

The ingredients used in spray tan are not chemicals, however. The formula is in fact very natural.

“There are no toxins or chemicals. DHA, which is Dihydroxyacetone, is the main ingredient in sunless products in general … That ingredient is derived from sugar. Because it’s so natural, it can feel a little tacky,” Klinker said.

The alternative to the tacky feeling is a solution with alcohol. This type will make your skin feel very dry and it is not as healthy for your skin.

Spray tans can last anywhere from five to seven days, but there are very simple ways to make the tan last the maximum amount of time.

According to Klinker, it is important to shower, shave, and exfoliate before getting sprayed. You should also not wear any type of lotion, deodorant or perfume because the spray develops and sticks best on clean skin. After you get sprayed and it sets, make sure to continue applying lotion.

There are some stories of people using spray tan to contour their bodies. In a lot of these cases, people want to spray on abs.

“We only want to work with what is there; we don’t want to create something that is not,” Klinker said. “I’ve heard horror stories of other spray technicians doing this to people and they spray on these abs and then they look like the ninja turtles. We only enhance and highlight what’s there.”

For users like Sharp, a spray tan is a great way to start feeling like summer may be in reach again.

“It wasn’t super intense and it wasn’t streaky,” she said. “I would definitely do it again.”