Professional Tanning Solutions are Not Created Equally
You might be under the idea that all spray tan solutions are the same, but in reality, the only ingredient that they all share is DHA. DHA (dihydroxyacetone) is responsible for turning your skin "tan". While DHA is a common and necessary ingredient, solutions differentiate themselves by the other additives they contain.
Four common types of airbrush tanning products currently used in the beauty industry are alcohol, oil, water, and aloe vera based solutions.
Alcohol Based Solutions
An alcohol based solution might be preferred at times because it dries almost instantly and leaves almost no tacky, sticky feeling on the skin after application. However, alcohol can be very drying for most skin types. Dry skin can cause a person's spray tan to set unevenly, fade splotchy, and last for a shorter amount of time.
Oil Based Solutions
On the other hand, oil based solutions may appear to keep skin moisturized. However, oil can similarly cause a person's spray tan to set and fade unevenly because of the film it leaves on the skin. Oil takes much longer to dry after application and will usually stain your clothing, too.
Water Based Solutions
A water based solution is definitely a better choice to use on a consistent basis. It is not as drying alcohol, nor will it stain clothing like oil.
Aloe Vera Based Solutions
Another common type of solution and the solution used at Kissed, is aloe vera based. Aloe vera is a natural moisturizer for the skin and dissolvable in water, meaning it will not stain clothes. Although aloe vera is made up of trace amounts of oil, the percentage is usually too small to cause staining or uneven development and fading of a spray tan. In fact, aloe vera can allows a spray tan to last longer and fade more evenly because of its moisturizing properties.
All of these solutions have a place and purpose. Would some clients prefer an alcohol based solution over one that is water based? Yes, sometimes. Is it necessary to carry all four types? Absolutely not. As a technician and a client, you have to decide what is best for your business and your skin.
Buyer beware: Although most solutions in today's market are labeled as organic or natural, it may still contain parabens and other unliked preservatives. Whether that is an issue is your opinion. It's always beneficial to make sure you ask for the ingredient list, no mater what type of ingredient based product it is!