June 4, 2009 -- The spray tan is a great way to get a healthy-looking summer tan without unhealthy skin damage. Kristin Perrotta from Allure magazine offered advice on which products to use and how to make sure you avoid the blotchy stripes and get an even glow.
Before You Tan
Before you spray tan at the salon or at home, make sure you use a good body scrub to get rid of dead skin. If you don't exfoliate, you will end up looking speckled. Perrotta recommended Kiehl's Soy Milk and Honey Body Scrub ($27.50) and Neutrogena Sugar Scrub ($10).
If you're making a body scrub at home, use 1 cup of almond or olive oil and 6 tablespoons of kosher salt or raw sugar.
You should put moisturizer on your nails, toenails, feet and eyebrows. Otherwise they will turn orange or dark brown. Perrotta recommended Vaseline aloe fresh protecting lotion ($9.99).
When to Tan
Perrotta recommended making your appointment for the late afternoon or evening. Wear dark, lloose-fitting clothing because the tanner will come off on your clothes. Then wear dark pajamas to bed along with socks. You might want to bring out some old sheets and towels to sleep on to avoid staining everything.
Using a Store-Bought Product
Tinted versions are better than clear because you can see how much you're using. Use a light touch on knees or elbows and other dry areas or put a bit of moisturizer on before starting. Close the curtain to the tub or shower to avoid a mess.
Taking Off the Tan
To smooth or remove, use a sponge brush ($1). A tanner remover from Model and Co. ($18) can get rid of dark spots and any mistakes.
Airbrush vs. Spray On
The decision on whether to go with an airbrush tan rather than spray on depends on what you're trying to achieve. Airbrushing costs between $80 and $100, and some people like it better. Find the right color blend and make sure it comes out even.
The luminess tan is a brand new at-home airbrush system, which is supposed to give you that streak-free look without having to go to the salon. It costs about $130.
The refill tanning solution is $15 a bottle. Consumers can get up to five tans in each bottle, so it costs $2 a tan.
A spray-tan machine that you step into at a salon costs about $30 to $40, and it's faster. It may require that you do some smoothing on your own.