Part 1: Myths About Spray Tanning Debunked!

For years, “fake tan” has been the second worse F-word out there (OK - technically “F-phrase” but whatever).

But I’m here to tell you that fake tanning doesn’t have to be a dirty word. In fact, sunless UV-free tanning is the only safe way to achieve the appearance of a tan. Unfortunately, there are still products and services out there that will deliver a crappy, streaky, orange, smelly tan from harsh chemicals.

However, it’s a myth to think that is always your end result. With the right shop or tanning consultant (like Vacay Beauty, duh!), you can trade in the oompa-loompa vibes for a healthy looking tan with all-natural ingredients that even benefit your skin.

Let’s get into two of the biggest myths about spray tanning.

One of our clients, Mimi, showing off her amazing color in this before and after during a Bronze + Bubbles party in Philadelphia, PA.

One of our clients, Mimi, showing off her amazing color in this before and after during a Bronze + Bubbles party in Philadelphia, PA.

Myth #1: You can get an “organic” spray tan.

Oof - sorry, no. We really struggled with this reality since we are so passionate about providing a true skin treatment for our clients, beyond the average spray tan. But the truth is, while many spray tan products or providers label their stuff as “organic” or “organically certified”, there’s no such thing.

The issue comes from a lack of clarity as to which ingredients can actually be called organic. For example, in the US, products that do NOT carry the USDA Organic Seal only need to contain 70% organic ingredients in order to say they’re “organic.” That means the other 30% of the ingredients could be who-knows-what! Yikes.

When it comes to sunless tanning, the active ingredient is dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which is generally manufactured from natural sources, including sugar beets and rapeseed. Since most spray tan producers naturally derive their DHA, some consider it to be organic, yet others do not. Like many beauty and household products, there is a lot of opportunity to mislead consumers...and honestly, we’re just not down for that!

At Vacay Beauty, we make zero claims about providing organic tans. However, we are committed to ensuring the solutions we use are comprised of naturally derived sources. That’s why our tagline is, “Fake sunless tans. Real natural ingredients.”

Instead of misleading clients about “organic” spray tans, we’ve done the work to make sure our products are free from unnatural ingredients such as:

  • Parabens

  • Perfumes

  • Silicones

  • Sulfates

  • Mineral oils

If someone or something claims it is giving you an “organic” tan, you officially have permission to call bullsh**!

Myth #2: Spray tans are a one-size-fits-all

This may be our favorite myth to debunk, especially for spray tan newbies out there. While it’s true that there are some solutions and spray tan techs that claim their single product can be used on any skin tone or type, we’re here to tell you, spray tans are NOT a one-size-fits-all, especially with Vacay Beauty.

The key in getting a perfectly customized glow lies in the “magic three”:

  • Your skin type

  • Your undertone

  • Your tan preferences


If your tanning consultant is not taking each one of these areas into consideration, they’re doing it wrong. Here’s why it matters.

Your skin type is going to indicate how fair or deep skinned you are, which helps to indicate the level of DHA appropriate for you (the main ingredient in sunless tanning products that gets you that tan color). Levels of DHA come in percentages from 6% - 14%. We’ve even seen 16% on the market. The lower the percentage, the lighter your tan. However, it would be unreasonable to take someone of a very fair skin type and apply a 14% DHA level product on them - what would very likely happen is they would turn orange because their skin can’t handle the oversaturation of DHA. #sciencebaby

Your skin undertone is going to indicate which bronzer will look best on you. No, not the makeup you put on your cheeks to contour. Spray tan solutions typically contain a cosmetic bronzer to both act as a guide for the tanning technician to ensure they’re evenly covering the client as well as to give the client that “instant gratification” of seeing themselves bronzed in under 15 minutes. This bronzer washes off in the shower during your first rinse, but it also lightly stains the skin for 2-3 days to give your tan that extra boost. If you are warm or olive-toned, and the sunless solution used on you has a golden bronzer, you will look orange. If you are fair or cool-toned and the solution used on you has a violet bronzer, you will look grey. No bueno!

Lastly, your tan preferences indicate what you’re looking for in your final tan. Not everyone wants to be Jerseylicious dark, and not everyone wants a light sun-kissed glow. A trained and thoughtful tan technician will take into account your skin type and tone to give you the tan you want to the appropriate depths, without turning you crazy colors of the rainbow.

We are so obsessed with the art and science of sunless tanning at Vacay Beauty that we created an exclusive matrix to determine the exact solution or custom-mixed solution for every skin type, tone, and tan preference. We carry more than 15 different solutions that can be mixed for every client’s needs. When booking your appointment, you’re asked about each one of these areas so we can come to your appointment with the right products to ensure your perfect glow.


*drops mic*


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What myths have you heard about spray tanning? We’d love to debunk them on our blog! Leave your thoughts in the comment section below!