Why is My Spray Tan So Sticky?

If you’ve had at least one spray tan in your life, I’m betting there’s a good chance you walked out feeling sticky, icky, and maybe even a bit drippy.

Unfortunately, spray tans still have the bad rap of leaving your body feeling like you’re one big fly trap. Um, not cute. The bad news is, there are still many spray tan companies professionals out there who are leaving their clients feeling this way, with the number one culprit being those terrifying spray tan booths.

The good news is, there have been some pretty phenomenal improvements made to spray tan solutions in the last few years that help reduce the stick and boost the overall experience. Not only are bronzers and color formulations always getting better and better, but so are the key ingredients that determine how your spray tan feels and how long it lasts.

But first, let me address what I know you’re thinking: What makes spray tans so sticky and gross?

The answer is in the base of the solution. Spray tan solutions are either oil-based, aloe-based, alcohol-based, or water-based. Which one should you avoid and which one should you be on the lookout for if you want a sticky-free, flawless tan that lasts? Read on to find out!

Oil-Based Solutions

These are the heaviest, stickiest, and tackiest solutions. If you’ve ever left a spray tan feeling like you are “dripping,” you probably had an oil-based solution sprayed on you. These solutions are, in a phrase, a hot mess. They take the longest period of time to dry, plus they can clog pores and cause breakouts! Because they take so long to set, there’s also a greater risk that you’ll “rub” your spray tan off or stain your clothes or sheets while it develops.

Aloe-Based Solutions

While aloe vera is a solid ingredient for moisturization, it’s not the best spray tan solution option. Similar to oil-based solutions, aloe-based ones take a long time to dry, are more likely to budge and smudge, and can clog your pores. So yes, you get the added benefits of moisturization, but you sacrifice being able to move around without the fear of wiping off your tan. Ugh!

Alcohol-Based Solutions

You have to be careful with this one! Some companies will say their solutions “dry instantly” and that you can dress within seconds of finishing your spray tan. However, one of their top three ingredients is likely alcohol, which is incredibly drying for your skin. That means your tan will likely fade more quickly and unevenly, giving you “crocodile-skin.”  Thank you, NEXT!

Water-Based Solutions

Water-based solutions have water as their primary ingredient (duh, right?) and typically don’t have any aloe or alcohol in them. Depending on the solution brand, there may be different types of oils in the solution, however the amount is usually minimal. These solutions are stickiness-free, quick drying and won’t clog your pores. Another perk? They won’t stain your clothes, since like most water soluble substances, they’re easy to wash out and off.

The clear winner is water-based solutions. No stickiness, ickiness, or worries of your clothes, couches, or upholstery turning brown!

And since you made it all the way to the end (yahoo!), you should know that Vacay Beauty only uses solutions that are water-based. When you come in for an appointment, or when we come to you, you can expect to dry within minutes of your spray tan without the risk of “crocodile skin” or smudging your spray tan away while it’s developing. Win, win, babe!


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