An Expert Explains the Differences Between a Spray Tan and a Self Tan (Besides the Application Process)

March 11, 2021

Whether by bed (tsk tsk), airbrush, Versa Spa or straight from a tube, we’ve all tanned artificially at some point. And who can blame us? Using a few shades to elevate our appearance non-invasively in 60 seconds is quite the foolproof plan. But not all fake tans are equal! The differences between a spray tan and self tan are vast—and beds, well those may as well no longer exist. They won’t be covered here, at least.

With that, I reached out to Vita Liberata’s Brand Educator, Silver Goodwin, to elaborate on the differences between a spray tan and self tan (aside from the application process). I find myself dashing to the spray tanning salon for a guaranteed glow, while keeping a hefty supply of self-tanning products on hand for when I’m too lazy to leave the house or need a color pick-me-up in a pinch. Keep reading for everything Silver says about the two sunless tanning methods.

skyelyfe: How do self tan and spray tan formulas differ?

Silver Goodwin: The professional formulas differ from the retail formulas usually due to DHA levels being higher in the back-bar (spray tan). Both formulas contain the vita classic proprietary blends, dry down and moisture locking methods. The professional service itself also provides a more uniform spray pattern with a micro droplet, making sure the tan is more uniform.

SL: How does the coloring differ? 

SG: Both contain the option of a tinted range, which is the guide color, allowing you to see the initial bronze veil, and also we offer ranges in both the retail and professional.

SL: How does the longevity differ?

SG: The longevity and tanning payoff differs based on several factors such as skin hydration, pH, diet, stress level and menstrual cycles. The Vita professional spray tan collection was formulated with a higher level of skin conditioners that nourish the skin, in conjunction with penetration enhancers that helps DHA penetrate into the skin, and results are longer lasting with better payoff.    

SL: When would you recommend getting a spray tan, versus a self-tan—and vice versa?

SG: Getting a spray tan is suitable for people who are new to tanning and people who want flawless results for their special occasion. Self-tan is for people who are economical, private and want something they can apply on their own. The Sunless tanner clients need to have some skill and know how to apply the product for even tan and no streak. Ultimately, the privacy factor plays a huge role here.

SL: Do you recommend combining spray tans and self-tans? Why or why not?

SG: Choosing between professional tans and DIY self-tanners is an individual choice, depending on the budget, need and their desired outcome. Clients can chose one or the other or combine; however, the outcome will be different. Many people also incorporate the retail products into their professional services such as following up with our Moisture Boost or Body Blur to maximize their glow.

SL: Is there anything else you’d like to add on this matter?

SG: All Vita Liberata products are developed with the focus on skin health.  Not only do we provide different desirable shades for tanning, our products also nourish and condition the skin to minimize dryness and damage.   

Need some instant color on the go? Read all about tanning towelettes HERE!

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