Have you ever wanted to tan like a celebrity? If so, then airbrush tanning might be right for you.

Why Airbrush Tanning?

Let’s face it, everybody looks better with a nice tan. However, the UV rays required for a natural tan can also cause skin cancer. I steer clear from tanning the natural way because I personally don’t like the idea of going to the dermatologist for the rest of my life due to melanoma! Airbrush tanning can be a great alternative to getting tan via UV rays.¬†WebMD says there’s a risk for melanoma under any UV rays, indoor or outdoor. In my opinion, an airbrush tan looks even better than a natural tan because you have more control over the specific contours of your body that you wish to highlight. Many celebrities agree that a good airbrush tan beats a natural tan any day!

What Is Airbrush Tanning?

Many people think airbrush tanning is synonymous with spray tanning, but it’s actually not quite the same. With airbrush tanning, you or another person uses an airbrush or spray gun, whereas spray tanning is done in a booth. If you’re more interested in getting tan in a booth, then check out our Spray Tanning Tips and Tricks¬†instead. An airbrush gives you more control and fine-tuning than a spray gun, which means it’s one of the best ways to give yourself a sunless tan.

Many people shy away from airbrush tanning because it requires more skill or another person. While this is true, almost anyone can get the hang of using an airbrush on themselves or someone else within just a few tries. In addition to the better results you’ll get with an airbrush tan, you’ll save loads of money in the long run if you do it yourself or have a friend spray you.

DHA is typically the primary ingredient for bronzing your skin. DHA is safe to use on your skin (you can read more about it on breastcancer.org). It’s recommended to get a spray tan once per week, because the bronzing effect wears off quickly. Unless you’re a multi-millionaire or celebrity, it can quickly break the bank to get a professional airbrush tan in a salon every week. That’s why we recommend buying a tanning solution for self-application. This is much more economical, and the products on the market nowadays are designed to make it simple to apply it yourself.

How to Apply it

Once you’ve bought your tanning solution, you can now proceed to apply it to yourself. These steps apply whether you’re having a friend do it or you’re doing it yourself.


  1. Exfoliate in the shower as much as possible. This will ensure that your tan lasts as long as possible. I recommend using a loofah with an all natural exfoliating scrub in the shower. Also make sure to shave pretty much everywhere.
  2. If you have to travel somewhere first before tanning, make sure to wear loose/baggy clothing such as sweat pants or a loose dress. This ensures that your clothing will not rub off all of the tan immediately after application.
  3. Apply barrier cream to your hands and feet, especially over your fingernails and toenails. This will keep these locations from getting stained by the tanning solution.
  4. Place tanning feet pads underneath your feet to avoid tanning the bottom of your feet.
  5. Place a hair cap over your head.
  6. Go to a location where you’re not going to make a mess. You can buy an inexpensive tent specifically designed for this purpose, or you could even go outside if you’re able to find a private area.
  7. Remove all of your clothing for best results, or you could also stay in a bathing suit if you’re more comfortable with that.


  1. Start with your legs, one at a time, and spray in a back and forth motion. Make sure to spray the back of your legs enough to be even with the front of your legs. Keep in mind that in every step you can go over the same spots multiple times, but it’s best to start with a light coat before deciding if you want to go darker.
  2. Next, move upward over your hips, stomach, and lower back. Again, sweep in a back and forth motion and ensure you’re blending with your legs.
  3. Move upward toward your shoulders, chest, and upper back. This is usually the most difficult step if you’re applying the tan to yourself, but you should get the hang of it very quickly. Re-position the sprayer in your hand to reach your back in the most comfortable way.
  4. Now spray your arms, slightly favoring your outer arms. Only spray your armpits just a little bit in order to get the most natural looking tan.
  5. Close your eyes and quickly spray your face for just a few seconds, and make sure not to overdo it. You can always put on more later if you don’t get enough tan on your face.
  6. Lightly gloss over your whole body once more to ensure you didn’t miss any areas.

After Application

  1. Let the spray tan sink in for a few minutes before putting on clothes or moving around too much.
  2. Avoid taking a shower for the first 8 hours after application. Ideally, you should avoid it for a full day.
  3. Be careful when you’re putting your clothes back on. You should try not to let your clothes rub too much against your skin.
  4. Enjoy your airbrush tan and get ready for a lot of heads to turn!

If you’d like to buy your own tanning system, we recommend the Maxi Mist system below. Check it out!

Maxi Mist Sunless Airbrush Tanning

Please leave comments below if you have any questions or tips related to airbrush tanning.