Tan Expectations

I want to be really dark…

Owning a spray tan business brings in one guaranteed thing, people who want to be tan. However, what do you tell that extremely fair skinned client who wants to be dark. By dark…”I know I’m a red head from Wisonsin, but I want to look like I'm from Brazil” (actual new client statement).

When I first started spray tanning years ago, I tried to make everyone happy and if they wanted dark, unnaturally dark, whether their skin could handle it or not, I gave it to them. This only resulted in one thing, unnatural tans and horrible, blotchy fading.  I finally realized the simple fact that if they look bad out there in public, Shades Spray Tans looks bad out there in public. I began sitting with clients for an amount of time that takes even longer than the actual application process.  In this conversation I explain to them that their natural skin tone will effect how the solution sets on them and their ultimate end result.  Oversaturating one’s skin with solution or applying a solution that is too strong for one’s skin tone will result in one of three things...or all three; a very brassy look, uneven fading and an unnatural tan, not to mention an instant identity crisis.  This is where the “art” of a spray tan artist comes into play. 

The best spray tan out there is the one that people don't know you received a spray tan.  If you are very pale at eight o’clock at night and you go back to school or work at eight o’clcok the next morning looking like you just got back from the Caribbean, in the dead of winter and in a matter of twelve hours...that is not natural.  Things like:

*Hair color

*Eye color

*Cool/Warm skin tones


*Time of the year

...All need to be taken into consideration when figuring a natural color for one client's unique skin tone.  There is a way you can give a client a tan and have it look so natural people are looking at them with envy and wondering what they did different about themselves that is making them look so good...thus the art.  


My Love & Purpose

My Love & Purpose 


Since I started it has been kind of a self taughtwinging it so to speak, experience.  From start-up to marketing to finances.  It was not until a recent proposal to buy a local business in Santa Barbara that led me to this blog today and the reason behind it.  When introduced with this proposal, I thought it would be a good time to reach out to my financial advisor.  In doing so, this led me to a business consultant.  Thus, the beginning of my Mission Statement, Value Statement and Core Values for Shades Spray Tans.  

To get a clear understanding of this blog, you need to know the business offer that I was approached with that led me to really express and dissect my love for what I do.  A few months ago, I was offered an opportunity to buy a tanning (bed) salon here in Santa Barbara that has been in business for years.  When this came up, I instantly started seeing all the possibilities of combining the world of spray tanning and tanning beds and finding an opportunity for a second location in an area I have really been eyeing for some time.  A few days later was my first meeting with my business consultant.  This was a very casual first meeting, basically consisting of who I am, what I do exactly, goals, family life, etc.  Basic introduction stuff.  Before leaving he told me that he was going to send me a few questionnaires just to really get a better idea of who I am and why I am who I am.  Seemed kind of deep to me, but I figured he needed to know who I really am and my beliefs to get this process started.  I went home and instantly started answering these questions that I have never even thought about when it came to myself or my business.  It was truly an eye opener in both the lives of Janelle and Shades.  I did, however find peace in the fact that all of these questions (and there were a lot) were so easy for me to answer.  I never once had to think about a question or second guess my answer.  I have a clear vision of who I am, what I want in my life and what my priorities are.  Even though my intention for getting a business consultant was to clearly mark out my path to buy this other business, it was after this very first meeting and these questions that made me realize my priority in my work life was the life and purpose of Shades Spray Tans.   

Then the moment of truth knocked.  While at home working on these questionnaires, it made me think how could I, a licensed Esthetician who started Shades for the purpose of healthier tanning, even justify how I would combine these two brands?  Now, don’t think that in my late teens and into my early twenties, I didn’t live the life of a tanning bed queen.  Not only did I partake in these warm, cozy contraptions that produced tanned skin, but I worked in quite a few around Santa Barbara.  Win! Win!...at least at the time it was great.  Until I got my Esthetician license in 2004 and really started to study the skin and all the dangers of sun tanning and tanning beds, did it make me realize the damage I had already done to my skin and the risk of skin cancer I had been exposing myself to all those years.   

Long story short…I turned down the business purchase.   

Creating Shades as a healthier alternative to tanned skin, the mindset of an Esthetician, an artist at heart and the beauty and health of my clients and their skin made this the easiest and best decision for myself, and the best decision for Shades Spray Tans.  This decision led my business consultant to say, “Great, I totally agree with your decision.”  Then to ask, “Where do you want to go from here?”  Well, needless to say a spark that was already in me was intensified with these questionnaires and made me really want to catapult the business of spray tanning within Shades Spray Tans.   

When he asked me the reason behind starting Shades, I told him it was to offer a healthier alternative to tanning, simple as that.  When he asked why this business in particular, I said it was the beauty behind it, the art and the simple fact that I am a perfectionist.  Combining all these factors together has made Shades the growing business that it is today.  There’s that saying, "When you love what you do, you don’t work a day in your life.” I have been extremely busy…sweaty busy, I have tanned in the most cramped and tiniest of spots, I have tanned body after body which has resulted in my body aching the next day, and I still I wake up with a smile on my face, an unexplainable energy and in my studio creating a cozy and friendly environment for my next clients of that new day.  And, oh my fantastic clients.  When I say I create a cozy and friendly environment for them, I try my best.  Not only am I looking out for their skin health, not only am I applying it with complete attention to detail, but I am creating friendships in my studio.  I talk to them, I ask them questions, they know about my family, they know about what my kid’s going through at school, I know about trips they’re taking, boyfriends they are dating or divorces they’ve had, and each time they come in, we learn something new about each other.   Without this personal touch which is unique to me and level of communication, I might as well just be a tanning booth, and Shades Spray Tans is much more than that.  

To date, I am happy and beyond excited to say my business consultant and I have entered a business agreement that will lay out the proper stages and strategies that will feed the life of Shades Spray Tans and make it the number one go-to choice for a safe alternative to achieve a sun-kissed glow…for optimized color, beauty and confidence.   


Excessive Dry Skin and Spray Tans...

What did the lizard say to the spray tan artist?  No, this is not a joke.  Why?  Because I have had clients come in with very, very dry skin, pretty comparable to a lizard. 


With that being said, we don’t all have hydrated, supple skin.  Some of us have excessive dry skin which can make spray tan solutions just not take very well.  You see, the way a spray tan works is it attaches itself to the skin cells, very well hydrated skin cells.  So when someone has dry skin, it almost acts as a shield, not letting anything penetrate those skin cells beneath.  One step in concurring this obstacle and what I tell my clients, is to exfoliate your skin very well 24 hours prior to coming in for your spray tan.  This sloughs that dead skin off allowing the solution to really grab to those cells underneath.  In some cases, unfortunately, certain skin types are still so very dry that the solution has a hard time processing through it.  Do we give up?  Nope!  There are steps to take instantly prior to coming in for your appointment and steps you can take if you know spray tanning is your way to go and will be for many days, months and years to come. 


So, what can we do for an instant fix prior to a spray tan?  Well, definitely exfoliate like I had mentioned before, this can be done with an oil-free body exfoliant or just a regular loofah you having hanging in the shower.  Then, prior to the spray tan, apply a very thin layer of body lotion (I like Aveeno) all over the body.  When your skin is as dry as it is, something like this can only help. 


Another thing you can do starting today, is drink plenty of water and take your recommended daily allowance of Omega 3.  These two things, as many of you know, have many benefits to one’s health, but when it comes to spray tans moisturizing from the inside out really aids in future tans and also to beautiful skin…and low cholesterol levels to boot!


Now back to what that lizard said to the spray tan artist?  …I’m here for my weekly glow!


Concerns and Issues in getting a Spray Tan...

Well, where do I start?  I like to play things out in my mind as far as a layout will go with my blogs.  I thought about doing this blog question by question to that of which newbies to the spray tan world have, or making it more of just a typical convo.  I went with that because what came to mind was an article that was recently in the Santa Barbara News Press in regards to Spray Tans and the safety, or lack thereof, involving them.  The question of this being safe has come up often and I will explain to you readers just as I do to my clients who have this question.  With this said, please note, I am not in any way shape or form a doctor or chemist of any kind.  I am only speaking on that of which I have learned in my years of doing spray tans, and every attempt I have made in keeping it safe, to the level of that which I am in control of within my studio.  Below you will find the article in which I am referencing from Dear Abby that was printed in the Santa Barbara News Press:




Okay, here we go…SPRAY TANS, yes!  It brings color to your skin, makes clothing pop, makes you feel better about yourself, and in a great twist…makes you look thinner and hides imperfections.  However, just like anything that is soooooo good, sometimes has a negative downfall.  Ugh, life!  Let’s start with things I have read up on and how I go about making it as safe as possible for you and those you bring with you to my studio. 


DHA…Dihydroxyacetone.  The active ingredient in sunless tanners that causes you to acquire color on your skin.  This ingredient was approved by the FDA back in 1977 and was approved for use in that of (sunless) topical self-tanning lotions.  In articles I have read previously, it has been stated they (FDA) never imagined someone would think of putting this into a form that can be sprayed via an HVLP spray gun and propelled into the air…well someone did, and now it is the thing to do all across the globe.


Which is where the main question of safety arises.  Inhaling!  These find needle point particles that are so minute, even with the use of extraction fans, can fly about the air around you.  For this, not only are extraction fans going constantly, but also nose plugs are handed to each client right before the spray tanning begins.  But what about other areas of entering your system, other than your nose, such as eyes, ears and mouth?  Well, cotton balls are given to protect your ears, protective eyewear is given to protect the windows to your soul (optional), and lip balm is offered to protect your lips.  In cases where clients wish not to tan their face at all, a full nose/mouth mask, along with eyewear (completely sanitized after each use) are given to the client to wear throughout the whole process.  As for myself, the spray tan artist, I also wear protective eyewear and a facial mask. 


So there you have it, whether you are a parent bringing in your child under 18 (parent consent/presence required) or an adult yourself, safety measures are applied equally, for your safety and mine.  Besides, this color comes and goes, but our health needs to be our number 1 priority, and needs to be FOREVER!


Up next on the Shades Blog:

  • Excessive Dry Skin and Spray Tans