The 7 Best Home Spray Tanning Kits
We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. If you don't want people to know that you get a fake tan, then you certainly don't want them to spot you walking into a salon. Any one of these home spray tanning machines will allow you to keep your little beauty secret. We found kits that make getting that sun-less, sun-kissed look in the comfort of your bathroom a breeze. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best home spray tanning kit on Amazon.
A Brief History Of Tanning
In 1978, the first indoor tanning beds were released to immediate success.
There's nothing more attractive than brown, seared skin. So tasty and delectable — wait, we might be thinking of chicken here.
When it comes to human flesh, however, being pale was prized for most of history. If you were on the lighter side, it meant that you had the means to stay inside all day, while poorer folks had to toil out in the sun to make ends meet.
Around the time of the Industrial Revolution, most jobs moved out of the light. People worked in factories and mines, and the resulting pollution meant that many people spent their free time indoors.
As is always the case with human vanity, what is rare becomes prized, and since it was difficult to have bronzed skin, that became the desired style. In 1923, the famous designer Coco Chanel got too much sun while on a cruise, and her tanned skin was considered so attractive that some people credit her for inventing sunbathing.
After WWII, more people in the United States and Europe had the time and money to devote to sunbathing, and a vast array of products hit the market in order to capitalize on it. The first self-tanner came out in the 1950s, but it tended to just leave the skin orange. Meanwhile, baby oil was encouraged to speed up tanning, as was the use of silver metallic reflectors. Sunscreen was also big business, and SPF ratings came along in 1962.
Virtually everything in popular culture at this time encouraged tan skin, as well. Even Barbie got in on the action, releasing a "Malibu Barbie" that came with tanned skin, sunglasses, and her own bottle of tanning lotion.
In 1978, the first indoor tanning beds were released to immediate success. By 2007, it was estimated that there were over 50,000 indoor tanning salons — generating over $5 billion in revenue annually — in the U.S. alone.
Of course, in the meantime, we've also learned about the dangers of tanning. While getting a little sun is still beneficial, it's easy to go too far, so be careful and wear plenty of sunblock.
Don't get us wrong — looking great is maybe the most important in all the world. But it's not worth getting skin cancer over.
Benefits Of At-Home Spray Tanning
Buying your own spray tanning machine may seem like overkill. After all, there are dozens of tanning salons out there that will do it for you, and the sun's free, right?
There are several advantages to doing it yourself that you won't find at any salon or at the pool, though. The most obvious one is cost — while the price of a self-tanning machine may seem steep at first, in the long run it will more than pay for itself, especially if you use it often. Those $50 trips to the salon add up fast, and you'll almost certainly save money by buying your own machine.
Of course, when you're at the salon, it's next-to-impossible to avoid breathing the stuff in, as you're trapped in a little room that's been filled with it all day.
The safety aspect is important to consider, as well. While you already likely know that spray tanning is safer than baking in the sun, there are other, hidden dangers you might not know about.
The first is the active ingredient in the bronzer, DHA, which can have serious side effects if ingested or inhaled. Of course, when you're at the salon, it's next-to-impossible to avoid breathing the stuff in, as you're trapped in a little room that's been filled with it all day. When you tan at home, though, you limit the amount of DHA in the air, and you can even do it outside.
Also, while it may not be life-threatening, don't sleep on the risks you take walking around barefoot and half-naked in a strange place filled with other people's germs. You can easily get athlete's foot or even serious bacterial infections while walking around in those damp rooms.
Ultimately, you'll likely find that tanning at home is both convenient and cost-effective. The only real drawback is that staying home doesn't let you flirt with the cute people behind the counter at the salon.
How To Get the Perfect Spray Tan
While spray tanning is undeniably faster and safer than regular tanning, there's one big risk that keeps many people from trying it: the chance that you'll end up looking like an Oompa-Loompa. That doesn't have to be the case, however, and there are several things you can do to ensure that you get the best-looking tan possible.
For best results, you should shave the area where the bronzer will be applied, and exfoliate the skin. This ensures that the tan can be deeply and evenly applied, reducing the risk of splotchiness.
The only exception to this is barrier cream, which should be applied to any areas that you don't want getting tan, like your elbows.
On the day you'll be getting the tan, try not to use any lotions, oils, or perfumes, as these can interfere with the chemicals in the spray. The only exception to this is barrier cream, which should be applied to any areas that you don't want getting tan, like your elbows.
When the tan is over, gently sop up any leftover bronzer with a towel, working from the bottom up. Don't scrub your skin — simply pat it with the towel (and use a towel you don't mind staining).
To prolong the life of your tan, keep your skin well-moisturized using your lotion of choice. Don't use mineral oil or anything containing petrolatum or SLS, as these can strip the tan off your skin. Many salons sell tan-extending products, as well; you can snoop while you're in there, then likely buy them cheaply online.
Of course, the great thing about having your own tanning apparatus is that if you ruin one tan, getting another is as simple as firing up the machine (just promise us you'll stop before you look like George Hamilton).
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