What is the difference between red, green and violet base spray tan

By David
In Blog
Oct 5th, 2016


A little known fact is that DHA (the active ingredient in spray tan) is actually colourless. Its the cosmetic bronzer (guide colour) that you first see when you get a spray tan. Without the bronzers the liquid would be clear and incredibly difficult to apply evenly. Most cosmetic bronzers are made by mixing together 3 primary colours, Red, Yellow and Blue (which together make brown) By manipulating the the blending ratio between these three colours, manufacturers are able to influence the ‘base’ or ‘guide’ colour. Ever wandered why your spray tan turns green after 6 months in the cupboard?. Well, Red is the most unstable colour out of the three. if it deteriorates you are left with only two colours,  blue and yellow, which mixed together makes green ! So your tan hadn’t necessarily gone bad, its just that the red colouring agent had failed

When it comes to spray tanning solutions there is nothing set in stone. There are general guidelines which should be followed but unfortunately the human skin is such a difficult canvas to work on – so many variables and contributing factors which could affect the end results. Hormones, medication, weather…. the list is endless. However, even though the guide colour can change from one brand to another most tans are typically either Green or Red based and more recently we are seeing the increased popularity of Violet based Tans. So, what is the difference between Green, Red and Violet based spray tans?

Green Base –   Green bases can work across most skin types although can cause yellow hues on very fair skins. Darker skin tones and those who tan well on holiday should choose a green base. Green base solutions are also best for clients with a red / pink hue to their skin  A green base counteracts the red hue resulting in a more natural colour

Red Base – Red bases are very much under used and unappreciated in the UK. A red-based tan is ideal for those with fair skin tones who don’t tan well and, if your skin freckles in the sun, a red base will definitely complement you.

Violet Base – As the tan develops a Violet based product will counteract any yellow / orange undertones. Thats because violet is on the opposite end in the colour spectrum. When a darker tan is required, a violet based product will usually deliver the best results.

why is it important to chose the right base colour?

You wouldn’t dream of using a foundation that doesn’t compliment your skin tone. The same methodology needs to be applied when choosing a spray tan that is best suited to your client’s skin tone. Because a client’s natural skin tone will affect the way the spray tan appears.

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5 Responses to “What is the difference between red, green and violet base spray tan”

  1. Kim says:

    Surely the ‘base colour is just in the colour guide and not the actual tan? The actual tan being DHA and maybe Euthrylose?

    • Lisa says:

      Thats what i thougut its just a money making ravket violet ??? Dha is dha end of

    • Tammy says:

      Too true, Yes base colour is the colour guide not the base co.lour of the tan, otherwise if you do use an bottle of tan that the red base has diminished you look like a chimney sweep!

      I get sick of seeing advertising of base colours! DHA and the % is what makes a tan’s end colour. Too high % on a very fair client will make them orange, that’s why tans always turn out nicer when someone already has a bit of a natural tan or it’s on a slightly coloured person.

  2. Allison says:

    What is the main “reddening” ingredient in a red based spray tan?

  3. Anthony says:

    A list of green based fake tans please

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