Bronzing the bride

By Darla
In Blog
Jan 22nd, 2014

1.image-templateMany Brides like to include a tan as part of their Bridal makeup service.  Some brides make it a special “Girls Day” or “Pamper Day” and have the entire female bridal group all tanned together at their own private tanning party. Add some wine or champagne, Spa like candles, good music, and it’s a fun environment for everyone.

A bridal spray tan can be a great way to add the finishing touch to that special day, but can also create some disasters if not handled correctly.


On the first visit, discuss with the bride her experiences with spray tanning products. Has she ever had problems, poor colour etc. Does she have any sensitivities to self tanners or other cosmetic ingredients.

What type of dress she will wear, how much skin will show, and what are her honeymoon plans.

Will her hair be up or down for the wedding?

What type of colour does she prefer?


Always do a test run about four weeks, in advance of any important event. This provides plenty of time to completely remove all spray tan colour before the important day, if things do not go as planned.

Plan for two test runs.

This allows you to test the final product depth used, to make sure the colour is at the correct depth for the bride, if you need to make adjustments, you still have time to do another test run as needed. Start with a light colour, or lower DHA level product.

For best results, the Bride and Bridal party should have a natural or light tan (for their skin type). Never go dark on Bridal parties, and even medium can be to dark, and is not usually the best option unless the client is already darker skinned. It is best to apply one or two coats of a lighter tan (or lower DHA level) product head to toe. An extra coat can be added to the legs, and any contour areas if preferred.

Why this is usually advised:

a light tan is more forgiving of any errors.

a light tan looks more natural in photography, when some members of the wedding party may be untanned. Otherwise the tanned members can look to dark or unnatural when standing next to “pale” family members.

A pale tan will wear and fade better on the honeymoon, especially if the bride will not be touching up her colour. Or may be swimming, which can cause faster or uneven tan fading.

Lighter colour will look less “fake”, especially if the client is not normally “tanned”

After showering, the bride should judge colour in natural lighting, and against her dress or other garment of the same colour tone. She should also monitor how the product fades each day. Usually the best colour will be on the second or third day after the tan session. This timeframe should be used when planning the timing of the final spray tan before the event.

This is a good time for the bride to pick up some matching foundation to carry with her on her Honeymoon. If she will be doing her own makeup, advise her to purchase a non-SPF foundation for wedding day photos. Foundations which contain an SPF ingredient can look a bit chalky in photographs.

If she is having professional makeup done, she can visit her makeup artist for a test run at the same time.


Plan to do the final event spray tan, 2-3 days before the event. This gives the tan time to develop well, and also allows a few showers to remove all solution residue on the skin surface.

NEVER use an unknown/untried product on someone just before an important event. This includes Bridal parties, Proms, Special Formal Dinners, Photos Shoots etc.  If the product is not a good match for this person, they will not know until after development, and will not have time to remove it and be resprayed before their event. And depending on the problem, it can seriously affect the outcome of the event. No one wants to be the orange girl at their special party.

Make sure all Spa services are done a few days or more  before the final tan is applied. The tan should be applied after any hair removal treatments. Many hair removal services such as waxing, laser, and depilatories will damage an already applied spray on tan. Or the tan can affect the service effectiveness, such as lasering which works best on pale untanned skin.

Laser hair removal services can severely dehydrate the skin, and cause the spray tan to apply patchy (with squares of unevenness), it may take the skin a few days to a week to balance moisture levels. Advise client to moisturise daily after laser treatments, and exfoliate skin well pre tan.

All blood tests should be done before the tan service, as the alcohol swab used before the needle prick, can cause a lighter spot on the arm, as some “tan” may be removed.

If client will be shaving, please do this 24 hours before tanning to minimise irritation. For shaving after tanning; advise client to use a new triple or quad blade razor, and a lubrication product, to minimise tan removal. (some will still come off) An electric razor is a great option, and will remove less tan, though the shave is not quite as close.

Some Body Wraps can also remove the tan.

Any teeth whitening or bleaching services should be done before the final tan, as they can lighten the tan on the sides of the mouth or chin if any product dribbles onto the skin.


Make sure skin is well exfoliated, and makeup, deodorant, lotion and exfoliate residue free to minimise any rub off on bridal clothing or formal wear. A pre-tanning Prep spray can be used to remove residue. Some facilities only use clear (non tinted) products for bridal parties, as darker bronzer products can sometimes rub off more heavily. But this is normally not necessary as long as skin is well exfoliated pre-tan with a glove or mitt and a mild shower gel. (do not use a body scrub, many exfoliate unevenly and leave a moisturiser layer on the skin surface, which can effect tan adhesion and cause more tan transfer to clothing). And skin is well cleansed after tanning, before dressing.

Shower well after tanning, before dressing, using a body poof, sponge, net ball or wash cloth to remove all excess tanning product on skin surface. Do not apply a heavy moisturiser lotion, butter or cream, to skin that is under snug garments. If a moisturiser is preferred, use a light weight fast absorbing lotion (such as a baby lotion) or a dry oil spray. Allow it to absorb well, for at least an hour, and buff off any excess product, before dressing. Some heavier moisturisers, or oils, can coat the skin, and on occasion cause a tan to rub off more easily, as the heavily lotion can cause loosening of the tanned dead skin cells. This can show up as a “tan smear” on edges of light clothing.

Dust all body areas that are under tight clothing or undergarments with a body powder to allow clothing to slide over skin more easily. Some tanned dead skin cell may still transfer to the insides of undergarments that ride tightly against the skin, but product should not transfer onto the outside of garments.

A fresh tan should normally have very little rub off, even from heavy sweating, if skin has been properly exfoliated and cleansed. But as a tan ages, more and more tanned dead skin cells will loosen,  so tan rub off  under tight garments may become more visible. It is best to spray tan within 2-3 days before an event for best coloration, and minimal tan wear off.


Most dry cleaners can easily remove any tanned coloration on garments, as long as you point the areas out to the cleaning establishment, and explain it is self tanning residue.   For garments you can machine wash, Oxy Clean works very well.


Send home a touch up product for your client to take on their Honeymoon to maintain their colour.  Or they can purchase a Drugstore Glow Tanner, that allows you to build colour with daily applications of product. These are a lower level DHA product, and are less likely to streak, or look orangey.

Advise that prolonged swimming or hot tubing can cause tan fading.

As the tan fades, if client is not touching up colour the on honeymoon, she will need to carry exfoliation gloves with her to remove the faded tan, or it will start to look uneven and grainy after about 7-10 days or so. A good 30 minute tub soak,  and exfoliation gloves with a bar soap will remove much of the faded tan

Remind her that a spray tan will not provide much if any SPF protection.  So a broad spectrum sunscreen should always be worn to prevent burning when in the sun.

Thanks for reading, and Happy Tanning!


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