If you don’t want to read through the whole article and just want our recommendations, here they are:
Best Spray Tan Solutions
- Norvell Premium Sunless Tanning Solution, Dark 1 – Editor’s Choice
- Sjolie No. 9 – Medium/Dark Blend– Top Pick for organic spray tan solution
- Luxe No. 12 Medium/Dark
- Norvell Venetian Plus
- Aussie Bronze 12% Dark
- Sjolie No. 6 – Top Pick for Fair skin
- Norvell Premium Sunless Tanning Solution, Double Dark
- Tampa Bay Tan Tanfastic 8.5%
- Norvell Premium Sunless Tanning Solution, One Hour Rapid – Top Pick for Rapid Drying
- Sjolie No. 12 – Dark Blend
If you are looking for a spray tan machine to get the best finish using these products, check out our reviews of the Best Spray tan machines
Norvell Premium Sunless Tanning Solution - Dark
This is our favorite tanning solution for the fact that it produces a great-looking bronzed color after every application.
Included in its mixture are softening ingredients from natural enzymes that recondition dehydrated skin and even help your body to maintain optimum hydration levels days after.
It’s compatible with a long list of spray tan machines and is multipurpose so feel to use the solution in your tanning machine as well as right from the bottle, just dribble a bit on your tanning mitt and wipe the product on – apply well and the results will prevail a luminous glow.
The Cons: Beware, old, or a nearly expired bottle of this Novell Premium Sunless tanning solution Dark 1. There have been some terrible reviews in regards to turning skin color orange, having an overly runny texture, and not having much-staying power. This is easily avoided by checking the dates before use.
Best Organic Spray Tan Solution
SJOLIE No. 9 - Medium/Dark Blend
Best in its class, SJOLIE prides themselves as one of the only companies staying true to their organic branding. They have formulated a spray tanning solution that is made of all naturally derived, FDA approved ingredients and certified vegan through PETA.
Their tanning solution mixes effortlessly with other tanners because of the natural ingredients within and can be used with all high volume low pressure (HVLP) and airbrush spray tanning systems.
The No. 9 medium/dark blend makes your tan look pretty toned in one session and continues to develop into darker shades of brown as the days roll by. It can last as long as 10 days, just be sure to moisturize daily and limit water exposure (e.g. take short showers).
The Cons: This is one of those tanners that you use to maintain a tan for a while, meaning you will have to reapply the solution before it begins to fade because it doesn’t fade as evenly as I have experienced with other tanners.
The color it gives isn’t as vibrant since there are no artificial dyes in its composition. So if using a naturally made product is your preference then you may have to compromise with the color this tanner produces.
Best spray tan solution for fair skin
Spray Tan Solution - SJOLIE No. 6
This spray tan solution is specifically formulated for people with a naturally fair skin complexion, who tend to have more of a pink undertone. Its made with key tanning fortified ingredients ranging from the walnut extract which is beneficial in skin treatments and provides natural olive-coloring to achieve a natural-looking glow. Plus it has aloe Vera to lock in moisture and help sustain the life of your tan.
Users can expect to have their tan for 7-12 days before significant fading is seen, considering proper care practices are taken. It will take 8 hours processing time before you should shower to reveal the ultimate tanning glow.
The Cons: You may not get the optimal darkening effects from this tanner if you don’t allow it to develop in the maximum time. It needs up to 8 hours to completely develop your tan. Most tanners will give you acceptable color after 2 hours or maybe 4, this one doesn’t, so prepare to sit around for a while to let this tanner do its work. In addition, it takes another period to dry so overall using this tanning solution racks up a few dedicated hours of your time.
Best Fast Drying Spray Tan Solution
Norvell Premium Sunless Tanning Solution - One Hour Rapid
There is definitely some significant change in time with how quickly this sunless tanner gets you tanned. 1 hour delivers a light golden hue, 2 hours a darker bronzy look (my favorite by the way) and 3 get you all dark and brown looking.
It’s loaded with cosmetic bronzers, which will eventually wash off after you have showered but this doesn’t affect the color that is produced the coming hours after.
The sunless color continues to develop over the next 24 hours, so you won’t see the true color of your tan until the next day.
Your tan will last about 5-7 days, just make sure to care and maintain it all the way through.
Don’t use harsh soaps to bathe, instead lightly lather with moisture infused bath gels and condition your skin with lotion daily.
This Norvell One Hour Rapid and pretty much all the other Norvell products in its collection are designed for use in airbrush as well as high volume low-pressure (HVLP) systems regardless of the manufacturer. So feel free to use it in your personal tanning machine or when visiting the tanning salon if that is allowed.
The Cons: Make sure to wash the solution off right after the recommended time as I have noticed that it makes your skin a bit orange looking if left on longer than it should. The solution has a sticky feel and takes quite some time to dry; you may want to stand in front of a fan to speed up the waiting time. It doesn’t clean off the tanning gun so easily especially if left there overnight, so I would advise cleaning the machine right after use.
Best of the rest
Violet Spray Tan Solution LUXE No. 12 - Medium/Dark
If you’re trying to get significantly tanned, then this is the spray tan solution you need to use.
The DHA will start to develop 1 hour after application and continues to darken your complexion for another 8 hours, so try not to take a shower anytime before then.
This Violet solution LUXE is made with all-natural ingredients, so you can count on using a safe product that gives you a dark natural brown spray tan all while making your skin feel soft and smooth.
The tanning solution has a violet base color and considerably lightweight, as such creates a fine mist when emitted from the spray nozzle so it covers perfectly.
The Cons: I don’t usually experience a long-lasting tan with this tanner, after 4 days it will begin to fade and it fades very sketchy, so you may want to touch up the coverage every 3 or so days. It is high maintenance in my opinion but if you’re looking for instant and dramatic color then it is the best choice.
Norvell Venetian Plus
Norvell is a dependable brand that you can count on to make high-quality products. The Venetian Plus gives you very dark tanning results and will last a pretty long time if applied properly. I have used this tanner on multiple occasions and it always keeps my complexion dark, bronzed, and flawless for up to 6 days without fading.
The Venetian Plus formula is infused with high-moisture fruit extracts and natural enzymes that soften and condition your skin with every use and locks in moisture for lasting effects.
The solution is perfect for spray tanning machine execution, delivering a professional and perfect looking tan. However, a little experience with handling the spray tan machine would be an asset. This tanner is fast-acting in such a way that it optimizes the application process. It applies seamlessly, starts developing your tan quickly, and dries pretty fast. Leaving you with little time for error and the fixing of it — just a word of caution.
The Cons: I have experienced streaks and stripes of tanner drying darker on some places on my skin but found that a good shake of the bottle before using again fixed that problem. So if this is something that you have experienced then that might help, or if you are a first-time user, be sure to shake well before use.
It always seems like these tanners expire sooner than they should, it only leaves me to think that they don’t have a long shelf life. I have always had to use a bottle within 2 months after it has been delivered. Make sure to check the dates so you know how long you have to use them.
Aussie Bronze 12% Dark
Want to get super tanned; well a bottle of Aussie Bronze 12% Dark is just what you are looking for.
This is one of my go-to options and it has never disappointed me. I always get a rich dark tan from using this tanning solution.
While you can apply it manually straight from the bottle, I would recommend using it with the spray tan machine. It applies quickly and with better coverage plus the machine disperses just the right amount of solution on your skin to give you a natural-looking dark tan.
The tanning formula is made with natural and organic ingredients, some of which include aloe barbadensis, lemon peel extract, macadamia seed oil, grapefruit seed extract, and mandarin orange peel extract to name a few.
These additives are also highly flavored which gives the solution a nice light fruit scent.
Upon application, the solution goes on smoothly and leaves your skin feeling silky soft, and supple.
The Cons: This tanner is extremely dark, if applied under the wrong conditions, it may turn your skin green.
Don’t dilute in water or use old product. If you are very light in complexion, you may need to develop a base tan before getting the full color benefits the Aussie Bronze 12% has to offer. The texture is a little runny, which is why I don’t recommend using straight from the bottle.
Norvell Premium Sunless Tanning Solution - Double Dark
Another great choice from Norvell is the Premium Sunless Double Dark. The solution gives a terrific dark color and is quite lightweight so it produces a fine mist that adheres to your skin as naturally as a layer of second skin would.
There are skin-nourishing makings in its mixture to deliver silky soft skin, which helps the overall look of your tan to appear rich and glowing. Ingredients such as aloe vera leaf, beetroot, tomato seed, green tea leaf, and cranberry extracts also help your tan to not only look incredible but also last longer
The Norvell sunless tanning products are very resourceful in that they can be used with almost every spray tan machine. The tanning solution easily works its way through the spray gun nozzle creating a seamless application and cleans up pretty good after, so no sticky residue to worry about.
The Cons: This is not an all-natural product, there are some artificial colorants added to spruce up the color of the tan that it gives. Watch out for emerging skin allergies as we read reviews from a couple of users who have experienced rashes on the skin after use.
Tampa Bay Tan Tanfastic 8.5%
Tampa Bay Tan Tanfastic is one of the top-rated tanning solutions you will find. The 8.5% gives a terrific golden color that looks that much better on persons with a naturally medium or light complexion, however, it will work on any skin type and shade.
The best way to apply this tanner is with a spray tan machine but it works pretty well going on with a tanning mitt. Using the solution with a spray tan machine gives professional looking coverage and a perfect golden sun kissed glow like no other. Don’t worry about waiting around too long after your tanning session has ended, this Tanfastic 8% blend develops quickly and dries in rapid time.
The Cons: Not a lot of staying power with this one, the longest I have experienced unaffected coverage is 4 days after which it begins to fade. Also, it made my skin a bit dry, and continuously so after several other uses, suggesting the ingredients are lacking enough moisturizing elements. There are also some unnatural ingredients to look out for, so if you have sensitive skin do a patch test on a small area of your body first before doing a full body application
SJOLIE No. 12 - DARK Blend
Another great option from SJOLIE is the No. 12 Dark Blend; it will give you a pretty nice deep color but won’t get you too dark. The best way to apply it is with a spray tan gun or machine but can also work if dispensed from a spray or foam bottle. It dries fast and is not overly sticky like some other tanners. The smell isn’t bad either, plus it completely disappears after a bath or shower.
You will achieve good coverage with this tanner; just apply it well. When misting from a spray gun, hold the nozzle some distance away (approximately 10 -12 inches from your body) and spray in circular patterns. The color it produces will last about 7 days or so and wears off pretty evenly
The Cons: The solution is extremely lightweight and maybe too runny for some users, so work fast and mist lightly unto the skin during application. It takes a bit of time to develop your tan, so prepare to leave this tanning solution on your skin for at least 6 hours however more is better. Also, if you’re looking to get super dark from this tanner then look elsewhere, the result it produces are shades of golden brown.
What to Look for in a Spray Tan Solution
- Great Tanning Results:
The only way to know that a particular spray tan solution works are simply by trying it yourself or trusting the referral from someone else who has. The problem with these two scenarios is that it’s unrealistic to think you can try all the sunless tanners there are and someone else’s experience and expectations can be completely different from yours. The best bet is to take it from the pros; read review articles about a specific tanner from the ones who have taken the time to inform and give advice, research the manufactures reputation and feel free to check out the multiple user experiences shared on popular retailer sites such as amazon — if several people are saying the same things about a product then it’s likely to be spot-on.
- Effective Ingredients:
It’s always a good idea to read what’s inside the bottle of tanning solution you are interested in using. The active ingredients that you need to look out for are primarily Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) and other FDA approved color additives and dyes as well as natural skin moisturizers derived from the actual plant, fruit, and nut extracts for example. With that said you should also look out for ingredients that may be harmful or that you know may cause you to develop an allergic reaction.
- Quick Drying:
Speaking of ingredients, a good spray tan solution should contain additives to promote quick drying time. The solution should cover lightly and dry in a few minutes, relatively 10 minutes or so. Unfortunately, quick-drying tanning solution usually has fewer emollients which are responsible for making the solution heavier and moist on your skin. Some of these ingredients include aloe vera extract, fruit and nut oils, and even thickeners like gelatin, so if you see these listed in the ingredients, then you can expect a longer drying time.
- Non-Clogging Mixtures:
This relates to the thickness and consistency of the tanning solution, which is caused by ingredients that are heavy and viscous. Avoid spray-tanning solutions such as these that will clog the needles in the nozzle of your spray tan machine or device.
- Healthy & Skin-Loving:
Choose a spray tan solution that is expected to not only give you great results but also replenishes and rejuvenates your skin. Upon use, you should experience your skin feeling hydrated and conditioned even after a couple of days. The healthier kinds of tanning solutions are typically characterized as having all-natural and/or organic properties, simply read the labels for a quick verification on these details.
How much spray tan solution per person do I need?
Various types of spray tan machines will hold different amounts of tanning solution. Choosing one will depend on how you plan on using it, for personal or shared use?
Some machines have very small solution cups that can do two or more tans and there are others that will handle multiple sessions. Ideally, you only need 2 or 2 ½ ounces of tanning solution to do one full-body treatment, i.e. per person.
How to tell if my spray tan solution is not good?
Your spray tan solution is no good if it takes a long time to apply; this is usually due to the makings of a diluted formula.
A resulting streaky or uneven coverage can also mean that you have a poorly created formula in your spray gun. Some spray tan machines may be faulty in that they don’t mist the tanning solution properly during application. If you find that this only happens when using a certain tanning product, then clearly the solution inside is the problem.
Oftentimes a spray tanning solution is too thick to create a proper misting effect when emitted from the spray gun, if this happens then the spray tanner is no good.
Also, if the tanner is extremely runny and takes a long time to dry, then this simply means you have a sub-standard product. Lastly and most obviously, if you don’t see any or significant color change after the tanning solution should have developed on your skin or the color of your tan looks unnatural and dirty, then your spray tan solution is no good.
How to keep my spray tan solution fresh?
It takes a few months for your spray tan solution to go bad. Manufacturers usually establish the expiration date about 6 months after the formula was created, considering that you store it under the right conditions.
Storage is key to prolong the freshness of your tanning solution. You should always try to keep it in a cool, dark place like a cupboard or closet. Avoid refrigeration unless the manufacturers state it is okay to do so on the label of the bottle.
Also, keep your tanning solution in the bottle it came in or if you have to transfer the solution for some reason then place it in an airtight container with a tightly covered lid or cap.
The last thing you want is for the tanner to turn green sooner than it should and this occurs when the dyes in the bronzer oxidize from overexposure of oxygen in the air.
How to dilute spray tan solution?
The best way to dilute your tanning solution is by mixing it with another tanning formula with the same consistency (A lightly textured solution with another lightly textured one or a heavily textured solution with another heavy textured one).
Dilution would require mixing a darker shade solution with a lighter one to arrive at a subtler color tone; this means the darker DHA level needs to be reduced. As a guide: If you mix two quantities of solutions in a 50/50 ratio, simply add both DHA percentage numbers, and divide by two to obtain the DHA level in the final blend, i.e. 2 oz. of 8% tanner mixed with 2 oz. of 12% tanner equals 4 oz. of a 10% tanner blend – the math behind this is 8 + 12 = 20, 20 / 2 = 10, so 10 is the DHA percentage of the combined mixtures of tanner. This is simply diluting a 12% tanner to a 10% tanner.
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