Read this info thoroughly and follow it to the letter.  Everything posted here results from bad experiences / horror stories that we want our competitors to avoid.  


Skin Prep—Get­ting ready to receive a smooth, even air brushed tan.

If you don’t cur­rently exfo­li­ate daily, start now! Scrub as much dead skin off as pos­si­ble with every shower. Use an exfo­li­at­ing sponge or gloves and even an exfo­li­at­ing body wash. Pay spe­cial atten­tion to the rough areas of your skin such as the elbows, knees and knuck­les. Rough skin tends to soak up more of the spray tan solu­tion, caus­ing that area to be darker and blotchy. Exfo­li­at­ing thor­oughly will help pre­vent this and it will also help the tan fade more evenly as it goes away. What­ever soap you decide to use should be pH neu­tral and free of met­als such as alu­minum oxide. A safe bet is Jan Tana exfo­li­at­ing scrub or Neu­tra­gena Rain­bath (see note below).

Your skin must be well hydrated with a neu­tral pH lotion such as Neu­tra­gena, or Aveeno Daily Mois­tur­iz­ing Lotion. Jan Tana makes a lotion that is guar­an­teed not to con­flict with the tan­ning solu­tion. If you choose your own lotion, just be sure it is neu­tral in Ph, has no per­fumes added to it, and is free of met­als such as alu­minum oxide. We have seen per­fume and lotion cause the tan­ning solu­tion to turn green on the skin. Just as with exfo­li­a­tion, pay spe­cial atten­tion to your knees, elbows, and knuck­les. (see note below about the lotion we rec­om­mend)

Get Funky!
What I mean is, if you don’t stink, you should! Stop using under arm deodor­ant until after the shoot. Deodor­ant has a way of leach­ing into the skin, and then leach­ing out again, caus­ing the tan to either turn green or go away. Stop using deodor­ant a cou­ple of weeks before the tan is applied in order to give your skin time to get rid of most of what has built up in your poors. The main cul­prit is again met­als such as alu­minum oxide. (see note below about rec­om­mended deodor­ant)

Wax, Shave, Mow, What­ever!
How­ever you do it, get the hair off before you tan. Hair tends to draw more soli­tion into the root, caus­ing small black spots. Make sure you show up to get spray tanned, cleanly shaved.


If you choose to wax, DO NOT TRY ANYTHING NEW CLOSE TO THE SHOW!!!!!  We have seen competitors show up with horrible rashes, burns or acne the week of the show because they decided to try waxing for the first time or a new service or product.  You do not want to go through all the hard work of contest prep just to end up with a back or thigh full of acne!  Allow at least two weeks between your last wax and your first coat of spray tan.  You need to allow time for any minerals or chemicals that are in the waxing products to leach out in order to avoid a reaction with the tanning solution.  

Hang Loose!
Wear loose fit­ting clothes to and from being air brushed. Tight clothes, includ­ing socks, will rub against the freshly applied tan and cause light areas. Con­sider what may be exposed later and make sure you’re not caus­ing issues with waist lines and sock lines.


Special Notes for Competitor & Fitness Models:

You’ve worked hard to get your body where it is and It’s time to show it off! Don’t let a hastily applied, sloppy tan hide all of that work! As a judge, I can tell you that it does affect your scor­ing and, in fact, skin tone is one of the orig­i­nal judg­ing cri­te­ria. Truly, if it comes down to a close call between you and another com­pe­ti­tior, if your tan is poorly applied and dis­tract­ing, it will make it eas­ier to look at the other com­peti­tor. You do not want your tan mak­ing you hard to look at! Fol­low­ing are some steps in the tan­ning process that, when added to the above prepa­ra­tions, will help you look your best on the big day.

Start your tan­ning at least a cou­ple of days out. If your physique pre-judging is on Sat­ur­day, it’s a good idea to get a base coat applied on Thurs­day. With Jan Tana On Stage Com­pe­ti­tion Color, there are two dif­fer­ent processes work­ing to color your skin. First, there is a dark mahogany pig­ment. This will darken as it dries, giv­ing you a pretty even color. Unseen to the eye is DHA (dihy­drox­y­ace­tones). DHAis a safe chem­i­cal used in most mod­ern air brush tan­ning solu­tions that actu­ally causes your skin to brown due to an amino acid response on the outer lay­ers of the epi­der­mis. This brown­ing can last up to 6–7 days but this depends a great deal on how well you prepped your skin. The bet­ter prepped your skin is, the longer the tan will last and the more evenly it will fade, which is great for those post con­test photo shoots!

The rea­son for start­ing your tan­ning so early is so you can give the DHA in the first coat a good deal of time to brown your skin. I like to have clients get sprayed as early as pos­si­ble in the day and then wear the tan all day long. It may even be a good idea to sleep with this first coat on and then shower in the morn­ing. When you shower, you will wash away all of the pig­ment and what will remain is your own browned skin, thanks to the DHA. Your skin should now be smooth and silky and have a nice even color. This will serve as the per­fect base for sub­se­quent coats.

Your sec­ond coat should hap­pen early Fri­day and, depend­ing on the com­pe­ti­tion sched­ule, you should also wear this coat as long as you can. On the day of pre-judging you should receive one or two coats, depend­ing on how your skin takes the color. At this point most peo­ple do well with one coat. For fit­ness, fig­ure and bikini, you want to be dark but it is pos­si­ble to be too dark. For body builders, gen­er­ally, the darker the bet­ter. It can also depend on the venue. Some venues have good pro­fes­sional qual­ity stage light­ing so you may want to be darker where other venues use what amounts to house light­ing for pre-judging in which case you will want to be a lit­tle lighter. An expe­ri­enced trainer or air brush tech­ni­cian will know some­thing about most major venues. For photo shoots, you nor­mally want to be lighter than for com­pe­ti­tion, espe­cially women.

Once upon a time, a novice com­pe­ti­tior put Dream Tan or Pro Tan on his face and the results were dis­as­trous. No one else ever wanted to be “that guy” so the word on the street has been don’t Pro Tan your face. The result is often a freaky white faced Fan­tom of the Opera look that, from a judges point of view, can be very dis­tract­ing.

This is not an issue with Jan Tana air brush tan­ning prod­ucts. While you do want your face to be a shade lighter than the rest of your body, this dif­fer­ence should not be not­i­ca­ble. A good spray tan tech­ni­cian will apply the tan in such a way that there will be a smooth tran­si­tion at the neck line. The face should gen­er­ally be sprayed with the very last coat so you dont mess things up while you are sleep­ing, eat­ing, or brush­ing your teeth. Ladies, make an effort to find a good foun­da­tion make-up that will com­pli­ment the color. It can be as sim­ple as a trip to a Wal­greens near your hotel with a coat of color on so you can com­pare col­ors to your skin. Guys, a lit­tle of this foun­da­tion around your eye sock­ets will help to avoid the racoon look—just stay away from the lip bloss! Also for the ladies, it’s a good idea to have a shower cap so the amount of over­spray on your hair can be min­i­mized.

Between pre-judging and the evening show a touch up coat may be nec­es­sary. This can usu­ally be a quick light coat just to smooth out some of the smears that may have occured.

A lot goes into mak­ing sure your color is just right on the big day but it is well worth the effort. We’ve all seen those ath­letes with the per­fect tan and we know that it is impres­sive when a great physique is pol­ished with mag­nif­i­cent mahogany color.