4 Secrets to Tanning Lotions: What’s real and what’s hype?


Woman+Applying+LotionDeciding which tanning lotion you should get, or even whether or not to use one at all, comes down to why you are even considering it in the first place. Are you more concerned with Tanning Results? Skin Care? Not smelling like burned skin? In any event, here are the tips to look for when picking out your creme de la bronzing creme.


1. Does cost matter? The short answer is…usually. The real cost in lotion is either in the tanning technology or the skin care technology. The higher the price, the more of either (or both) that are in the lotion. An example where a cheaper one could be better would be if you are not interested in skin care and only wanted a ton of bronzers…there are cheaper lotions that are packed with bronzers and very little skin care. This is where cost could be lowered depending on your need. The best approach would be to find a price level that you feel comfortable with and tell the tanning consultant what that number is. They can help you find the best product for that price range. Talking to an expert who has used every product, seen every product, and knows what’s really good and what isn’t, will be easier and more efficient than reading reviews online. We love our online reviews, but anonymous strangers, posing as experts with their own preferences and expectations, may not match your specific needs. Yes, you usually get what you pay for, but you may be surprised at what a seasoned associate can help you find within your budget, get you a good deal on, etc. It’s worth asking! You could save a ton by just asking “What deals are you running?” or “What’s the best lotion I can get for $x?” or even “Can you help me get the best hookup on lotion?”.


2. Bronzers? No Bronzers? 3 Bronzers? 50 Bronzers? I’m confused. The average customer is not a tanning salon or tanning lotion industry guru, so if you’re confused about the whole bronzer situation…have no fear (or shame)…it can be confusing. Back in the day it was simply “Bronzer” or “No Bronzer”. This just meant that your lotion either had a little bit of sunless solution (spray tan ingredient) in it to give you a quick boost in color…or it didn’t.  Now there are DelayedImmediate,DermaDarkNaturalExtended, and SuperAwesomeRidculousBrown Bronzers (ok, we made that last one up!). It can be tough to decipher which one is best. Generally though, the number before the bronzer are your best indicator. The higher the number of bronzers, the quicker you’re going to get color. A lotion that has an “X” after the number (i.e. JWOWW 50X Bronzer) means “extended” or “extra” and can give you quite the boost. The newest types of Bronzers are called “Optimizers”. Optimizer Bronzers are new streak-free bronzers, and are where technology takes a leap forward giving you deeper color faster, longer lasting color, and the most natural looking tan possible. There’s only a few of these types out there, but they are the bees knees if you find one. We like HD Marilyn Optimizer and Cypher Platinum Optimizer.


3. Are all tanning lotions the same? Is it just a gimmick? The cynicism of the over-marketed consumer aside, try looking deeper into each product before making this assumption. Most would not say that a $0.99 hair conditioner would be the same as a $30 one (anyone who lives in thick humidity like we do knows the difference all too well). However, with lotions it’s easier to draw that conclusion (especially when you want it to be true) as you don’t see immediate differences with just one use like you would with a conditioner. It takes 3-4 uses before you see how dramatic the results really are. Your skin and your hair are made of the same material (keratin). Using the absolute cheapest on either will start to show in a weathered sort of way. You will also not be getting the effect you are going for. Cheap lotions (a la Walmart) would be like switching the the cheapest shampoo and conditioners…you will be getting what you paid for, which will not be what you were wanting. Don’t get me wrong, there are moderately prices conditioners, shampoos, and tanning lotions out there that are absolutely amazing! You just have to find the right one for you and your budget, without letting cost be the only and singularly deciding factor. Every lotion is different, just like every skin type. Find one for your needs and you’ll be much happier with your results and your skin will thank you.


4. There are 2 Steps in Tanning Lotion??  Most tanning lotions (in fact every tanning lotion made by California Tan) comes in this 2-step process. How it works is that you use a Step 1 the first time you tan, then you use a Step 2 the next time you tan, then repeat. The question is…Is there a real benefit? Well, each lotion does something different. The 2 steps are designed to mimic the way your skin naturally tans in the sun, to support this process, and to boost your color faster, and make it look more natural. The Step 1 lotions help to produce a tan (melanin) by stimulating your cells that produce a tan (melanocytes). This is the natural first step in tanning. This Melanin isn’t naturally brown (it’s actually pinkish) and can take from 24-72 hours to produce. Once it has been produced, to make this melanin brown you must introduce oxygen. Oxygen causes your melanin to turn that brown, bronze color (kind of like when you cut an apple in half it turns brown from the oxygen). This is where Step 2 comes in. Step 2′s put pure oxygen directly into the skin causing all of the melanin in your skin to turn dark brown.

Rotating between these 2 steps will help you build color much faster than using one or the other. They aren’t really designed to be used separately. It would be like deciding if you just wanted to use Shampoo OR Conditioner…they’re not really the same and you’ll get better results by using them both. If you are naturally dark (i.e. your body naturally produces a lot of melanin) you could get away with just using a Step 2 to turn that melanin brown, but if you’re lighter than a skin type 4 (naturally tan), you’d do better alternating between the 2 steps for sure. Many times buying both steps at the same time will net you some kind of discount or free gift. You should ask if there’s a deal to getting these together before buying for the biggest bang for your buck!


Why you’re scared as f**k to spray tan

New things are always hard. The tablet was invented in 1968 afterall, but didn’t get traction until 2010! Thanks Apple!

Although endorsed by such celebrities as Megan Fox, Claire Danes, Katy Perry and more (see 7 celebrity spray tans)…we still are scared of…Ross Geller. Yes, the lovable nerd from Friends that had a bad spray tan over 10 years ago.



Much like the original tablet computer from the 60’s, technology has changed and rapidly improved. But that doesn’t stop the naysayers that convince the average health-conscious guy or gal, who like  to look good, that their going to be the next oompa-loompa shade of snooki.


That’s because of the BIG O…orange! Who wants to be:



No to duckface. No to orange. We just say no…drop the mic and run away.



Maybe you HAVE done a spray tan…well sort of. You bought the most expensive and BROWNEST bottle at CVS of “Super Hydrating 360 Even Dark Tanning Mist”…also known as “Wicked Orange Tanning Juice Packed Full of Chemicals”. You know what’s going to happen…you, with your fingers crossed, standing in your shower, reading the directions twice just to make sure and busting out the measuring tape so you can ensure you are EXACTLY 8-10 inches away while spraying and praying it doesn’t come off on your clothes, is even, and is at least a tolerable shade of orange.

Afterwards, you vow to just love being pale (Kristen Stewart looked okay in that movie…oh yeah, but she was a vampire. But wait she was in that other movie pale…oh wait she was playing Snow White), or to just stick to regular tanning, or to visit Sephora for a new color correcting foundation to cover the mistake.


Maybe you’ve had a friend who spray tanned and said they hated it! The nail salon that also had a Mystic booth didn’t do quite the job they were expecting. Even though this is the same friend who can’t manage their own checkbook or love life, they are an expert in everything else and should therefore be trusted! Maybe not. We kid this random friend of course…we all have those friends though who know everything about everything except how to run their own lives…c’est la vie.


The biggest reason you are scared as f**k to spray tan, is not the color (after all you did trust the Super Mist from CVS with your skin). It is usually the cost and embarassment. The can was only $8 afterall, and you did it in your own shower. The alternative is really expensive! How much? $40? $50? Well, maybe depending on where you go. But if you’ve never done it you can usually try it for very very cheap ($5 Spray Tan). Also, memberships are usually around the $40 range for unlimited (about the price you thought it was going to be for just one spray you would get a whole month).

But what about the privacy and embarassment?? I’d rather be home and in my shower as opposed to at a salon! The reality is that a salon has privacy. The automatic booths are in your own room, the booths now talk to you and tell you what to do (Siri now has friends she can hang out with). The difference from your house and the salon is that if you have questions, you can ask someone who spray tans over 400-500 people a month. They know what’s going on, and are easier to ask than a stranger on Yahoo Answers. They can fix problems, ease nervousness, give tips, etc.

Give it a chance and forget the naysayers. We will leave you with this example of one of our favorite celebrities who always looks better with a tan:




7 Celebrity Spray Tans

Awards shows, fashion week, appearances…a quick glow is the perfect solution for a celebrity on the go! Spray tanning is pretty much owned by all celebrities at this point, and is as much a staple of looking good as is who you’re wearing on top of that perfect healthy tan!

Here are a few celebrities who do it right!!

Camilla Belle 



Claire Danes



Mary Kate-Olsen



Jennifer Lopez



Katy Perry



Blake Lively



Megan Fox


Get your first spray for only $5 at http://spray.darquetan.com

8 Online Deals right now!

Who needs Groupon’s when you can get an even deeper discount directly from your favorite tanning salon?!

This week proves to be no exception on Darque Tan’s deals website that hosts deals ranging from Tanning, Spray Tanning, Lotions, Retail Items and more!

Most of these expire within 48 hours of this posting so you may want to take advantage of them as soon as possible before they’re gone!


HD MARILYN: Deal expires in 2 days (6/5/13)



Cal Tan Professional Bronzer: Deal expires tommorrow (6/4/13)



Level 3 session: Deal expires in 3 days (6/6/13)


HD Famous Faces: Deal expires in 2 days (6/5/13)


$15 Versa Spa Spray Tanning Session: Deal expires in 4 days (6/7/13)


Cypher Face Tanning Lotion w/ Hi-Lite Bronzers: Deal expires in 1 day (6/3/13)


Honey Face Facts 95% Natural Facial Tanning Lotion: Deal expires TODAY (6/3/13) 


Skinny Bronzer Step 2: Deal expires in 2 days (6/5/13)



Fact or Myth? #17: “My burn fades into a tan”

PoolWe’ve all been there before. You’ve spent way too much time at the pool reading the new Stephanie Meyers book, hoping it will be as good as her last series (it’s not), when suddenly you realize what time it is. You’ve been out way too long. You know you’re probably going to burn, but it’s a small price to pay to the tanning gods for the beautiful bronze skin you’ll have afterwards (as long as you don’t peel!). ‘My tan will fade into a burn’ you promise yourself, as you put cocoa butter lotion on to thwart the peeling effect before it has even begun. You don’t peel (whew!), and days later you notice a brown color where the burn used to be. It worked! But how? Do burns fade into tans? You had a burn and now you have a tan! But what would’ve happened if you didn’t burn? Would you have gotten an even better tan, without the pain or skin damage?


“Hogwash! My burn fades into a tan! I’ve seen it!”Well, what is a burn? Burning side-effects include the reddening and tenderness of the skin that accompanies the skin damage…a sign that the book you were reading on your tablet by the pool was just too good to put down and go in for. However, the reddness and tender skin has nothing to do with the tan. The redness is from blood rushing to the skin to help facilitate repairs. The bursting capillaries in the skin can be very painful as well and cause stinging. However, nothing about blood rushing, bursting capillaries, or redness is involved in the tanning process, a process which includes using amino acids to produce a protein pigment called Melanin, that then color the cells. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. The minute you burn (what’s called a Minimal Erythmal dose or MED) your body stops producing melanin in order to repair the skin. Instead of using nutrients in the skin to produce a tan, it uses those nutrients to repair skin damage instead, thus lessening the tan you could’ve gotten. So, in essence, a burn stops the tanning process.

So why the tan afterwards then? The simple answer is damage. The brown skin you are seeing is not a normal tan (produced by Melanin which is a naturally dark anti-oxidant and pigment), but rather a dry damaged layer of skin on top of healthy skin. Skin that is overly dry from damage appears darker. This is what we refer to as the leathery look. Dry, damaged skin.The difference between a grape and a raisin, or a pig and a pigskin (football). The tan you see after a burn is actually just dehydrated skin. You can tell as the color doesn’t last very long and doesn’t look like a normal tan that is flush with natural melanin that requires hydration to flourish in the skin. You are only seeing dehydrated skin.

The burn that fades into a tan has become a myth due to the fact that, for most, perception is reality. However, a person who uses good lotions and builds their color gradually will have vastly better skin, deeper color tans, more natural color, and tans that last much much longer.

So skip the baby oil, turn off your iPad, and go inside before it gets too late. Never burn and take care of your skin and you’ll have the tan of your life!

Top 10 customer purchased lotions of 2013

Every year new dozens of new lotions come out, with new technology, and we are often just as excited as many customers to try out the new products and are sometimes shocked at which lotions customers absolutely love. Even more shocking are the lotions that are not brand new that still remain as top-sellers and customer and employee faves. These are the top lotions purchased in 2013 from thousands of customers nationwide.


10. HD Marilyn (Step 2) Optimizer Bronzer ($110)

The HD line of lotions has been California Tan’s most successful branding yet. Lotions named after Hollywood starlets, fresh scents, and sporting technology that helps even our skin tone while producing deep rich color has shown to be a winning combination for customers. It’s no surprise then that the most written about starlet in the world has reached our Top 10 in lotions as the most purchased and loved HD lotion ever. The HD Marilyn is the most advanced HD lotion ever made. It by all accounts smells amazing, gives amazing color with the ‘optimizer bronzer’ technology, and sports an ourstanding 22 bronzers.














9. Expose Luxe Body Lotion (Step 3) ($35)

The Expose line is fully represented in the top lotions with 3 different Expose lotions making up the Top 10. The Expose Step 3 Body Lotion is the only Step 3 (Tan Extender) to make it to the top. Step 3’s have become more popular as the technology of these lotions has advanced. Step 3’s are after care products, used at home, that replace the exact nutrients in the skin that is lost in the tanning process, as well as feed the skin what it uses to produce a tan, extends tanning and sunless tanning results, and keeps your tan looking deep and more natural, and works to reverse the aging process. The Expose Step 3 is different from the others as it is a rich lotion sporting Shea and Pumpkin Butters as well as luxurious moisturizers. It contains age reversing technology (Renovage) as well as soothing antioxidant rich Coconut Water.








8. HD Mann Bronzer (Step 2) ($94)

The HD Mann is a real man’s lotion. Fresh clean scents, deep rich bronzers, light and quick absorbing…it is a guy’s product. Smelling like you just got out of the shower is a big bonus to our men who love to tan but not smell like they did. Most guy products on the market skimp on the skincare or just change fragrances…not this one. Guys have thicker skin and require different delivery systems for nutrients. The HD Mann has this covered by delivering just what a guy needs to keep his skin hydrated with the latest in Anti-aging, skin smoothing, and deep, natural tanning results. To our shock, many women buy these products for themselves as the deep color development is immediately apparent after just a few uses. With a companion Step 1 and a Body Wash, this product has been a fan favorite since the day it came out.








7. HD Fab ($98)

When the HD Fab came out it was in our top spot for quite some time. It was only a few of the Step 1’s that had a bronzer (17 of them), and the results employees and customers get the first tan was not seen previously in a Step 1 lotion quite like it was with the HD Fab. It’s scent was the clincher though. A non-traditional fresh fragrance, rich moisturizers, and  amazing tanning technology made for one popular lotion. The HD Fab is only 1 out of 2 Step 1’s in our Top 10 and for good reason…it is amazing. It also makes a fantastic pairing with HD Marilyn Step 2 listed above.











6. Puritea ($60)

Usually with natural products you have a trade out. Smells, results, etc. don’t always stack up to traditional products. This is not the case with the Puritea which has become a homerun hit due to the fact that it has one of the cleanest smells, deepest most natural looking bronzers, fair and mid level price point, and feels amazing on the skin…oh did we mention it is also 95% natural? The level of anti-oxidants in this lotion is very impressive as well, stacking up to some big name brands sold for almost twice the price at retail stores. This natural product is truly where science and nature meet to produce the next generation of products that exceed our expectations and have us question what a lotion should be and what we really want out of a product.







5. JWOWW Black 50x Bronzer ($75)

When we learned that the Jersey Shore famed Jennifer Farley (JWOWW) was making a lotion, we were curious as to how the lotion would work, feel, etc. Would it be a quality product people would love, or would it be a celebrity gimmick? We were leaning towards gimmick until…we tried it! With the power of the largest tanning lotion manufacturer in the world behind her (Australian Gold), JWOWW shocked us all by coming out with a lotion that was not just good, but amazing. Her lotions are always special products. She spends weeks meeting with chemists at AG headquarters, choosing ingredients, and even designs all of her own packaging herself. Her dedication shows in the careful delivery of the top ingredients, unprecedented bronzers, and amazing fragraces. JWOWW has graced us with several iterations at this point, and each one seems to be better than the next. There’s another JWOWW product in the Top 10, but we won’t spoil it just yet and let you scroll down to see where it placed.



4. California Tan Color Maximizer ($25)

A sunless product in the Top 5??? What? If you haven’t ever done sunless, you really don’t know what you’re missing. It’s a weeks worth of tanning in just a few minutes, and the Color Maximizer has quickly become the most loved product of all time. Employees who spray say they will not spray without it, it’s that good. It is the type of accelerator that shows immediate results by accelerating your spray tan development, deepens the color by allowing the spray to absorb deeper into the skin, evens out skin texture for sunless, and helps the spray results last longer. The fact that it has the most amazing smell we’ve ever carried probably doesn’t hurt either. It’s not a lotion, but a light, clear gel applied immediately before doing a sunless tan. It adds amino acids used during the development of your spray to ensure you get the deepest, most natural-looking color imaginable. The Maximizer is easily our most re-purchased lotion that customers come back and get again and again! With the new 360degree spray version coming out in mid to late 2013 we expect the Maximizer to become even more popular and move up in placings by the end of the year!




3. Expose Au Naurel Bronzer (Step 1) ($45)

With the Expose Body Lotion (#9 above) being so popular, customers demanded an actual tanning lotion. They couldn’t get enough and wanted to be able to use their expose in the bed, not just at home. Thus the Step 1 Expose was born! With the rich Shea and Pumpkin Butters, the Age Reversing technology, California Tan wanted to make it more than just an amazing moisturizer. The Expose Step 1 is packed with Cal Tan’s proprietary ‘Vitatan Complex’ which feeds the skin what it uses to produce melanin, as well as being only one of a few Step 1’s to actually contain a bronzer. This lotion not only helps you produce an amazing deep tan, it helps improve skin texture, tonality, and neutralizes free-radicals. It’s what we’d call a triple-threat lotion!















2. Expose Luxe Bronzer (Step 2) ($65)

Yep. That’s right…another Expose lotion! This one rounds out the 3rd Expose lotion on this list! Why is this one more popular than the other 2 and second in line in our Top 10? One word…color! Packed with Copper Dioxide and Tissue Respiratory Factors, your color is bronzed instantly and melanin is flooded with pure oxygen deepening your tone. Add to this deep bronzers and Expose’s famous Shea and Pumpkin Butters, as well as the Renovage Age Reversing technolgy and you can see why it is so loved. Also, the smell is amazing as are the other Expose products. We think a scratch and sniff monitor should be invented simply to be able to smell this lotion all day while at the office. We hope you are listening Dell.







#1 LOTION: JWOWW One-and-Done Advanced Black Bronzer ($68)

This one was not really a surprise to us. While Jersey Shore may not dominate the airwaves as it once did, JWOWW defintely dominates the tanning industry. As the #1 selling lotion to both customer AND employees we cannot express how much we love this lotion. It’s the culmination of decades of tanning lotion research by powerhouse and #1 tanning lotion manufacturer Australian Gold, and true dedication from an actual tanner in Jennifer Farley (JWOWW) who helped bring this product to fruition. With yogurt based infused with pear and black currant, as well as essential oils, and an unprecedented proprietary bronzing system (guaranteed to get you tan in just one use) it’s easy to see why this lotion has skyrocketed into the #1 spot so quickly. This is JWOWW’s 5th tanning product and we like to say the 5th time is the charm! She and Australian Gold have outdone themselves with a truly unique, one-of-a-kind, special, and outstanding product that will change what you think tanning lotion can do for your tan. If you’re a skeptic about using a tanning lotion…you’ve obviously never tried this one.

7 Tips to Sunless Perfection!

Ever worried about trying spray tan? Have a bad experience with spray tan in the past? Here are the expert tips  to guarantee deep, flawless, airbrushed looking results every time

7. Not too dry, not too wet!

Too oily or recently lotioned skin can create a barrier, not allowing absorbtion of the active bronzing ingredient (DHA). However, overly dry skin is even worse. It not only creates uneven results, as dry skin exfoliates unevenly, the dry skin can actually prevent absorbtion as well. Think of the dry desert that floods when it rains as the ground is too dry to absorb the fast falling rain water. The key is to keep your skin healthily moisturized daily, but not immediately before the spray tan. The spray tan should be done with freshly exfoliated, clean, and unlotioned skin.


“Too dry of skin is just as bad (if not worse) than skin that is overly moisturized.”

6. Barrier Cream! But only where you need it.

If you’ve ever wondered what that bottle of lotion in the room is, or the white lotion in the dispenser,  it is barrier cream. Barrier cream blocks the absorbtion of the spray tan and is used to protect those places that should never look tan (palms, heels, etc.) from getting brown by the spray. Most people apply one big glob of it to their palms and feet, but you should actually apply 2 layers for the best look. Do one light layer on your whole hand (the top and palm from the wrist to the fingers) and another light layer on the feet (from the ankles down). Rub this in like hand lotion until it’s fully absorbed. Since the tops of your hands from the wrist down, and the tops of your feet from the ankle down are naturally lighter than the rest of your body, this light layer rubbed in will create an under the skin layer that has a natural blending effect in these trouble areas. After the light layers on the hands and feet, do a second top layer on the palms and heels. This will give you a second over the skin barrier in places that should get NO color whatsoever.

Once your spray tan is over and you are about to dry off, make sure you wipe all barrier cream off first before drying off your body as getting that barrier cream anywhere but where you wanted it (hands and feet) could spell trouble for wherever it touches. Use one towel to get the barrier cream off, and a separate fresh clean towel for your body!

Barrier Cream

“Most people apply one big glob of it to their palms and feet, but you should actually apply 2 layers for the best look.”

5. Wipe from the bottom!

Gravity is great and all, but when it comes to beauty it is often blamed for a lot! Spray tanning seeks to tarnish gravity’s reputation even further. Once you have sprayed (particularly Mystic Tan) you will have excess solution on the skin when you get out. These lovely little clear or brown droplets will normally just sit there waiting patiently to be toweled off. However, occasionally they can collect and due to gravity can turn into a downward river of liquid droplets running down a leg or arm. This is what is called ‘streaking’. It isn’t common, but definitely not fun when it does happen. To avoid the drip tan leg look forever, when you get out don’t dry your face first and work your way down (this is the most common post-shower practice) but should be done the opposite when spray tanning. Start with the bottom of your legs and wipe upward to prevent dripping. After your legs do your arms starting from the wrists going upwards to the shoulders, then do the torso, back, and finally the face last. This may seem backwards to how you normally dry off (face-first) but remember you are fighting gravity here and time is of the essence!

drying off

4. Use an accelerator! It’s like Miracle Grow for your tan.

Most people think that spray tanning is a dye, stain, or body paint. Actually it is a completely clear, sugar-derived extract that reacts with amino acids in the skin to change the color of your cells. There are several amino acids the active ingredient DHA (dihydroxyacetone) uses to make you look bronze, and a deficiency in any of these amino acids can yeild less than desirable results, or lighter than desired color. A spray tan accelerator puts the exact amino acids used in this process directly onto the skin right before you spray ensuring you get the darkest, most natural color imaginable. It can also increase the longevity of your spray tan (by bringing the solution deeper) as well as accelerate the development time! Out of all of our sunless products, our most popular accelerator is the CT Sunless Maximizer ($24), a customer and staff fave. Other available accelerators include Mystic Tan’s Accelerator (HyperTan), and VersaSpa’s Pre-tan intensifier.


3. Use the right products at home!

What you do before you come in and after you leave will make a huge difference on how much you love your results and if you can keep them up! Using products that contain heavy oils before coming in (body washes, scrubs, lotions, and even shaving creams) will create a barrier between you and your tan. It may also cause the dripping issue we mentioned above (#5). Yikes! Stay away from oils before you come in. In fact, many oils may strip your tan after the fact as well. Ironically, some lotions designed to give you sunless color (we are looking at you Jergen’s Natural Glow) contain these tan stripping oils in order to make you have to use and buy more and more of them!

Check ingredients for these common tan stripping ingredients:

Mineral Oil: It is a petroleum  (yes, Petroleum!) based skin softener that not only strips your tan but also clogs your pores and has been known to have extreme effects on the skin. This is a common ingredient in cheap lotions (coco butters, suave, etc.) and is also found in Jergens Natural Glow and others. Avoid it like the plague if you don’t want to have to spray every single day. We have seen customer’s almost double their tan’s life by scrapping just this one ingredient!

Petrolatum: Also a petroleum based skin softener that clogs the pores and strips the tan. This is used much less than the aforementioned Mineral Oil, but is prevalent in body butters mainly and really rich body creme washes as well as the Jergen’s. Again, avoid it not just for your tan, but for your skin. It’s a cheap ingredient that doesn’t lock in moisture, but just makes your skin feel soft. Hydrated skin and soft skin are not always the same thing.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate: Also known as SLS, this is the most common ingredient in body washes as it is a pretty strong detergent and lathers well. However, It will strip your tan quicker than anything. Look for products that contain the less harsh Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate or a more natural coconut derived sulfate. Our favorite is the Expose Luxe Body Wash ($23) as it is completely SLS-Free, has Shea and Pumpkin butters and smells unbelievably decadent.


“Ironically, some lotions designed to give you sunless color (we are looking at you Jergen’s Natural Glow) contain these tan stripping oils in order to make you have to use and buy more and more of them!”

Each location sells at-home sunless products guaranteed to not just be tan-safe, but to help extend the life of your tan, keep it looking natural, and prepare you for your next tan. These are usually pretty inexpensive. You can also look for products that are not going to strip your tan…usually somewhere at the higher end lotions at your pharmacy. The cheaper you go the more Mineral Oil and Petrolatum will be in them.

2. PH Balance! 

So much of the color of your tan has to do with your PH Balance. This is a delicate balance that can be easily thrown off by extras on your skin. The main culprit is fragrance lotion. As we mentioned above, make sure not to use a regular lotion before spray tanning as it creates a barrier, but also the fragrance can throw off your PH balance which can adversely affect your tan. Spraying cologne or perfume on the skin before or immediately following a spray tan will have the same effect as the alcohol will dry the skin and the fragrance will alter the PH as well. If you must spray on perfume to smell good, mist on your clothes or in your hair for the day and avoid the skin. Using an accelerator (as mentioned above) will neutralize your PH balance directly before tanning as well.


“If you must spray on perfume to smell good, mist on your clothes or in your hair for the day and avoid the skin.”

1. Exfoliate, Exfoliate, Exfoliate!

This is the #1 recommendation for all spray tanners! Exfoliating before spraying is the best step you can take to make sure you are working with an even canvas to apply color to. Your skin is not naturally smooth and even. It is naturally jagged, and the dryest skin is on the outermost layer. Dry skin (see #7 above) is bad, as is jagged skin textures. If you apply color on uneven skin, than as the tan fades, it will fade unevenly. If you’ve ever experienced this uneven tan look it’s from not exfoliating. No need to rush out and buy a sugar scrub just yet (actually most of those contain oils you want to avoid). Just a good loofah and some elbow grease wil do the trick usually. Speaking of elbows, remember to get those good as well as other particularly dry areas. Sunless exfoliants that won’t affect your tan and require much less scrubbing are available at your salons in many different brands. Our favorite is Califonia Tan’s Body Buffer Exfoliator for Sunless Tanning as it actually lathers (most scrubs do not) and smells amazing. If you spray often, don’t skip the scrubbing in between sprays (it will not lessen your results)! You don’t want buildup. Exfoliating in between will only enhance your next spray, not take off your last one. Exfoliate every time!


“Exfoliating before spraying is the best step you can take to make sure you are working with an even canvas to apply color to.”

Instructions on doing Mystic Tan & VersaSpa

3 Deals for Memorial Day

Is it already Memorial Day again? This year Darque Tan is going all out with 3 amazing deals:


$20 for a “tanning cocktail” (reg. $68).

For those not familiar with the famed “California Cocktail” made famous by celebs such as Paris Hilton, Penelope Cruz, Eva Longoria, and others, it is when you do both a Spray Tan and a traditional UV tan back-to-back. Since the spray is completely cosmetic they accent each other well, especially for a weekend spent at the beach, by the lake, or at the pool.




$50 FREE when you buy a $100 package! Packages are excellent ways to tan as they don’t require membership or startup fees and allow you to do any bed you want. This is a great way to get your first package or to renew one that is running out as you get one free! Packages can be used for Spray Tanning in either Mystic Tan or Versa Spa Tanning booths as well as all UV beds!

by Darque Tan



BOGO Lotions! By far our most popular deal! Buy any tanning lotion and get a second tanning lotion absolutely free. This is what most salon owners pay for lotions, and right now customers can get these kinds of discounts for themselves for Memorial Day!

by Darque Tan