Airbrush Tan Vs Spray Tan

Airbrush Tan Vs Spray Tan

In this guide, we’re going to compare airbrush tans and spray tans. Contrary to popular belief, these two tanning methods are not the same.

As a tanning enthusiast, I hear people mixing these two up all the time. Both options can help you achieve an artificial tan without the use of harmful UV rays. They rely on DHA to darken the skin and provide natural-looking pigmentation.

However, spray tans and airbrush tans utilize distinct techniques that provide noticeably different results.

Airbrush Tan Vs Spray Tan: At a Glance

Generally, most experts agree that airbrush tanning is the best out of these two options. The sheer versatility of this technique trumps spray tans. You can get a truly natural look that’s fine-tuned to your exact needs.

That said, the right choice all depends on your priorities!

Spray tans have a lot to offer and are more accessible than airbrush applications. They’re more affordable and can serve you well if you need some quick all-over coverage.

The truth is that both sunless tanning options have their advantages and disadvantages. Keep reading to learn how these methods compare in terms of versatility, coverage, and safety.


The first thing to consider is coverage. As mentioned earlier, both techniques utilize DHA. DHA lotion comes in varying percentages that you can choose based on your needs. A higher number reflects the concentration of DHA, which impacts the overall tone.

Airbrush tans and spray tans cater to the needs of many, allowing you to choose a percentage that’s right for you.

But as for the actual coverage on your skin, things vary a bit.

You see, airbrush tans are done by an experienced professional. They utilize a spray gun that can get into every nook and cranny. Those hard-to-reach spots like the inner thigh are no match for a skilled applicator. As a result, you can experience even head-to-toe coverage.

With a spray tan, you’re stepping into an automated booth! It’s a unique modern marvel that gets the job done in only a few minutes. The nozzles spray your chosen solution onto your body. While the spray application is pretty reliable, how much coverage you get depends on your ability to follow directions!

These booths instruct you to stand in various positions. You only have a few seconds to move, so results can vary quite a bit if you’re not well-versed in the art of spray tans.

So, which method is better: Airbrush tan vs spray tan? For coverage, we have to give it to airbrushing. As long as you’re working with a skilled applicator, there’s no way to mess things up!

Airbrush Tan Vs Spray Tan


Whether you choose an airbrush tan or a spray tan, you’ll have the chance to select your color. Typically, spray tan machines tend to be a bit more reliable due to the preprogrammed application. But as far as full customization goes, nothing holds a candle to airbrush tans.

When you work with an airbrushing professional, you have complete control over how the solution gets on your skin.

Need only to apply the tan on specific parts of your body?

They can do that!

What about using different tones in different areas?

Professional applicators can get the job done!

Airbrushing is a great way to transform your body with color. Tan contouring is all the rage these days. The only way to get a contour is with airbrushing. Spray tan machines just aren’t equipped to handle complex jobs like that just yet.

Application Experience

Next up, let’s talk about the experience itself.

There are many differences between airbrush tans and spray tans. Airbrushing is a more intimate experience. Whether you visit a salon or hire a tanning professional to come to you, it’s a one-on-one encounter.

This may be uncomfortable for those who don’t want to get undressed with others in the room. However, professionals are well-trained and usually quite respectful of clients.

The good news is that you can request airbrushing pretty much anywhere. Have the applicator visit you at home or hire them for a big event like a wedding! It’s a more personal experience through and through. In most cases, full-body tans take about 15 to 20 minutes. That’s not including any setup time and the applicator needs to get up and running.

Spray tans are a little more private, which is a big boon for anyone who doesn’t want to show their body off to anyone else. Your only companion is the machine itself.

They’re also a lot faster, taking a mere five to seven minutes!

The one downside, however, is that you can’t take the tanning booth with you. It’s not a hirable service like airbrushing, so your only choice is to visit a salon.

So, which offers the best experience?

This one is a toss-up! It all depends on your needs and preferences. If you are a more private person and don’t want to undress in the presence of another, spray tans are the way to go. But if you’re going to tan at home, you’ll need to hire an airbrush artist!

Airbrush Tan Vs Spray Tan


Last but not least, there’s the price.

Airbrushing is inherently more expensive than getting a spray tan. Airbrush tans are done by a professional. Not only are you paying for the solution itself, but you also have to pay for the applicator’s time.

Prices can vary pretty dramatically based on the skills of the tanning professional. You may be looking at well over $100 for an artist who is in high demand. That doesn’t include any travel or setup costs. If you’re hiring for an event, the prices go up significantly.

Spray tans, on the other hand, are pretty affordable. Machines are quick and easy to operate, allowing owners to fit several appointments in during the day. Automated devices don’t get tired!

Usually, a spray tanning session costs about $25 to $30. Of course, prices can fluctuate based on the location and demand.

The obvious winner here is spray tanning. It’s far more affordable because there’s no real person involved. Everything is done by a machine, which is a low-cost alternative to the skills of an expert.

The Winner

The clear winner of this comparison is airbrush tanning. The airbrush application method is more personal and relies on the skills of a professional. For this reason, you get a more natural finish with subtle color nuances and full customization.

That’s not to say that spray tans are bad. A spray tan is an excellent option if you’re on a budget or short on time. It’s also a better choice if you don’t want to get undressed in front of another person. However, airbrushing is, without a doubt, the best application method if you prioritize getting a top-notch finish.

So, what are you waiting for? Head down to your local tanning place and schedule an appointment to get some safe color in your skin today!

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