Many reviewers say the easiest way to get the most even-looking sunless tan is at a professional spa or tanning salon. Users say it's the only way to ensure that all hard-to-reach areas are covered. Resulting color is more consistent, and drying times are quick (typically five to 10 minutes). Professional spray tans are available in two forms: airbrush and booth-spray tans. An airbrush tan is applied by a professional technician who uses a handheld sprayer to apply tanning solution evenly over the body.
Booth spray tans, on the other hand, are automated. Consumers step into a booth where tanning solution is sprayed over their entire body by a shower jet, ensuring that even the hardest-to-reach spots are covered. There are a handful of professional service options available to consumers, all of which last about the same four to five days as at-home products; the one you choose depends on how much you're willing to spend.
Mystic Tan UV-Free Spray-On Tanning (*Est. $25 per session) gets the most positive reviews from consumers. Customers stand in a booth and are blasted with tanning solution from a shower jet that moves up and down and side to side to reach every area of the body. A disposable shower cap protects hair, and users are advised to hold their breath to prevent inhaling the tanning solution and close their eyes or wear goggles during spraying. Reviewers say wiping excess solution off with a towel immediately after spraying and using the provided barrier cream to keep certain areas (like elbows, knees, and soles of feet) from getting too dark, creates an even, natural-looking tan.
Some users at MakeupAlley.com complain that it's hard to breathe while the solution is spraying; however, several say Mystic Tan provides a seamless experience. Its biggest boon: Because all areas are covered with the spray-tanning solution, customers don't have to worry about uneven coverage. Another complaint that we uncovered was that the spray can be a bit on the cold side, but newer Mystic Tan HD booths are heated to minimize that.
Though not as widespread, Airbrush tanning (*Est. $50 to $100) is also available at some salons. Individuals can opt to enhance the appearance of their muscles and abs with an airbrushed tan. Unlike Mystic Tan there are no complaints about the inability to breathe during the tanning session. Both applications are easy and provide great results; so when weighing spray tans for application, both will give you great results.
Another boon for Mystic Tan is that it results in a good, even color that dries quickly and is fully developed after approximately six hours. Some users complain about the odor -- but really, all self tanners smell, due to their use of DHA. Luckily, reviewers say the smell wears off as the solution dries. It's also important to note that although a handful of companies offer their own version of booth spray tanning, we didn't find any reviews for them, and they all work in virtually the same manner as Mystic Tan. Airbrush tanning also dries quickly -- within minutes -- but we didn't find any reviews for the service.
Because of its easy application, good even color that dries quickly and its potential value in the category, Mystic Tan is our best reviewed professional spray tan.