Time to Glow


Despite the plethora of information available today about the dangers of UV radiation, many people continue to bask in the sun with little protection and visit skin-damaging tanning salons. According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer is the most common of all cancers, and more than 2 million cases of non-melanoma skin cancer are diagnosed yearly in the U.S. In an attempt to encourage more people to protect themselves from the risks of UV radiation, many sunless tanning companies have made further advancements to their already high-tech sunless tanning systems and formulas to help clients achieve a radiant, sun-kissed glow without the harmful sun exposure.

Sunless tanners contain the ingredient dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which is a simple carbohydrate that works by reacting with dead skin cells on the surface of the body, causing them to turn brown. Sunless tanning is available in various forms, such as spray booths, airbrush formulas, and hand-applied lotions. These formulas are constantly being improved to offer clients the safest, most effective way to achieve radiant skin.

Sunless, Inc., for instance, has made sunless tanning a more comfortable experience for clients by adding heat to its system. “Heat helps warm and prepare clients’ skin for ultimate comfort and maximum absorption, ensuring a more even and long-lasting tan,” says Ricky Croft, vice president of marketing. The company first introduced heated technology with its MysticHD equipment last year, and this year, it introduced the EVOLV Sidekick, a heat-infused airbrush-tanning system that offers a choice of four heat-activated, skin-conditioning, skin-moisturizing, and
skin-tanning solutions.

Another recent advancement in sunless tanning is the introduction of fast-acting formulas, which reveal sun-kissed color in two hours. “While many clients love a traditional spray tan and are more than happy to wait five hours for a beautiful golden, dark tan, many are much more time conscience, and the two-hour formulas work brilliantly,” says Mark Robson, director and CEO of SunFX, which was one of the first companies to pioneer a fast-acting tanning formula with its Rapid two-hour color range. Its new Caribbean Rapid is a fast-acting chocolate-based tanning formula that leaves skin a rich brown color.

While sunless tanning is one of the fastest growing spa services, there are still many clients who are uneducated about its benefits. It’s important for spas to effectively market recent sunless tanning advancements to attract new and repeat clients. “Sunless tanning has become an integral part of the beauty market and is growing every year,” says Robson. “Every spa should be honing in on this expanding market by concentrating on marketing the broad appeal of the spray tan to those wishing to look their glowing best for any special occasion.” In addition to marketing to brides-to-be, Robson recommends promoting sunless services to teenagers as a pre-prom treatment. “Marketing to this younger demographic is an excellent way of introducing younger women and men to the spa,” he adds.

Spas can benefit from adding sunless tanning services to their menu of services and can grow profits by packaging them with services like pre-tan exfoliating treatments. The Spa at the Hotel del Coronado (San Diego), for example, offers the Sun-kissed Tan ($130, 50 minutes), which includes a body exfoliation prior to an application of sunless tanning formula. In addition, combining post-tanning products with services helps clients extend their radiant glows and maintain them at home, increase a spa’s bottom line, and keep clients coming back. Croft suggests promoting sunless tanning to all clients at the end of a spa day or after receiving a spa treatment. “Sunless tanning helps clients to look as great as they feel after a day of relaxing and rejuvenating treatments,” he says.

Clients at Raindance Spa at The Lodge at Sonoma Resort & Spa (CA) are made aware of sunless tanning services through online and print advertisements, both effective ways of marketing these services by making clients aware of special offers and the benefits of sunless tanning. The spa offers Body Bronzing ($75, 20 minutes), which utilizes the B.Bronz professional tanning system to highlight and contour the legs, abdominals, cleavage, and other areas. Patty Field, director of spa operations, believes it is important to educate spa concierges on techniques and products so they can sell the treatment and products effectively and intelligently. “Our tanning vendor also offered complimentary services for spa concierges so that they can experience the treatment firsthand—and offer even more genuine feedback,” says Field.

With skin cancer statistics on the rise, more clients than ever are taking sunless tanning services seriously, and it is important for spas to recognize this trend. “Sunless tanning is no longer treated as just a fad but has become a serious component of the beauty industry,” says Robson. “Modern spas are profiting from this growing demand for these services.”


Check out the latest advancements in sunless tanning from these companies.


(707) 546-6240


Fake Bake

(800) 269-9660

Fantasy Tan

(888) FAN-TANS


Infinity Sun

(323) 782-1049


Mystic Tan

(877) 303-3528


Norvell Skin Solutions

(888) 829-2831


St. Tropez

(800) 366-6383


SunFX America

(888) 684-3010


Sunless, Inc.

(877) 668-8826



(877) 303-3528