Spray Tanning solutions normally are tinted with a temporary brown cosmetic tint, which will wash away when the client showers. This allows the technician to see the product easily during application. This also gives clients immediate satisfaction, as they walk out the door tanned. Client has a visual reminder, as they move through the day, that they have spray tanning solution on their skin, so they are more careful while washing hands, sweating etc during the development phase.

However, some companies do carry clear (tint free) versions of self tanning solutions as well. These are the same as the tinted product, but without the temporary brown visible color added. The products still contain the self tanning ingredients DHA, and will still darken in the same manner over 12 hours or so. They should still be showered off at the appropriate time-frame to lessen over darkening and clothing rub-off of excess product form the skin surface.  Think of them as the equivalent of a white lotion self tanning product vs. a brown tinted lotion self tanning product. Same final tan results, by they differ in the product appearance visually, during application

Tampa Bay Tan makes three product in ether a Bronze version (with the added cosmetic brown tint) or a Clear version (with no added brown tint) – they work in the same manner, except one product is brown when sprayed on, and one is clear, like water when sprayed on.

They are:

The clear products look much like “thicker” clear /slightly milky water when sprayed on, though you may see a bit of “sheen” during application. These are not usually the best option for a beginner, but most experienced Technicians can work with them easily after a bit of practice. The spray technique is exactly the same, and if you apply two coats, and use bright lights, you will normally be able to easily cover all areas without missing any.


  • Client can leave work “untanned” getting sprayed at lunch. They return to work, without looking like they “just got a spraytan” – color will darken gradually through the day. So they do not feel like they look “just done”
  • Less clothing/bedding transfer – the majority of transfer seen before you shower, is from the appearance of the visable brown tint in the solution that rubs or sweats off on clothing or bedding. When using a clear product, the product is not “seen” if it transfers to textiles. Some brides like this option to lessen concerns around product transfer onto clothing (though they should shower of excess product before they dress, which also would prevent any transfer in most cases.)
  • Less discoloration on moles and skin or age spots – skin imperfections often absorb solution unevenly, looking over-dark. This will happen with any solution, but the darkening effect is less prominent with a clear product. See this article for more information on spraying skin with age spots.
  • Better fading on some light skinned clients – some clients, especially very fair, may find they have areas that fade unevenly when a dark tinted bronzer product is used. Switching to a clear blend, can provide smoother more even fading.
  • Good for clients who are sensitive to (or want to avoid) food grade dyes and colorants  (FD&C colors) – since no extra brown colorants or dyes are added, sensitivity is eliminated.
  • Good for clients who do not like the appearance of the temporary bronzer in their favorite tanning product – sprays on clear, and gradually browns up through the day. No “fake tan” bronzer appearance on the skin.
  • Less issues with green bronzer tones from products or sweat on the skin – when a fresh sprayed solution appears green on the skin, it is the bronzer colorant reacting with a product or sweat on the clients skin. When the colorant is removed, the green color does not appear. See example image below, showing a brown and clear tint spray solution applied over anti-antiperspirant products. You will notice the lack of green discoloration.This is explored in detail in this post, addressing the Green Armpit Issue.

  • Less bronzer pooling/collecting in fine lines, or enlarged pores on face. Solution can pool and overdarken in enlarged or open pores, or fine lines. This happens with any solution, but the darker the bronzer, the darker this may be. A clear solution will create less issues in this area.
  • Less pooling in gaping leg pores. The solution will still buildup some in large pores, and may still look brown. But if it does its normally much lighter, without the extra brown tint from the bronzer. Also see the post on Leg Shaving, which addresses this issue in more detail.
  • Longer storage. DHA is a picky ingredient, it does not always play well with others. It tends to get a bit “Mean Girl” when its around other cosmetic colorants and dyes. This can make it a bit unstable, and the brown tint in the solution is more likely to turn green faster. The higher the DHA, and darker the added brown tint, the more likely this is.  A clear solution in the same formula, and DHA level, will be shelf stable longer.

Can you Mix N Match – Clear and Tinted on Different Body areas?

I personally prefer clear blend for my personal use. I can use ether tinted or clear. But I like the advantages with the clear, especially on bedding transfer, as I often sleep in product.

I have some very fine line on my face around my eyes, and the clear definitely works better in this situation for myself. Helping skin look less aged.

If you only have issues in one body area (face for example) and client likes the tinted product appearance on the skin, you can certainly spray the face in a clear product, and do the rest of the body in a Tinted version of the same blend. Tanning results will look the same after showering, and client will have the advantages of the clear product on the trouble areas.


The tanning results are generally the same, or very similar,  with ether a clear or tinted product, when working within the same blend. However for clients that like to use a tinted product, and/or like to leave it on overnight for extra depth of color, they may notice the tan is a little lighter, because they are not receiving the Staining coloration effect from the dark tinted bronzer color on the skin.

For technicians that feel more comfortable with the visual guide produced by the bronzer, using a clear product can seem a bit intimidating at first.

Usually with some practice and good lighting you will find it easy to master in a short time. You will see some wetness on the skin surface as you apply, and if you are using a proper spray technique, where you do skin sections at a time, in order – you will still be covering skin the same manner.