The biggest cause of Orange tans is directly related to the DHA Level used on the client. (see this link for Skintype/DHA level post)


But other factors can also be involved.

Below are other considerations to keep in mind.

Dry Skin Concerns:

Very dry skin can turn orange easily. This is often seen on winter skin, that normally does not turn orange easily at other times of year. It is recommended to use a lighter product, and/or premoisterize the skin with our Moist Aire spray.

Skin dryness and oiliness and skin porosity, time of year (as it relates to skin dryness) humidity, can all make a client more or less likely to develop orange. Even with a low DHA product.  Make adjustments as needed.

Skin Prep:

Poor exfoliation can cause unnatural development color.  Please advise client to exfoliate well with nylon mesh gloves, or exfoliation mitt, and a mild plain non moisturizing shower gel. Many exfoliation scrubs, and cleansing bars can leave residue on the skin.

Advise clients to cleanse skin again after using a scrub or shaving, unless it is a product specifically formulated for self-tanning prep.

Exfoliation tips are listed in the FAQ section of this website.


Product Application Amounts:

Avoid applying too much product, or to many layers at once. When using Maximist equipment and solution, you should only apply 2 ozs per client, in two 1 oz coats.  Once you are familiar with your client, and how they react to the product you use on them, you can then layer more coats with in the same session or with in a 24 hour time frame.

Generally, you should wait at least 24-72 hours before applying additional product, to allow complete color development.  DHA blends typically peak in color development at roughly 24-48 hours. Erythrulose /DHA blends can take up to roughly 48-72 hours to fully darken.

Development Timing:

Leaving airbrush tanning solution product on the skin to long for that client (for best color depth, shower at 8-12 hours, but if this is to dark for your client, advise them to shower at 4 or 6 hours for lighter color. Rapid Tan should not be left on longer than 6 hours, or less depending on skint ype)

All of our solutions are brown. Each blend comes in a different product depth (DHA percentage) so you can best match your clients individual skin depth needs. The different ingredients within each blend will influence the final color and tone of that blend, based on that client, and how it reacts with their skin. Not every blend will be identical in color and depth to another blend in our line.

Moisturizing blends vs Quick dry:

Blend type will affect both absorbency, as well as developmental color, depth and wear.  A very moisturizing blend may absorb a bit slower, then a quick dry. The final color may be a bit lighter, but “smoother” with a moisturizing blend vs a quick dry. Often a moisturizing blend is more forgiving.

The skin adhesion will differ with both blend types, so adjustments often will need to be made with spray style, technique, and gun adjustments.

Dark Bronzers and how they factor in:

A dark bronze product will stain the skin more than a medium or lighter bronzer product. This can create a darker tan, and can also “hide” or temporarily mask orange or brassy tones.  This effect will normally last 2-4 days roughly.  At this point orange or brassy tones will have often faded.

On some clients a very dark bronzer may fade less evenly or be harder to exfoliate off.

Skin care products, medications, hormonal issues:

Certain medications or hormonal life events can affect the way a tan develops, both in coloration and wear and fade.

Some women find that hormonal based medications or contraceptive products can prevent a tan from developing as darkly, or change the color. Menopause, menstruation, breast feeding and pregnancy can all change hormonal levels in the body, altering how a sunless tan develops and wears.

Certain lotions, soaps and body care products, used pre and post tan, can change a tan color. We address this more fully in the FAQ pages of this site.

Fragile and Delicate Thin Skin:

Skin can change through life, in thickness and texture as it ages, becomes damaged from UV or life stresses, or due to client’s health or medications. Anything that makes skin less healthy, or more fragile can hamper the way a tan develops. Thin or fragile skin can more easily turn orange, so adjust DHA levels used.

Lighting and environment:

Clients tans may look great in normal lighting, but look off color in florescent lighting, cloudy or overcast lighting or other “different” lighting environments. This is due to the way light is filtered, and how the view-able color spectrum changes.

Florescent lighting tends to look “warmer” or “yellower” which can make a tan look to yellow or brassy or off color.

Natural outdoor light is cooler or bluer. Cloud cover can enhance this effect, depending on density.

So the image the eye sees, is not a true representation of the true tan color, but is altered by the unique environment. The eye is “tricked” and not seeing the actual color of the tan. Sort of like viewing objects through tinted sun glasses.

Depending on the specific issues, some products with a dark brown staining bronzer or violet browner can help, off-set this issue. Or tanning the client “lighter” so the color tones are less strong (less visible to the eye)

But it cannot always be fixed in every situation, without cosmetic enhancements.

See a perfect example below, in how lighting changes alter the final skin appearance coloration.


Image is from the website:

The young lady above provides some great tips on her blog site, on makeup adjustments, one can make in different lighting environments to help skin look more realistic and natural in coloration and tone.