Sometimes weird things happen to the best applied tan, and a Technician may be at a loss as to what went wrong.

Usually the first thought is “bad” solution, but in many cases the solution is not at fault. Especially if the problem only occurs with one or two clients, but does not occur on every single client.

This is your first indication, that something is happening on the clients end, not from a product defect.

Understanding the causes of most “bad” spray tans, can help you maintain consistently great results, foresee and help prevent issues, and better advise a client when something does goes wrong.  Which will happen at some point.

Today we are looking at why a product that is fresh, and looks Brown in the bottle – turns green on your client

The Bronzer

A product that applies brown, but develops a Green color after application, or during, the tan development process is usually related to the bronzer only.

Though it looks unsightly, showering often removes the green discoloration. In some cases, the skin may be lightly stained; have client gently exfoliate the stained area to remove the residual tint. Read on to understand the WHY this happeans…………..

Product Residue

Green tans are usually the result of some type of product, or product residue on the skin surface. Just because the client says they showered, that still does not mean all debris or product residue is removed.  Hair conditioner, shampoos, soaps, exfoliate products, moisturizers, shave products, sweat and skin oils, can all leave a residue on the skin. This residue is interacting with the brown bronzer colorants in your spray solution.

For future visits, this client should exfoliate skin with a baking soda and water paste, or a mild translucent (non-milky) non-coating shower gel/baking soda paste.

Alternatively a mild non coating shower gel with exfoliating gloves mitts or pad may also be used, if client cleans skin thoroughly hitting all skin areas after use of other showering products. (Click HERE for an example)

Scrubs may be used if  the client scrubs well over ALL skin areas as the final shower step, and if you already know their scrubs are PreTan Prep Friendly  (click HERE for a residue free scrub that works well for pretan prep)

Keep in mind, not all scrubs work well as a pretan prep product, as many may coat or leave residue on the skin. This is what you want to avoid.

The exfoliation or scrub should be the final step after shaving, and rinsing soaps, shampoos and conditioner from the body. The exfoliation step is done last to REMOVE previously used showering products from the skin.

No products should be applied to skin pre-tan, until you “know” they are not causing the green issue. A skin prep spray, or disposable exfoliation cloth/wipe, can be used for last minute skin cleaning at the spray facility. (CYA Prep spray available HERE)

Sweat –

Green feet usually come from foot sweat. Either the client put freshly sprayed feet into an old sweaty pair of shoes, or their feet sweated in the shoes after being sprayed. Even very light perspiration can do this. Dried sweat inside the shoes can do this if it is heavy.

Green from sweat residue lso may happen in arm pits, behind knees, elbow and neck bends, around and under breasts etc.

If the client sweats in any body areas just before or after applying a fresh spray tan, they may see green patches.

Foreign products

Foot lotions, sprays or powders used to deodorize feet often contain ingredients that can “green” a tan. Even residues of these products in shoes can rub onto freshly sprayed feet.

Powder feet with a body powder before client leaves, and advise clients to wear a loose thongs type sandles on the feet post tan, for about 4 to 6 hours.


Green armpits come from Antiperspirant products or residue. Clients should gently scrub/exfoliate underarms before being sprayed, and avoid antiperspirants until roughly four hours after being sprayed. Powder underarms after spraying if needed.
If they can handle them, the long lasting “Clinical” level Antiperspirants, are a good option. They can be applied the day before the tan, skin can be washed the next AM, yet you will still stay dry. (apply before bed to minimize irritation or itching)

Deodorant only products (that contain no antiperspirants or aluminum salts) may be applied after tanning. These will not prevent sweating, but will lessen odor.


Green marks on the wrists or fingers is often from metal contact with jewelry or watches. DHA may oxidizeswhen in contact with some metals. Solutions should never be stored, or stirred with metal implements. Products containing metals should not be applied to the skin pretan, or on freshly sprayed skin. (common in most Anti-persperants)


Green “spots” on skin. Make sure client has not applied any products to skin pre or post tan. Bug sprays, perfumes, etc, can all be issues on some people. Wait until tan develops before adding other products to skin.

Old Product

If the tanning solution itself is green, this is from an old or stale product or one that has been exposed to heat or air. This is not because of mold or other contamination. It is a damaged product. The green coloration is related to a breakdown in the visible product colorants, or the bronzer colors.

This product “may” still produce some DHA tan, though it will often be lighter than normal, or fade faster.  Depending on degree of damage, no tan color may result.  When a product is green in the bottle it is best to dispose of this product as it will not perform correctly.

Refrigeration of all tanning produces, complete consumption within 90 days, and preventing exposure to heat, temperature fluctuations and UV exposure will extent product stability, and provide optimal tanning product performance