Tanning Tips : The Dos and Don'ts of the Fitness Competition Tan
The tan. Oh my goodness, where to start. Well, first off, it's my LEAST favorite part about competing. It's stinky, it's messy, and quite frankly it's just a pain in the a$$. That said, there are definitely some tricks for making the oompa loompa tanning experience MUCH more tolerable.
Probably the MOST important thing to know about competition spray tans (and all spray tans for that matter) is if your skin is in crappy shape, your tan will most likely also be crappy. The good news is that this is an EASY fix. Tip #1: EXFOLIATE & HYDRATE! Starting no later than 2 weeks out from your show, start making every shower a trip to the spa. You don't need any kind of special (or pricy) scrub, I actually make a home made one with just raw sugar and coconut oil. Focus a lot on the dry areas you may have (elbows, knees...) and also on the area that is constantly wrecked by the bottom band on your sports bra. Sounds a little strange, but most women have almost calloused skin from their sports bras! It's not super noticeable, but I know I can for sure feel a difference, and the exfoliating in this area ensures that the tan will react with my skin as evenly as possible. Post shower, lube up. I'm a big fan of the newer aerosol lotions. Why? I'm lazy and REALLY bad about putting lotion on.
Your last shower before your first tan... every tanning company will have a slightly different opinion on how they want your skin "prepped" the day of your tan. Here's what I do, and after three years of competing and using several different tanning companies, I have never had a sketchy orange tan. Tip #2: Late Last Shower & Baking Soda. I shower as close to my tanning appointment as possible. During this shower I shave (with just a razor and water... for information on my tips with body hair, stay tuned for my ebook Competition Countdown) and then exfoliate one last time... but NO oils are allowed! So I bring in a box of baking soda, and mix a palm full with a little water until it's almost paste like. I use that for my last scrub down. It's VERY important that you not use any kind of soaps with oils or moisturizers in them as they can inhibit your skin from taking the tan. Also make sure you wash your face. You need to have completely clean and fresh skin for your appointment.
Shower done, and now you're gonna have a mini freak out if you haven't heard this yet... Tip #3: NO DEODERANT. That's right, if the tanning solution isn't stinky enough, now you get to hang out backstage with a bunch of people who's pits are unprotected. Unfortunately, this is a necessary evil. The ingredients in deodorant can counteract with the tanning solutions and make you turn GREEN. Yes, GREEN. You thought orange was bad? Orange and green is worse. I've seen it in person... you do NOT want to be that girl.
Time to head to the appointment. Many competition teams have cute swag and matching outfits. If you do, and it's post tan appropriate, awesome! If not, here's what to remember. Tip #4: Loose and Baggy - They'll see that bod on stage. Time to cover up. You'll want a long sleeve top, preferably something that opens in the front (no zippers) and baggy pants. My first few shows I stole one of my husbands XL flannels and rocked some comfy PJ pants. This part of the competition is NOT a fashion show. Please Please Please do not sacrifice your tan because you want to look cute backstage. Many of the tanning technicians are wildly talented and fixing little areas where you mess up your tan, but they are not magicians. Make their life easier, and your stress less, by taking proper care of your tan. The WORST thing for your tan is skin on skin contact. Hence the long sleeves and long pants.
This tip is so your makeup artist loves you. Tip #5: DO NOT TAN YOUR FACE. Yes, you'll be two toned, but this is SO important! A good makeup artist will match your foundation to the tone of the tan on your body. The stuff in competition tan is gnarly... and if it's the base of your makeup application, it's VERY likely your makeup will not hold all the way through your show. Competition days are LONG (like 12+ hours sometimes) and you want to look gorg by the time you hit that stage. So just don't do it.
Let's talk bathrooms. Brushing your teeth, washing your hands, PEEING. All things that are a PAIN when a competition tan. TIP #6: BEWARE of Liquid. The tan is not just your basic spray tan, it's filled with cosmetic bronzer that is basically like a layer of paint on your skin. Any type of liquid will instantly remove the tan from that are. Because of this, be VERY careful when bushing your teeth. Like lean way over that sink girl. Washing your hands is out of the question. Yup. It's disgusting. Welcome to fitness competitions!! I always carry baby wipes in my bag so I don't feel totally nasty. Ok, let's talk taking a tinkle. It makes me cringe just thinking about it. Peeing with a competition tan is kind of ridiculous. Some people will say do the cup trick... meaning pee into a cup and then dump it. Uh, gross. I tried that and well, it didn't work out. You absolutely do NOT want to sit down on the toilet seat. The seat contacting your skin will pull the tan off. If you're nervous your hover skills are lacking from low carbs and exhaustion, line the toilet with multiple seat covers or toilet paper to be safe. Me? I just hover and pee. The biggest risk is a tiny splash happening. Does it? Yes. But this is probably the most common tan boo-boo and your tanning company should be able to fix it.
Finally, we come to the time to step on stage, and Tip #7: Get Your Glaze On. Most tanning companies will provide glazing services as part of your competition package. It can be everything from super special glittery sheen that they spray on you, to an oil rub down, to a good ol' can of PAM. Yup, butter flavored bikini babe at your service!! The "glaze" process will accentuate your physique under the stage lighting, so make sure you don't skip this step. If your tanning company is not offering glazing, seriously, bring PAM. It's not glamorous, but it works.
So there you go! My tips for surviving your competition tan. Have more questions? Make sure to subscribe and connect with me... I share my insider secrets.... and feel free to reach out directly using the Contact page!