How To Fix Spray Tan Smudging & Water Marks

May 06, 2022

If you’ve been spray tanning for any amount of time, you've probably come across a situation or two where the client may have a smudge, a little skin to skin transfer or you were tanning a bachelorette party and the sauce was flowing a little too heavy so one of the girls spilled water (or wine) on herself. Some of these, “oh my gosh I can’t believe that just happened,” mistakes will take place. Also, as you know, spray tanning is really a two person job. You not only have to rely on the client to prep and follow after care instructions, but you also have to instruct them during the appointment on how to position their body to get the best results. Unfortunately, there may be times where the client puts their arms down before the tan is completely dry or they have some skin to skin contact between the thighs and the tan smudges or transfers. If you don’t know how to properly handle this type of mistake, it’s easy to have a mini heart attack when you see a dark mark by someone’s underarm or water droplets that have left a streak down their body. The good news is that you can troubleshoot these types of issues that occur during the spray tanning process and fix them so when the client rinses and the tan fully develops, you wouldn't even know there was a potential panic attack in the making!

We understand that in these situations where everything doesn’t go off without a hitch, it can be easy to panic. As an artist, you obviously want your art (the spray tan) to turn out as flawless as possible for the sake of your reputation and so your client feels like a glowing goddess when they leave their appointment! However, part of being a service provider includes fixing some of these “woopsies” when they happen so that, even in an unfortunate circumstance, the client still gets an amazing result that they want to tell all of their friends and family about.

So what do we actually do about this issue when it does happen? Here’s a step by step process you can follow if you find yourself in a circumstance of a smudged spray tan or a watermark mishap:

  • As soon as you see the smudge or transfer, work to fix it right away. It’ll be harder to fix the mistake the more dry the tan is, so if you see your client put their arm down, instruct them to lift that area back up so that you can get to work on fixing it ASAP.
  • Next you’ll want to grab a brush, we recommend using the X-TAN Blending Brush because it has a dual sided brush and sponge to help blend out solution with ease.
  • Lastly, blend the smudge or transfer gently with your brush until the tan appears seamless

Pro Tip: 

As we mentioned in the first bullet point, you want to try to fix these types of mistakes as soon as they happen because if the area has already dried to a certain point, the solution may not blend out with just your brush. In this instance, when you go to fix the area, you can start to feel frustrated and worried that once the tan develops it’ll leave a noticeable inconsistency in the tan. No one wants that! In order to avoid this in the event that the solution isn’t blending on its own, spray your brush with a little bit of prep spray (or pH balancer) and then go back in and blend, blend, blend! It’ll be like nothing ever happened. When your client rinses and the cosmetic bronzer comes off in the shower, the tan itself will still develop evenly after using this little trick of the trade!

As we go through our journey as a sunless artist, we are consistently learning along the way. Although these types of sticky situations can be worrisome in the moment, learning to navigate all the “what ifs” of your service will just help grow you into a stronger, more confident artist and business owner! Take these lessons with stride, give yourself grace and understand that every hiccup can be used to help you become a better service provider for your clients. 

We hope this tan tip helps you the next time you’re with a client and you need to do a quick lil’ fix on the spot! If you are feeling like you aren’t where you want to be in your business and one of your biggest goals is to grow into a massively confident Glow Boss, it may just be time for you to step up your education! As a business owner, being a source of knowledge in your industry is a must. You want to be able to show up as the best version of yourself for your clients and that involves continuously challenging yourself to learn new things. At Spray Tan Class, we offer a Masters Course that guides you through exploring the ways in which you can 2x, 5x and even 10x your sunless business income with minimal extra work. Signing up for this course means that you’ll gain a deeper understanding of sunless art, from application to science and everything in between, all the while absorbing education that is completely brand neutral!

If you’re interested in making sure you show up in your business as the Glow Getter that you have been dying to grow into, head to the Courses tab on and choose the course that resonates most with you!