White face when spray tanning


Help Support SalonGeek:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Well-Known Member
Nov 20, 2009
Reaction score
Hi Geeks,

Just wanted a bit of advise really. I have spray tanned my niece for her dancing show. I've only used an 8% on her because she just wanted a 'glow' and has very blonde hair.

We had a trial run and she loved her tan but her face was still white. I offered to respray her face but she said it was ok because she wears foundation and bronzer so it was not an issue.

Last night I did the actual tan for her show but against my better judgement I sprayed her face twice and went to bed worrying I had over done it. She has text me this morning and said her spray tan is lovely again but her face is completely white again! I offered to respray but she said that she wears heavy makeup for her show anyway so it was not a problem.

I tried to figure out why she was staying white on her face. She had a shower before her spray tan but did not use any moisturisers. I checked her face wash and it does not contain heavy moisturisers or oils. She is on medication for epilepsy and says when she goes on hoilday her body usually tans but her face does stay white and usually burns and peels.

Any adivse would be much appreciated :)

Zoe x
Are you sure she isn't puitting makeup on or washing her face or something too soon after having a tan as this could rub it off? I have a similar problem in that when I'm tanned the tan always comes off my legs after a couple of days, but then my legs don't tan naturally anyway due to an illness. I think that if you don't tan in an area due to illness or medication the spray tan generally reacts a bit funny so I'm afraid I can't think of anything you can do. I wouldn't go darker on her face or it may come out orange if she doesn't tan much.
Im just like this. Ive very fair and the skin on my face is almost translucent and naturally blonde & when i go on holiday i hardly tan and my face stays white :/ when i have a spaytan my face stays tanned for 1 day then its back to white! Im on no meds so ive just got weird skin on my face aha! :) everyones different, hth xx
Imwondering if your niece uses a shampoo with conditioner or conditioner after her shampoo and possibly doesn't wash any residue off fully
Faces,like the shin ,are due to lack of flesh behind the skin and extreme wear due to exposure to weather and rubbing are sometimes also a hit and miss kind of thing
Just a thought
some medicines affect the tan due to hormonal imbalances- in this instance i wouldnt count it as it tends to be patchy in some areas. But if its just on her face i would imagine it could be a power shower-face first maybe? baffling! xoxo
The result of a spray tan is a reaction with the DHA and the clients skin to create the tan.
If they have harder to tan areas such as legs or face then perhaps they wouldn't pick up the colour there if they don't tan naturally?
The fact that her face doesn't tan in the sun, will almost certainly be the reason why the tan solution doesn't react either.
There could be many reasons for this, but her medication probably has something to do with it.

I highly doubt you or she is doing anything wrong, its just something that happens with her.
As said, make up and bronzer can cover this up, as there's nothing more you can do.
So glad you posted this the same thing happened to one of my clients just one side of her face tho,I resprayed her face-paying attention to the side that didn't tan before and even then I could see that side wasn't tanning so ended up spraying 4 light sprays I spoke to her the next day and she was really happy with it tho x
I agree that it could just be her reaction to the sun/ spraytan that her face tans slowly or not as much as the rest of her body, however you mentioned that you had a look at her facial wash.

Any shampoos, shower gels, soaps etc can change the ph level of the skin and thus preventing the tan from taking. We generally advice not to shower or wash directly before the tan as a neutral or slighly acidic (sweaty) skin will tan much better, so maybe its the fact that she scrubs her face before she comes for her tan?

I know its virtually impossible if you have to go out or work during the day but if she could avoid any moisturizers, make up and facial washes for the day then you can see if that does the trick.
We have found mineral powders to be ok but foundation would create a barrier but if you say she wears heavy make up she would probably find it very difficult to resist putting that on?

Latest posts