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Fake Tanning 101: Dispelling the myths

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Orange, patchy and, well, fake looking. 

These are some of the concerns voiced by people when considering getting a fake tan. We get it, too. There’s nothing quite like laying out by the pool after a swim or stretching out on the beach with a good book in summer.

But with melanoma the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia and with 1800 Australians expected to die from melanoma this year alone*, unless you’re covering up or reapplying sunscreen religiously, the above activities start to look, well, risky.

Ahead of summer and the festive season, we asked tanning expert and makeup artist Jacqui Scott to give us the lowdown on what fake tanning is really about, to dispel the myths and hopefully inspire women to choose to fake it, not bake it.

What is the biggest fake tanning myth?

Firstly, that fake tan is bad for you. Good quality tanning products like MineTan are naturally derived and are a very safe alternative to excessive UV light exposure. Secondly, that spray tans look orange. Spray tanning has come a long way since the early days so better solutions, machines, training and spray tan technology pretty much eliminates this worry!

What are your favourite products to use?

I am a spray tanner from way back – anyone that knows me knows that I am a self-confessed perfectionist and tanaholic, which personally I think makes for the perfect combo as a Tan Technician! I have tried a LOT of brands over the years from supermarket brands to professional products and have received a lot of spray tans myself, so I only ever use products that I believe in (that goes for makeup too).

My studio is a stockist of Mine Tan—it offers such a wide variety of solutions that allow you to choose the product that best suits your lifestyle so there are products to suit dry skin, active people and any skin type. Whether you’re fair and never had a spray tan before and just want a natural glow, to more olive skin tones who want a deep dark tan, there is a product to suit everyone.

Jacqui Scott

Jacqui Scott

What is the essential pre-spray tan prep?

Spray tan prep is key to a great spray tan. Here’s what I tell my clients.


The week leading up to your tan:

  • Exfoliate and moisturise. The smoother and more hydrated your skin, the better the tan will be.
  • Wax and shave at least 48 hours beforehand.
  • 24 hours before your tan – exfoliate!


  • No moisturiser
  • No perfume
  • No deodorant
  • No makeup
  • Wear dark loose clothes (cotton preferable)
  • Wear thongs or loose fitting shoes


  • Your first shower- make it quick about 45 seconds.
  • Use plain water, don’t use any shower gels, shampoo etc
  • Pat dry
  • Avoid sweating, don’t exercise or swim for the first 24 hours
  • And then what? Moisturise. Moisturise. Moisture. Day and night.

What is spray tanning? How does it work?

You may have heard of ‘DHA’ when it comes to spray tans. This is the active ingredient (dihydroxyacetone) in spray tan formulas. DHA is a colourless sugar that interacts with the proteins and amino acids in the outer layer of your skin to produce a golden brown colour. This is applied in a liquid solution using a specialist low-pressure spraying machine. A good quality tan will use a 100% natural DHA, so this is something to look out for. The product I choose to use is 100% natural DHA, paraben free, vegan-friendly and cruelty-free.

What do you think stops women from getting a spray tan?

That it will look orange, that it will be too dark, that it will look fake and that it won’t look natural. A good spray tan technician using professional equipment and spray tan products is key here. Do your research and you won’t have to worry about getting a bad spray tan.

What do you think is the best part about getting spray tans?

How much time do you have? Getting a GOOD spray tan makes you feel better, healthier and more confident – it’s an instant pick me up! I just really feel like I have life together when I’m tanned, I know that may sound silly, but I think anything that helps with your confidence – you should do that!

How long will my spray tan last?

A spray tan will last anywhere from five to 10 days depending on your daily skin care regime and lifestyle. A spray tan fades just like a tan from the sun – as your skin sheds dead cells. So the key is to MOISTURISE. This will extend the life of your tan and ensure it fades nicely.

Using tan enhancing product from day 4-5 will also give your tan an extra boost and can extend the life of the tan for up to two weeks.

TOP TIP: Some shampoos and body wash products can contain the ingredient sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) and this strips your tan. Look at what products you are using in the shower.


Here are the products Jacqui chooses to stock in her studio:

  • Mine Tan Self Tan Foam – $29.99
  • Mine Tan Bronze on Applicator Mit – $7.99
  • Mine Tan 3 in 1 Gradual Tan – $24.99
  • St Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse – $35.99
  • Bondi Sands Self Tanning Foam – $19.99
  • St Tropez Tan Applicator Mit – $11.99
  • JBronze Shimmer Instant Illuminer – $17.99
  • ModelCo Tan Remover Exfoliating Scrub – $19.99

You can book in with Jacqui for a tan via her website or by emailing her at jacqui@jacquiscott.com.au. Or check out her Instagram here

*Statistics from melanoma.org.au

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