Custom spray tanning puts salon owners and clients together in an intimate setting. As a result, nearly every tanning salon owner can share some awkward sunless tanning stories.

For those of you who offer custom spray tan services, you’ve probably seen or heard most of these. For those of you who haven’t, don’t let this scare you from offering sunless tanning. When I first heard of doing hand-held spray tans, I was against it. I was too concerned about how to convince my associates to provide spray tans on naked clients. As a result, I resisted offering the service for a while. Little did I know that it wasn’t nearly as big a deal I thought. It sure can lead to some hilarious and awkward experiences, though!

After adding sunless tanning to my salon, here are my top 10 awkward spray tanning experiences:

1. Soda Pop Streaks: Every new Custom Spray client gets the complete rundown on the dos and don’ts of sunless tanning. We even have a take-home card with instructions. We had a young client receive her first spray and told her, “Do not sweat, shower, go to the gym, or get wet for at least 6-8 hours.” A couple hours later, we got a phone call that the spray on her legs is running down and streaking. She swore she followed our directions to the letter. Once we brought her back to the salon, she had massive amounts of white areas and full-on streaks in between and down her legs. After pressing for a while, she informed us her large cup of soda had exploded all over her legs and splashed in her lap… but that wasn’t against our directions.

2. A “Big” Issue: When a client decides to talk to you about their weight during the session, it can be awkward.  Most of the time it’s the younger women who have no weight to lose! It leaves you in a very touchy situation of what to say or not to say.

3. Guys Who “Rise” to the Occasion: Men get custom spray tans too. The most awkward situation you can get is when a man starts having a physical reaction (if you get it), and you’re trying to ignore it and pretend nothing is happening. It’s worse when he awkwardly says, “I’m sorry but I can’t help it!” Didn’t have to even mention it!

4. Hoisting “the Girls:” When spraying a client and she’s concerned with making sure her color is even all over. That included lifting her very large breasts that were very low so I could spray underneath. Admittedly, I didn’t know how to handle that at first.

5. Therapy Sessions: Sometimes you end up playing Dr. Phil during a spray tan session. Young girls these days are bombarded with images that perceive the perfect body type. As the young woman undressed for her session, she broke down in tears and our associate had to spend the next 10 minutes talking to her and building up her confidence. Getting naked in front of another person can be difficult, especially when you don’t have confidence!

6. Assume the Position: Of course, we always want to make sure a spray tan is completely even everywhere.  Sometimes that can be taken quite literally. We had a client bend over and pull her rear end up, specifically ask us to spray the entire area. She said, “I don’t mind people seeing me like this anymore. I just got out of prison.” OMG!

7. The Strangest Spray Tan Request: We are used to women removing their bra (if not everything) to be sprayed. I was very confused when I had a client refuse to remove her bra, but was okay with nothing on her bottom, and requested that I make sure everything was sprayed evenly, including “that area.”  I was like, “But you didn’t want your top to be sprayed?” I didn’t say it, though.

8. A True Full-Body Tan: We always want our clients to feel better about themselves and hope that spray tans help build their confidence. We had a very large woman who wanted to feel better about herself, and we were more than happy to help her. When she asked my associate to hold up the folds she had so she could wipe them before we sprayed the area, that was really awkward.

9. No Such Thing as Too Dark: We had an African-American male decide he wanted to spray tan. He requested that we get him as dark as possible, even though the gentleman was already very dark complected. We’re pretty sure the spray tan did not help him whatsoever. How do you tell someone they can’t get any darker?

10. Passing More Than the Time: The most awkward spray tan I’ve ever given was to a woman who had been drinking that afternoon. She apologized and I just intended to ensure her tan was perfect. (She was not driving). During the spray tan session, she let out a very long and loud episode of gas release.  She started laughing hysterically. I couldn’t help but laugh, although it was very awkward to be spraying her backside when it happened. She did apologize afterward.

Spray Tanning Success Stories!

Admittedly, these are some wild spray tanning stories. I hope they don’t keep anyone from offering sunless tanning at their salon. Yes, you’ll have some awkward moments, but adding this service to your salon’s menu is worth it in the end. You’ll get used to it just like I did. Besides, our clients absolutely love it, so now I just have spray tanning success stories to share. It’s rewarding to see how happy people are with their results. Happy spray tanning, everyone!