If you’re thinking about adding tanning to your repertoire of add-on beauty services, Cassandra Stratton, massage director for Palatine, Ill.-based Mario Tricoci Salons and Day Spas, can help you sort through the differences between spray tans and hand-applied tanning services. Mario Tricoci offers hand-applied tanning as an hour-long spa treatment that includes full-body exfoliation, cream application, and massaging in the bronzer. A 30-minute express treatment includes gentle exfoliation and mitt application of tanning mousse.

Below, Stratton sets out her take on the pros and cons of each technique.





> Lasts longer

> Product is massaged into the skin to stain more layers

> Product is usually in a cream base, which will also have hydrating benefits

> Can get to areas of the body that are difficult with a sprayer

> No particles in the air to breathe in

> No machines with noisy vacuums or the need to store equipment

> Can be marketed as a deluxe, full-body spa treatment

> Should be maintained with regular lotion application to make it last longer

> Priced higher than spray tanning

> Takes longer to apply

> For best results it should be a stand-alone service

Spray-on Tan

> Quick tan application

> Dries immediately because particles are smaller

> Price is affordable

> Can be done in a booth without a technician

> Only stains the surface layer of the skin

> Can miss tanning areas of the body that are hard to reach (inner thigh, under breast, between fingers, etc.)

> Safety concerns regarding breathing in the spray

> Can be noisy, depending on the equipment

> Hand sprayer requires regular cleaning to prevent clogging

> Equipment can be costly

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