Spray Tan Colors: Choose the Right Shade for Your Skin

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So you’ve finally decided to go for a spray tan. You’ve already read the different guides telling you how to properly prepare your skin for a spray tan. You seem ready but not quite. 

There is still one more important thing that you should know. And that is how to choose the right color for your skin among all of the spray tan colors. We get it, you want to be a bronzed goddess but you can’t just pick the darkest of all shades and hope for the best. 

With an improper selection, you can land on an ugly orange shade. Yikes!

We are here to help avoid that. In this article, we will go over how to properly choose the color so you get that bronzy glow that you have been dreaming of. 

How To Choose Among The Spray Tan Colors 

Norvell Tan Color Chart

In order to achieve a great-looking tan, preparation and aftercare are needed. However, you also need to properly select the product to use. 

There are many different brands to choose from when it comes to spray tan solution. And most every one offers different colors or shades. The chart above from Norvell illustrates the colors of just one brand of spray tan solution .

So how do you choose the right color for your body?

Well, in order to choose the right color, you have to consider a few factors.

If you are going to a salon for your spray tan, the specialists will usually be helpful. You can tell them what you want and they can help choose the right color to use. But if you’re doing a home spray tan, you’ll have to work it out yourself.

And regardless, it’s better if you know how to choose the color on your own. To do that, you could base your decision on several factors such as the following: 

  • Your skin tone
  • Your skin’s undertone
  • DHA concentration
  • Season

The Skin Tone Factor

b tan spray tan solution

The very first thing you should consider when selecting a spray tan color is your skin tone. It plays a big part in the result you are going to achieve. 

By knowing what your skin tone is, you could better select a tan that would naturally look beautiful on you. It won’t be too light or too dark.

The skin tone is usually divided into four to six groups, from those with very fair skin tone (commonly with blue eyes and blond or red hair) to those with very dark skin tone (commonly with brown eyes and black hair).

The Fitzpatrick Scale is a well-known way of identifying your general skin tone and is the place to start.

Fair Skin Tones (Groups I-II)

These groups are those who have the lightest skin tones. When picking a spray tan color, it is best to start off with a color that is a shade lighter than what you are ultimately aiming for.

If you’re are still not satisfied with the shade, it is easier to go darker than lighter. 

It is best to try the lighter shade first so you can see if it is enough. Additionally, go for those that have a golden tone. It produces a natural-looking beautiful sunkissed glow.

For those with fair skin but who aim to go darker, those with a red base or violet base could be chosen. They produce a darker tan. 

Medium Skin Tones (Groups III-IV)

Those with medium to medium-dark skin tones often don’t really need to darken their skin so much. They already have that natural bronze tone. However, spray tans can be used to put emphasis to that.

Classic colors are best for this group. 

A good alternative is those that have a caramel-like shade. It will look like you’ve just been through a week of having fun at the beach.

Dark Skin Tones (Groups V-VI)

People with dark to very dark tones may be the envy of those who have pale skin. Spray tan colors can help further emphasize the natural shades and add a glow to them.

Usually, those that add a golden glow or those in the chocolate shade go best with this skin tone. 

The Skin Undertone Factor

Your skin undertone is another important factor to consider when choosing a spray tan color. The 3 types of undertones are cool, warm, and neutral.

  • Cool undertone – The skin looks bluish or reddish.
  • Warm undertone – The skin looks golden or yellowish.
  • Neutral undertone – The skin looks grayish.

Knowing your undertone is very useful when you use the spray tan shade chart. See our skin undertone guide for more information on determining your undertone.

Identifying your undertone helps you see the shade your skin is likely to turn into once you have applied a specific spray tan color. 

Seasonal Factors

Different seasons can make the skin look a bit different. Additionally, you should also match your tan depending on the season.

Getting one that is too dark during winter is a mismatch. 

People also consider the season due to the clothes that they wear. For summer, most prefer bright colors, and a darker shade will complement those colors and better show off your summer bronze glow.

DHA Content

The amount of DHA that the product contains should also be considered. DHA is the active ingredient in spray tans. Those that have higher DHA levels will produce a deeper tan. 

Also, there are some people who don’t do well with high DHA levels.

Some end up with orange skin due to the high percentages while others have no problem with them at all. 


Selecting the spray tan color to use is very important in the results that you get out of the procedure. However, you don’t just randomly pick a color, nor do you pick the darkest shade. 

When selecting the color, there are a few factors that you should consider. These are your skin tone, your skin’s undertone, the season, and the DHA level of the product. 

With proper spray tan color selection, you can have a more natural-looking spray tan. It will match your skin as well as the season you are in. 

Written by Kayla Young

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