Your Competition Tan- What to Expect
A competition tan is not like a spray tan at your local tanning salon. Show tans are designed to wash off easily and be VERY dark. If you walked around on a daily basis with a tan this dark you would look like a freak. But, from the audience’s point of view when you are on stage, your tan looks great!
In This Post:
- Why do you have to be so dark?
- Event Tanner
- Skin Prep
- Why I don’t have my face sprayed
- DIY Competition Tan
- Problems with your tan
- Turning green
- First show tan faux pas
- How to pee with your tan!
- See Also- DIY Competition Tan – NO PROB!
Why do you have to be so dark?
When you are on stage, the stage lights will wash out your color and definition. You need to be dark to accentuate your muscle definition. If you are an African American woman or have very dark skin, you will want a coat of tan to even out and brighten your color.
Using the event tanner is nice sure fire way to know that your tan looks fab. It will cost around $100 each show. (See Costs of Competing) Once you have made an appointment with the tanner, they will send out instructions on how to prep your skin before your first appointment.
Skin prep usually looks like this:
2 week prior to your appointment:
-Exfoliate every day with a non oil scrub. I used sugar or a sugar/baking soda mixture. I would keep it in a plastic container in the shower and just rub it on after washing up. Mixing it with soap for some lubrication worked well too.
Week of appointment:
-Continue exfoliating and moisturizing
-Wax 4-5 days before the appointment. Waxing irritates the skin. You want your skin to be fully calmed and recovered before applying competition tanning product.
Morning of first appointment:
-Shave 8 hours before appointment. Shaving too close to getting tanned could cause bumps and irritation. Some tanners suggest shaving all the hair off your arms and back as well as your legs so the tan adheres evenly. The last shower you take before your appointment, you will exfoliate. Then, do not put on any deodorant, lotion or perfumes! Those products will affect the pH of your skin and could cause the tan to turn green. Also, the oily lotions may keep the tan from taking to your skin.
What to expect at your appointment:
You will have two appointments. Usually one the night before the show and the other very early in the morning about 4 hours before your show. When you go to your appointment you will wear no undies or bra. Only loose dark clothes and flip flops. I like wearing a zip up hoodie or long sleeved shirt and old yoga pants. In the summer, this can pose issues with sweating. Turn on the air conditioning in your hotel room or car on the way home. You can do a short sleeved shirt and yoga shorts or something like that but, if you have to sit in the car or on furniture, your tan may rub off and stain whatever it comes into contact with. Sit on a towel if in shorts or a skirt. Bring an umbrella in case it rains, you need to stay dry! If you are doing your own hair, have it washed and dried before your first tan appointment. If having your hair done professionally, they will most likely want your hair washed and dried the night before anyway… so do it before you get your tan on!
When you are called in, there will be pop up booths lined up. Men and women will have separate rooms. You will be directed to step into a booth and then strip completely. Leave modesty at the door because the woman that spray tans you will most likely be standing there waiting or getting her sprayer ready. Your clothes will be set aside, you will be given a shower cap to protect your hair. Let your spray tan person know if you want your face sprayed or not. You will then be directed to stand in different positions to get sprayed. Usually, you will face forward, take a wider stance with your arms out to your sides away from your body. Then you will turn to the side, then the back. You may be instructed to bend over a little so they can spray your butt and legs. Yes, this feels totally awkward to have someone behind you, spraying your ass, while you are naked, bent over slightly. Super glamorous right? Once you are sprayed, you will either stay in your current booth or be moved to a drying booth. Either way, you will have a fan blowing on you for about 10 minutes. When you are dry to the touch you can get dressed and leave. It then takes about another 3-4 hours for your tan to really dry and set. I would avoid carrying heavy bags over your shoulder. The excessive friction could rub your tan off.
Why I don’t have my face sprayed:
I struggle with acne. If I have to go without washing my face for over 24 hours aside from wearing tons of makeup for 18 hours, I will break out!!! Not going to happen. This is what I do. I don’t have my face spray tanned. That allows me to wash my face that night and in the morning. When I wash my face, I have to be careful to no let water run down my arms. I will put on long gloves or make sure to bend way over so any water on my hands will run toward my fingertips, not to my elbows. If you wash your hands, you will take the tan off and they may look a little funny. That is the least of my worries but, gloves helps with this. I can then apply my medicated face lotion and moisturizer, then primer and make up. I bought the Jan Tana foundation to match the tan. It’s a cream type foundation that goes on really nicely. I layer that on until it matches my body well. Then I apply a matching matte powder I bought at Sephora along with DARK eye shadow and blush. You can also have your make-up professionally done. Shows will have make-up artists they promote or you can use any make-up artist you choose. The benefits to using the events’ tanners and makeup artists is that they are there the entire day to touch you up. The make-up artist will be able to match the foundation to your tan.
Having your face spray tanned assures a nice match. But you will still need makeup to match your tan.
DIY Competition Tan
If you chose to do a competition tan yourself, you will need someone to help you put it on every crevice of your body the night before and the morning of the show. Then you may need someone to help touch up during the show.
Some brands include Dream Tan, Dark As, Jan Tana, Pro Tan and Liquid Rayz. Jan Tana seems to give the best color and Dream Tan is usually banned at most shows because it rubs off too easily and stains everything at the venue. Most of these brands will cost you around $50-$80 as will last you about 3 shows.
Allow ample time to order your products (8-10 weeks at least), read reviews and give yourself a sample test run on your leg to see how it works. Use a microfiber buffing pad. You can buy these at an auto parts store or Walmart.
Many people have told me the applicators that come with the DIY tans suck. Skin prep guidelines will come with the product. Tanning products may also have an expiration date on them. If you want to order 3 months or more in advance of your show, I would check to see if the products will expire!
Skin Prep: Similar to above
DIY Competition Tan Video’s
Check out my post: DIY Competition Tan- No Prob! The video is below.
The video below-Not so sure step # 2- putting on the lotion the day of your tan. Usually you shower the morning of your first tan coat and you do not apply deodorant or lotions.
Problems with your tan
Some formulas/ brands can turn certain people green. One tanning product turned my under arms green. I had to be touched up all day to fix this. Even though I was touched up, I still turned green soon after. This was not seen from the audience nor could I see it in pictures. Products will react differently to different people. If a product turned me green, that doesn’t mean it will turn you green. Bodybuilding can be a series of trials and errors from workouts to diets to competition tans. After having done several shows, I know what works for me and what doesn’t as I will continue learning throughout this process.
First show tan faux pas:
In my experience, spray tans can be the biggest pain in the ass of the entire day. If your tan gets wet, it will run. This poses some issues when getting through the night and day with your tan! Read some of my experiences at my first show and then read a section on how to pee with your tan on!
True Story #1:
After my first spray tan appointment, which was at the host hotel I was staying in, I went back up to my hotel room to use the bathroom. My husband had just given our two small children a bath. The bathroom was humid and damp, including the toilet. After I sat on the seat, three not great things happened…. I stained the toilet seat, I now had a large white ring on my ass and legs, and pee drops speckled my upper inner thighs. I freaked! I went back down to the tanner and asked them to touch me up. I was pretty embarrassed but they see this stuff all the time. If this happens, don’t worry, it can also be touched up the next day.
True Story #2:
The next morning at my 2nd, and very early spray tan appointment I was waiting to get tanned when a fellow competitor came down from her room with her hands covering her face. She looked at us and dropped her hands to reveal a white streak that went from her mouth onto her cheek toward her ear. She had drooled while sleeping. We laughed so hard… together. Then I proceeded to tell her about my toilet ass ring so she wouldn’t feel so bad. Later that morning her family walked by me and called me the toilet seat girl… super :/
How to pee with your tan
Yes, how to pee after being tanned. This is yet another glamorous point about competing. When you sit and pee, urine can splash onto your inner thighs or run down your leg if you haven’t wiped well. There are several strategies girls will take to keep their tan looking good. Many pee into a Dixie cup with a small hole in the bottom holding it close to their body when urinating. For me, I still had to keep pee from running down my leg. I was not a fan of the cup. I was also told to try putting a lot of toilet paper toward the front of the toilet and then hold yourself over the toilet… sort of squatting. I still feared pee running down my leg. What do I do? Are you ready for this, I have two clean, old hand towels and I will do one of two things. Either, hold the towel on my inner upper thighs, straddle the toilet and pee, then wipe and make sure I am super dry. Or, put the towels on the toilet seat and sit with your legs wider than normal, hold the towels up a little so they cover your inner upper thighs. Pee and dry well. Its easiest if your suit bottoms are around one ankle. See, totally glamorous. But hey, when it all comes together, when your sparkly, tanned, oiled, and pumped it will be glamorous on stage!!!
Pro Tip: buy silicon nipple covers for the day of the show. You will be walking around most of the day in a t-shirt and pants with nothing under your clothes. To prevent nippin out, get some handy nipple covers. They stay on all day too!
Also check out:
- Cut phase 2014
- Build phase 2014
- Contest prep 2015 – Calculations and initial plan
- My weekly cut phase updates
- Contest Prep Weekly Updates 2016
- Competition Guide Articles