I get asked all the time if spray tans look good on fair skin. The answer is ABSOLUTELY as long as you go to an educated and experienced spray tan artist who can choose the correct spray tan solution to use on your pale skin or can recommend the right self tanning product for fair skin types to use at home.

pale girls guide to sunless tanning with link to rose gold self tanning mousse

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As a spray tan artist I hear so many creative descriptions for pale skin:

I look like sour cream, uncooked chicken, the snow, sand at the beach, Casper the ghost!

In other words PALE.

Can Fair Skin People Get A Spray Tan Or Use Self Tanners?

Finding the right spray tan professional can be a challenge, and I hear about fair girls being coached to choose the darkest spray tan formulation, being told that they are “so pale that they need the extra strength to create color in their skin”.

This is NOT true, in fact, it is the exact opposite.

Choosing the darkest sunless tanning product or spray tan solution will result in an ORANGE or a very off shade too dark for a fair person’s skin tone.

Most Natural Spray Tan For Fair Skin

When I have a client that comes into my studio for a spray tan I have to do 2 things. Look at their skin and choose the correct spray tan solution formula and strength to apply to their skin to create a natural-looking tan.

Notice I said NATURAL looking.

No one wants to look like they got a spray tan, they want to look like they are TAN.


This is where YOU need to be educated on what the best sunless tanning products are for your pale skin.

Events To Spray Tan For:

Spray Tan Tips For Pale Skin

How to get a sunless tan without looking orange

Lesson 1: Sunless tanning products come in different strengths. In the spray tan industry, the strengths are listed in percentages of DHA.

Normally something like 8%, 10%, 12%. Which is then changed into level 1, level 2, level 3 or Light, Medium, Dark for you as the client.

***Your spray tan artist should be guiding your choice of what the best spray tan solution is for your skin***

Lesson 2: The ingredient that actually creates your sunless tan is called DHA=Dihydroxyacetone.

A very big word that is nothing more than a sugar derivative of sugar cane or sugar beets that causes a color change with the amino acids that live in your skin creating your “tan”.

DHA is safe, effective, FDA approved for cosmetic use and has been around since the 1960’s.

Lesson 3: The depth of color that a sunless tanning product creates is decided in 3 ways:

The strength of the product (what is the percentage of DHA in the product)
The amount of product that is applied to the skin
The length of time that the product is left on the skin

The darker spray tan solutions= higher percentage of DHA

Dark spray tan solution+Pale Skin= ORANGE or off-color.

Lesson 4: When you go to get a spray tan, make sure that your spray tan artist is experienced.

Fair Skin Spray Tan Solution

If you are in a situation where you are having to decide for yourself on the right sunless tanning solution you should choose the lightest formula available.

Even if they tell you otherwise at the spray tan shop. Less is more on very fair skin.

Best Fake Tan For Pale Skin

Embrace your natural peaches and cream skin and go for the GLOW!

I know that you want to be super savagely tan and your olive-skinned girlfriend is SUPER DARK and looks amazing but…..

My, fair skin girls, need to LOVE being “tan for you”. Embrace your pale skin tone and go for sunkissed!

When purchasing at home self tanning products look for products labeled for fair skin, lite in color, buildable or gradual tanner (glow cream)

I had a  really bad spray tan experience and now I’m afraid to try it again.

Let’s address this situation.

A bad sunless tanning experience usually happens in one of the following ways:

  • The spray tan studio that you went to used a spray tan solution that was too high for your skin
  • The spray tan tech applied too much spray tan solution to your skin
  • You choose a self tanning product that was for med/dark skin tones aka too high for your skin
  • You applied too much of the self tanner to your skin
  • You purchased or went to a spray tan studio that used/sold a low-quality sunless tanning product.

All of the above issues are easily fixed and now that you have completed your spray tanning for pale skin 101 class you know all the rules!

I LOVE showing a new client who had a bad experience how sunless done right is beautiful! If you are ready to give a spray tan a try again then check out my spray tan tips page to get started.

In the sunless tanning industry, you definitely get what you pay for. Always choose a quality spray tan studio or retail product. I promise your happy factor will go up with your pretty bronze glow.

Related Articles:

Best Self Tanner For Fair Skin

If you are a fan of at-home self-tanning products then check out some of my favorites for pale skin.

Notice that these sunless tanning products have the words light/medium, buildable and gradual on the packaging. This is what you are looking for when shopping.

You may also notice that the most of the “drug store” brands of self tanners are missing from this list. I find that my pale skin clients have a really hard time using them. They tend toward a lower quality of ingredients and are a golden color to start with often pushing pale skin to the orange side. High-quality ingredients always produce a better sunless tan and a more realistic color.

Kathryn’s Top 5 Best Self Tanners for Pale Skin

As always, I included organic and all-natural options because I know that is what you are asking me for and I love them too!

Best Self Tanner For Pale Skin With Pink Undertones

Shop this self-tanning mousse at  Rose Gold Sunless

I’m going to say that the Rose Gold Self Tanning Mousse is my very favorite and wins the top spot in my list of best self tanners for pale skin. But that is because I spent a ton of time developing this product with my fair and pale clients in mind. The Rose Gold Mousse is a luxury sunless tanning product that is easy to apply, doesn’t smell, is streak-free, and has the perfect BUILDABLE COLOR–perfect for fair skin! This product is also the perfect color that photographs well. 100% Vegan, Gluten Free, & Organic Ingredients.

Best Self Tanner For Pale Skin Beginners

Vita Liberata gradual self tanning lotion for pale skin

Shop this gradual self tanner on Amazon

A superbly hydrating lotion that applies clear like a moisturizer and then develops to a beautiful sunkissed glow that can be deepened with daily use.
Gentle enough for dry and sensitive skin types, and creates a natural-looking tan that fades evenly after four to seven days. 100% natural, completely free from parabens, perfumes, alcohols and zero transfer.

Best Self Tanner For Pale Skin Amazon

Lita Liberata self tanner in medium for pale skin

Shop this tinted mousse in Medium on Amazon

Vita Liberata has a wonderful line of luxury self tanning products. The self Tan Mousse in medium is perfect for fair skin. The mousse is fast and easy-to-apply, and has an odor inhibitor for a natural-looking, long lasting streak-free tan. Contains natural and organic extracts and zero toxins for a healthy sunless tan.
• Formulated without parabens, harsh chemicals, perfume / fragrance, alcohol, animal derivatives, petrochemicals, sulphates and silicones
• Formulated with certified organic and natural extracts for anti ageing, skin enhancement and a natural tan

Best Natural Self Tanner For Pale Skin

Beauty by Earth glow creme in light for fair skin

Shop this buildable sunless tanning lotion on Amazon

I love the Beauty by Earth self-tanning lotion.  No bronzers so you can apply it like a moisturizer and it gently builds to the depth of color you want. Start with a single application.  If you want to go darker, simply reapply the next day.  This buildable sunless tanning lotion will help you achieve just the right color for you.

Best Self Tanner For Pale Skin Drugstore

Bondi Sands self tanner in light for pale skin

Shop this self tanning mist on Amazon

Bondi Sands used to be a professional to the trade product line. They now have their tanner in drugstores. It’s a really good line so even though I am not normally a fan of drugstore tanner I do like this one. This self tanning mist consists of a salon-quality formula with a sweet, coconut scent to awaken your senses. It provides an effortless application that is streak free, enriched with Aloe Vera for soft smooth skin and it dries in seconds for a natural, flawless tan.

Takeaway self tanning tips for pale skin:

  • Go to a reputable experienced spray tan artist
  • Always choose the lowest level or lightest spray tan solution/retail product for your fair skin
  • Don’t go crazy when you apply self tanners, light layers for a pretty glow.
  • Remember less is more!

Need to BOOK A SPRAY TAN? Head over to the contact page for all the infos.

As a small business owner, I can’t stock all the amazing products that are available in the world of sunless tanning but I can give you my professional opinion.

Spray Tan Business Pros:

Do you have a mobile spray tanning business, home-based spray tan business, or are you looking to start one? Then check out my tools of the trade area of this website for help in setting up your own airbrush spray tanning business.

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