How to spray tan hands & feet; the right way

Un-even, over-done or ghostly tan hands and feet got your clients in a tizzy?

Then this tutorial will tell you how to spray tan hands and feet the right way. If it went wrong, don’t threat you can fix it!

Spray tanning hands and feet are tricky, and that’s why it’s one of the most common complaints you will hear from your clients. Learning how to tan properly will help you avoid patchy fake tan hands, follow this tutorial and make sure you take note of the tips below.

Now you NEED to read these hand tanning tips

Barrier Cream

How to apply barrier cream for spray tans.

Applying fake tan barrier cream is absolutely essential to false tanning hands, and I’m going to give you the top tips that I learned from being a beauty therapist for 7+ years.

Apply the barrier cream to your client. If you apply the barrier cream to your client you will know that it is evenly applied and to the correct places.


“Where to put barrier cream for spray tanning? Apply a generous amount of lotion and pretend your thoroughly washing your hands the way you would with soap.”

Treat this part of the service like you would a mini hand massage. This way you can make sure the barrier cream is applied all over the hands and fingers and 2 cm beyond the wrist up towards the arm, in between the fingers and on the palms.

Ask your client to not touch their body in case they transfer the cream onto the rest of their body. It’s best to do this part of the treatment right before you start spraying so you can avoid that error happening.

Best spray tan barrier creams I’ve used: White to Brown and Nouvatan. I’m pretty sure any well-known product will sell a decent fake tan barrier cream.


The Wrists

How to fake tan wrists correctly

To achieve a natural tan on your client’s wrists, start halfway up the forearm and spray downwards then flick out when you get to the wrist. This will stop the sunless tan from clinging to the wrists.

“FYI, you should spray tan the wrists and the hands together in one swoop.”

The Hands

Starting 10-20 centimetres away from the skin (depending on your machine) begin spraying from halfway up the forearm, sweeping down towards the hands, and finishing 10cm beyond the fingertips. If you stop spraying at the fingertips, you risk too much tan landing on them.

Some customers are curious if you can tan your palms, however, this is not advised as the skin. The skin of the palm is glabrous (hairless) and unable to tan. The skin is also thicker, approximately 8-14 times thicker than normal skin, therefore it soaks of fake tan like a sponge! Needless to say, this is not a good look.


Circular Method

This is a good method and most people will have been taught to spray hands in a circular fashion. I found my clients fell victim to Mickey Mouse’s hands, which basically means they didn’t feel their hands were dark enough.

“I would suggest trial and error with both techniques so you are aware of exactly how evenly the hands develop in the morning.”

With the circular method, do not spray the hands along with the wrists. Carry out the wrist technique mentioned above and spray down and outward, flicking away when the mist hits the wrist.

Once you have completed the wrist section, now you can do the hands. Starting 20 centimetres to the right of the hands with a wide spray pattern setting, press the spray button AND THEN you can mist the hands in a circular motion and repeat if necessary. It would be CATASTROPHIC if you pushed the spray mechanism whilst directing the nozzle on the hands because this would overload the hands with the solution.



When it comes to wrist, hands and ankles, never find yourself directly starting the spray flow in those areas because they will go way too brown.

Spraying hands and wrists directly with tan will cause those areas to go even more browner than the rest of the body because those areas almost suck the tan in more than any other part of the body. Also, when your client turns her hand over, there will be a big brown line at the wrist that meets the paleness of the palm, this is a dead giveaway that their tan is fake.

Learning to spray tan hands and feet properly is vital to gaining your client’s trust in your abilities as a therapist. Master these techniques and ensure your clients come back time and time again for perfectly even, bronzed hands and feet.

How to fix patchy fake tan hands and feet

Do hands look like they’ve been dipped in a family-sized packet of Watsits? We’ve all been there.

Either we’ve over-tanned ourselves at home, or your spray tanner got a bit overzealous with the gun.

Don’t threaten, here is how to fix bad self-tan hands or even out spray tan on hands; Different scenarios, why it happened and how to fix it.



Knuckles and wrists darker than the rest of the hands 

This is when the knuckles and wrists appear darker than the rest of the hands. This usually occurs because you have applied the barrier cream too sparingly, or you have over-sprayed your client’s hands or sprayed the hands too close.

  • Advise your clients to apply oil over their hands (this softens the skin on the knuckles)
  • Dab alcohol on cotton wool and rest on the knuckles, this should take some of the tan off
  • Apply barrier cream (must be aqueous lotion) to the hands and wrists
  • Apply a light layer of vaseline to the dark knuckles
  • Avoiding the knuckles, spray your client’s hands again

The hands are too dark compared to the rest of the body

This is when all areas of the hands are the same shade. The hands look good, however, they are darker than the rest of the body. This usually occurs because you have applied the barrier cream too sparingly, or you have over-sprayed your client’s hands or sprayed the hands too close.

Apply a generous amount of barrier cream (must be aqueous lotion) to the hands and wrists and avoiding the hands and wrists, spray your client’s body with a shade that will match the hands.


How to fake tan hands and feet at home

Achieving natural results when applying false tan to hands and feet at home can be difficult. Check out these fake tan tips and apply the guidance to avoid unsightly orange hands.

  1. Exfoliate the hands and feet
  2. Apply a fake tan barrier cream over the entire hands and one inch up onto the wrists (not moisturiser)
  3. Apply the fake tan barrier cream to your toes, in between the toes and the back of the ankles.
  4. Following the steps in the tutorial above, copy the spraying motions with an aerosol tan in a can.

Spray tanning for men 

Male spray tans are a little different. Here’s why: the male spray tan


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.