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Skin Prep

Skin prep for competition tanning

One Week out:

1) Shave your entire body about 7 days before your tanning appointment to get the majority of your body hair off.  Use shaving GEL (in order to see all the very fine hair) and a new razor. Shaving more than once is always needed. Shave until ALL your hair is gone. When you think all the hair is gone SHAVE AGAIN!

Shaving your entire body means just that- shave everything…arms, legs, buttocks, back, chest, shoulders and abdominals.  Ladies this goes for you too! Ladies: shaving the face is not necessary. Guys, if you have facial hair (beard, mustache) you don’t have to shave your face.  Men’s Physique competitors do not need to shave any body part hidden by your board shorts.

A hair-free body is the key to a beautiful tan. Body hair prevents the tanning product from getting to the skin and takes you longer to dry.

We strongly recommend that you do not use a hair removal process that you are not use to, i.e. Nair or Body Waxing. Many people are either allergic to Nair or have a skin reaction (breakouts) from waxing. If you are used to having a bikini wax, or Nair-that’s fine, just don’t do anything your skin isn’t used to having done.  Also, often when using wax, either doing it yourself or professionally, wax-residue will remain on the skin and when tanned it looks very dark or blotchy.  Ladies: You should be able to wax up until the day before your tanning session without any problems.

2) After shaving apply coconut oil to prevent razor burn.  

3) Exfoliate your entire body every time you take a shower about 7 days before your tanning appointment. We recommend using exfoliation gloves and a scrub such as Elite Tan’s Pre-Tan Scrub along with Elite Tan’s Pre-Tan Prep Spray which removes excess oil in the skin, exfoliates and balances  the pH of your skin. The skin prep spray is best used the day of tanning. You can find these items at (DO NOT USE BAKING SODA). Pay special attention to areas of the body that tend to accumulate dead skin cells such as Achilles/heel, knees, elbows, throat, armpits, hands and sides of torso. Scrub these areas vigorously every day.

4) Minimize the amount of body lotion you use for the week leading up to your tan. Dryer skin absorbs product faster, dries faster and looks better when tan. We strongly recommend not using any body lotion for at least 5 days leading up to your tan. This includes in-door tanning bed lotion. If you tend to have drier skin, use a natural oil such as coconut oil instead of lotion to moisturize.

 Night before:

5) Double-check your shaving. You should have gotten rid of your hair already, not just getting started at this point. So, be sure you’ve done a good job or get any stubble that has started to grow.  Do not use any lotion after this final shave.

 Day of:

6) Be freshly showered for your appointment. It will be the last shower you will take before your competition.  Freshly showered means:  ABSOLUTELY NO DEODORANT. NO BODY LOTION, FACE LOTION, PERFUME/COLOGNE, MAKEUP OR JEWELRY ON YOUR BODY.  Next to shaving, this is the most important step. We recommend using Dial soap when you shower because it helps to strip excess oils out of the skin. Don’t shave. Believe it or not, shaving right before you airbrush tan can make it difficult for the color to absorb into the skin. If you have Elite Tan Skin Prep Spray, after showering apply the spray all over your entire body; allow drying for 1-2 minutes, and then using a dry towel to wipe off the spray. The dry towel helps remove excess dead skin and oil.

 7) Arrive at your appointment 15 minutes early. You should be in our booth at your tanning time. Unfortunately, if you are late, we will have to “bump” you out of your tanning time and will be placed into the next AVAILABLE spot which usually is much later in the evening.

 8) Cost: $130/Cross-overs: $150.  We require a $50 deposit. The remaining amount is due at your tanning appointment.  Deposits can be made thru Venmo or Paypal.  We take CASH only for the remaining balance. (Cross overs are MP to BB or FIG to WP within the same show).  Some shows we require payment in-full to reserve an appointment. Deposits are non-refundable, no exceptions.

9) NAILS: We will wipe your nails off after you’re finished tanning. Painted nails wipe off easily. DO NOT wear a barrier cream, oil, or lotion of any kind on your nails when tanning. When tanning, your tanner will often ‘roll’ your tan to smooth the color and if you’re wearing a barrier cream it could spread to your tan and cause streaking.

 10)  Wear loose fitting clothing to your tanning appointment. Baggy sweats or shorts and a t-shirt and flip-flops are perfect. Do not wear anything that is tight fitting, including underwear, sports bras, etc that could ‘rub’ your tan off. Synthetic fabric or zippered jackets are not recommended. Cotton or silk clothing is best.  Your color will not SET until approximately 6 hours after your application.  You will be tanned naked. We do our best to separate men and women. You are tanned in private, 3-sided, separate booth. We respect your privacy and try to give you as much as possible, with that being said, there will be someone of the same sex next to you in their own separate booth.  It is similar to a locker-room situation. Men’s Physique/Men’s Classic Physique competitors may wear briefs/boxers while tanning.

 11) Stay cool and dry. Pay attention to the weather. Since your color will not SET for 6 hours, you need to stay cool and dry. Don’t wear shorts, etc if it is raining or heavy clothing if it is hot. Also, please be careful around water (i.e., brushing teeth, using restroom) to avoid water spots.

 12) Sleep in loose clothing after tanning. Clothing absorbs any excess product your skin didn’t absorb. Clothing will also minimize any glitches in your color, like hand-prints, while you sleep.

 13) Cancellations: Elite Tan requires a MINIMUM of 72 hours cancellation. Please be considerate and notify us as soon as possible of a cancellation. Deposits are non-refundable. 

 *** PLEASE BE AWARE THAT, AS A COMPETITOR, IT IS ULTIMATELY YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO BE ON TIME/ATTEND ALL SCHEDULED COMPETITOR MEETINGS. The Judges do not consider ‘tanning’ a good excuse for being late for or missing scheduled meetings.


After the show:

Continue to exfoliate every time you shower. Apply lotion afterwards to minimize dryness. Your tan will last approximately 5 days following the show. For problem areas, such as the hands or bottom of the feet, try using a Scotch Brite Pad and a little lemon juice.


Additional Comments

Body Conditioning: Keep in mind, the better conditioned physiques; tend to have better, darker tans. The less water your skin is holding the less likely you are to sweat. If you tend to hold a lot of water, or sweat excessively, you will need to be sure your skin is in excellent condition. Follow all the steps thoroughly, especially the shaving. You might also try tanning in a tanning bed several times in the days leading up to your airbrushing to help dry out your skin. Just be sure you don’t burn! Peeling skin never looks good on-stage no matter how much tan you have over it!

 We will apply posing oil for you the day of the show. We apply less oil to bikini and physique competitors than bodybuilders. Our oil is all natural and adds moisture into the skin and perks up the color. We recommend oiling 30 minutes before you start lining up to go on-stage.  Keep in mind that things move quickly backstage. It is better to oil earlier rather than later so as not to miss your line-up or feel rushed. Ladies we are more than happy to apply glue for you the day of the competition. We typically use Elmer’s spray adhesive or 3M adhesive. If you have been given specific instructions by the designer of your suit as to what kind/type of spray adhesive to use for your special suit, it is your responsibility to bring the spray adhesive that is compatible with your suit. Please note Elite Tan is not responsible for any damages to suits as a result of spray adhesive.

 Our product looks very good on the face. The product we use, ELITE TAN, does not contain alcohol. It is a natural product that is jojoba oil and almond oil based. The top coat we use also looks very good over makeup.  Should you need to darken your makeup the day of the show, we can spray over your finished makeup very lightly and give you a flawless look.

To make your tanning more enjoyable we recommend bringing phone/music. Drying can get very boring and the music seems to keep you relaxed and make the time go faster. Since you’re drying for 15 minutes it’s a great time to practice your posing!

 Ladies: If you need to wear a foundation I recommend Cover Girl’s Ultimate Finish Line of cream foundation in a color called “classic tan”. Also, MAC has studio finish foundation in NW40 that matches well. It works for most skin colors. It will be slightly lighter than your tan, but if you use a dark bronzer, or have me slightly ‘top’ coat your face over your makeup on Saturday morning, you should have a nice, flawless look.

Many women find that once their face has been airbrushed, foundation is not necessary.


Many factors play a role in how your tan will look on-stage: skin prep, application, body conditioning and even the temperature and stage-lighting at the venue.   

Our goal is for our clients to have a winning color and enjoyable tanning experience. We appreciate any feedback you might have (good or otherwise) with regard to your color or our service.


As the tanning sponsor we highly recommend athletes use the makeup/hair sponsor for any given event. For Jeff Taylor promoted shows we recommend:

Flawless Hair & Makeup: