[Updated] The tanning trends to watch this year

After a turbulent 18 months due to the coronavirus pandemic, tanning has become so much more than a way for clients to get their glow on. We speak to the experts about why tanning is more vital than ever on your treatment menu and the 2022 trends to look out for. 

When it comes to spray tan treatments, chances are your clients used to book in for them ahead of a special occasion, be it a holiday, wedding (check out our tips for spray tanning brides) or a night out. But according to the pros, there’s been a change of attitudes over the past few years, with clients seeing sunless tanning as a self-care act that raises their spirits and puts a smile on their faces.

“We’re seeing a huge shift in when our clients are tanning,” says celebrity tanner Jules Von Hep, who tans the likes of actresses Blake Lively, Lily James and Sienna Miller. “2020 brought a new tanner to the market – one that tans for confidence and a hit of feel good. This doesn’t only happen on a Thursday ahead of the weekend, but any day of the week instead.”

This is something celebrity tanner Amanda Harrington has noticed among her clients too. “Tanning is moving beyond a seasonal treatment to an all-year-round requirement,” she says.

The mood boost that comes courtesy of a spray tanning treatment is something Harrington is familiar with too. Having given a golden glow to A-listers including Jennifer Aniston and Dua Lipa, she knows what a difference it can make to your client’s day, or even week. “I’ve always loved the way a tanning treatment makes the client feel, and that is why I do it,” she says. “Clients always feel happier and more confident in their own skin.”

Gary Lipman, chief executive of The JK Group and chairman of The Sunbed Association, agrees that people are buying into tanning for more than just a healthy appearance. “2021 proved a busy year for the professional indoor tanning sector, as more and more people desired the feel-good feeling they get from tanning,” he says. “The tan itself is important, but the process of getting the tan, the entire salon and the tanning session experience is more important now than it ever has been.”

So, how can business owners and tanning professionals ensure clients are getting the hit of self-care they desire from their treatment? Weave self-care and 2022’s biggest tanning trends into your treatment offering and you’ll be golden.

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The five hottest tanning trends for 2022 are:

1. Tailor your treatments to the individual

With at-home tanning products so sophisticated now, and many pro-tanners selling stellar DIY self-tan lines, professionals need to offer clients more from their sunless tanning session.

“Provide your customers with something they can’t achieve at home and give them a bespoke experience tailored to them that provides self-care as well as aesthetic benefits,” says Harrington. “The service needs to feel connected to the customer and their individual needs to ensure they keep returning and adding additional treatments to their usual visits.”

“I tailor my tanning technique to achieve what the client wants and the ‘reason’ for their treatment,” she continues. “I consider the season, any events they’re attending, their tanning shade preference and any special outfits they’ll be wearing post-tan.”

Also, don't miss our guide to tanning clients with different needs, such as the elderly, pregnant and those with reduced mobility

2. Use bespoke tanning formulas

Part of making the treatment bespoke is using high-quality formulas with customisable shades. As Jules Von Hep points out, there’s no place in the industry anymore for “one-size-fits-all tanning.”

Customers are no longer satisfied with one-dimensional colour, with shade options of light, medium and dark, which can result in ill-matching results, Harrington concurs. “Clients have started asking for much more from their tanning product and consider how it sits on their skin,” she adds. “People want bespoke colours tailored to their skin tone, as well as a colour blend that lasts, fades naturally and is non-drying.”

Find out everything you need to know about customisable tanning.

3. Invest in tanning products skincare ingredients

Because people are tanning all year round now, even on a weekly basis in some cases, there’s increasing demand for formulas that care for the skin as well as colour it. Indeed, if you keep your eye on product innovations, you’ll have noticed that skincare ingredients are increasingly finding their way into tanning formulas and this shows no sign of slowing. “We’re seeing the inclusion of hyaluronic acid taking centre stage in the self-tanning arena,” says Von Hep.

Harrington believes this is because customers want hardworking, multi-tasking products that look after the health of their skin while providing a benefit – not only illuminating and hydrating, but also providing antioxidant protection.

“In 2022, tanning products will continue to develop in format, technology and texture to support everyone of all ages, skin type and tone,” she says.

Here are nine ways you can boost your tanning sales in salon

Model being spray tanned

4. Check in with your clients emotionally

As a beauty therapist, you’ll know how important you are to your clients mentally and what a great support you can be during tough times. Harrington advises keeping this in mind ahead of spray tan sessions and talking to your client about how their skin is behaving at the time of their appointment.

You may have tanned them before and achieved a picture-perfect result, but check in before each session to see how they’re doing. Harrington points out that stress and hormones, and the resulting skin conditions they cause, can affect the finish of their tan. “All of these elements are coming into the treatment room now,” she says.

5. Offer tanning as an alternative to make-up

Harrington champions seeing tan as a semi-permanent make-up base that clients can use instead of wearing layers of foundation – another reason tanning treatments are becoming a year-round must for clients.

“It’s a more natural skinfinishing look and, used this way, tan becomes integral in your client’s everyday routine,” she says – a sure-fire way to guarantee repeat bookings once customers get hooked on the mood boost it gives and how much quicker it makes their morning routine.

And if you do one thing this year, try and break into TV tanning...

Think of Dancing on Ice, Strictly and even Britain’s Got Talent and one of the first things that comes to mind is the ultra-impressive glow of the contestants and presenters. Breaking into the world of TV tanning can offer a goldmine of opportunities, but how do the pros recommend getting a foot in the exclusive TV door?

“As a spray tanner within the media circuit, I’m an extension of the make-up teams,” says Von Hep. “When you’re watching the TV credits roll, keep an eye out for the name of the make-up artist and reach out to them on social media to see if they need a tanner.”

Harrington sees make-up artists as the essential way into TV tanning too. “Make friends with the MUAs and hair artists of TV talent and get in touch with them to make them aware of you.”

The tanning brands used on TV shows can also work as an in, but it’s more of a long game. “There are certain tanning brands that are assigned to do TV shows, so look into these and work out a route to becoming a head tanning artist for them,” advises Harrington.

Did you hear? The ASA bans Instagram influencers' tanning ads for using "misleading" filters