You may be wondering what the difference is in receiving a spray tan from a tanning artist (a person) or standing in a spray tanning booth? It's all in the details:
One of the main differences is the quality of the solution used. Because a spray booth produces a lot of overspray into the air it wastes a good deal of solution. Most salons will use the cheapest solution in their machines such as Mystic Tan, or Magic Tan. These solutions produce an orange tint and a chemical smell. When you are sprayed by a person the solution is sprayed directly on the skin and they tend to use higher quality solutions (more expensive) which produce a natural brown color and do not smell bad.
Personal service. When entering a booth you have to apply the barrier cream yourself, stand in your bare feet and remember to switch positions quickly so as to not end up with missed areas. You will usually get tanner all over the bottoms of your feet, the palms of your hands, and your face will be too dark. When you are sprayed by a person she will apply the barrier cream for you, attach sticky feet to the soles of your feet, lotion to the palms of your hands and expertly guide you through the positions so as to tan every inch of you evenly. She will also listen to special requests and can contour areas of the body.
Dry time. When exiting the spray booth you are typically dripping with excess solution that you are told to wipe off with a towel. This can cause uneven tanning and streaking. When you are sprayed by a tanning artist she will use a very fine mist to tan you. The HVLP machine she uses also blows air on you during the session which dries the solution very quickly producing an even tan.
Price. This is a difference which a lot of people use to make their decision. You really get what you pay for when it comes to spray tanning so if you want a realistic tan go for the airbrush. The best way to decide is to take pictures of yourself one day after the tan so you have a visual reference of the results. No one wants to look like an oompa-loompa in their wedding album!