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Professional Competition Tanning

Professional Competition Tanning


Article By Christina Squire from Beauty Impressions |

Beauty Impressions started over 3 years ago as a Melbourne based mobile waxing and spray tanning business. I started this business after working for over 13 years in salons around the city. I took the passion I have for the beauty industry and decided to fulfill my dream of having my own business.

Right from the beginning, Beauty Impressions had many clients in the entertainment industry, from aspiring beauty queens to professional dancers. For several years now, I’ve also been lucky enough to spray tan football players for the final footy show review. Yet another girls dream!

My first foray into the professional body building industry began when a reputable beauty supply company offered me a sample of their competition tanning spray tan solution.

As I am always looking for the best possible solutions, I like to experiment with different products, so I took them up on their generous offer. After testing on some of my clients, who at the time where doing their full time performing arts course, they loved the dark colour and began booking for their mid year showcase event.

Although my clients loved this newfound solution, I had the feeling I was not using the product to its full potential. I began researching and came across competition tanning instructions and was keen to learn more about the competition tanning process.

So I did what any young business person does these days, I turned to the wonderful world of Facebook and was on the lookout for a bodybuilder that would accept my friend request… and yes! I quickly found one and soon we were friends. Excited to explore new techniques, I had him all booked in for an appointment.

I followed the instructions to the letter, but after three applications in three days, it was nowhere near as dark as it needed to be. I learned my first lesson with competition tanning is, “ If you think you are too dark, do another coat.”

The saying is so true, “Timing is everything.” It just so happened to be the start of the bodybuilding season and my new client loved my tanning technique, not to mention the ease of my mobile services, and booked in his spray tans for the competition using a solution called Contest Colour.

I loved this industry, and before I knew it I was booked up with competitors. I feel I have found my niche, the competitors are not only judged on their amazing physique, but also their skin condition and tan on the day. Knowing that my clients are being judged on my tanning techniques, I wanted to make sure I was doing the best job I could do. I got in touch with the owner and inventor of Contest Colour, Phil Kabakoff.

Somehow once again timing was on my side. He just happened to be in Melbourne for the bodybuilding competition and had time to meet with me. It was truly an eye opening experience, the man really does know his stuff, and I can’t thank Phil enough for his wisdom and guidance.

The biggest Bodybuilding competition here in Melbourne is FitX, which is held at the convention center in March every year.  This is the busiest time of year for me as there are so many competitors that arrive from all over Australia who come to compete. FitX is where the only professional bodybuilding competition in Australia takes place, so not only are there local competitors, but also well known professionals form from overseas. This year I was fortunate enough to tan a few of the big name professional body builders, which has truly been the highlight of my business.

There are so many Competition tans on the market these days, with; Jan Tana, Pro Tan, sunTANon, Contest Colour and many more.  Of course, I use whichever product my client requests, but I always go back to Contest Colour. Personally speaking, I like to use the best products available and Contest Colour is the one for me. For anybody interested in checking it out, it can now be ordered online through Bioflex Nutrition.

Competition tanning can be very tricky, it can very quickly go wrong if you do not prep your skin correctly. These competitors have been working hard every day for months, sometimes years, to get their body in the best possible shape they can, but a terrible tan could be the deciding factor on the day. So there’s some pressure, but that is how we make diamonds!

Professional Competition Tanning
Perry Venakis and Sarah Allen. Competition Tanning by Christina Squire. (Photos: Supplied)


Your competition prep really starts a week out from Comp day. All hair removal must be done before you start your tanning process.

I believe that waxing is the best method for hair removal. I advise my clients to have their waxing done 7 days before the first tan coat.

After all hair is removed, make sure to use a good moisturiser, I recommend coconut oil for a few days, it is an amazing moisturiser. Now that your body is free of hair and has had a couple of days to settle down and recover, the tanning process begins.

For a Sunday competition the tanning process starts on the Monday beforehand.

I apply a product by Contest Colour (which can be ordered online from Bioflex Nutrition) called Equinox. This is to be applied lightly every day, for 3 days. Showering between coats is a must! Equinox will give you a base tan and will also prep your skin to allow it to absorb the tans.

After three days of Equinox it is time to start your spray tans.

Using Contest Colour tanning solution, I would do a spray tan every day for three days, this would be Thursday, Friday and Saturday (last tan being the night before comp or even the morning of).

With every visit, I would apply 3-6 coats of solution. Always advising my client to shower with only water, no soap, between each visit. This will even out the tan and also get rid of any overspray. Showering should be done no sooner then 6 hours after application, even longer if possible. By the third spray tan you should be left with a very dark bronze looking tan.

This isn’t the end of the competition tanning process, now that the important base tan is complete, it’s time for the top coat. This is to be applied on the morning of the competition, just before they enter on stage.

The product I use for top coat is Body Shimmer. The top coat shimmer does not set and can be marked easily so be sure to touch up throughout the day of the competition.

This is just one way that I would get a client ready for competition; my technique will differ depending on which division my client is entered into. At bodybuilding competitions there can be numerous different divisions ranging from; Fitness models, Bikini models, Beach Boy, Figure, Physique and then Bodybuilding. You need to make sure that you carefully choose how you approach each individual person. A good tan can make or break a person on the day, so it is important to go with a therapist that has experience in competition tanning. Everybody wants his or her hard work to pay off, I’m just glad to be a part of it all.

Melbourne, VIC, Australia
Phone: 0413 035 817

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