Sun tanning vs. spray tanning vs. bed tanning vs. self-tanning: Which one is best?

Sun tanning vs. spray tanning vs. bed tanning vs. self-tanning: Which one is best?

If you want to achieve a deep, even, gorgeous tan, there are many different options available to you. Each one has its pros and cons, and some of them are unquestionably safer and easier than others. But which one is the best? In this blog, we go over the benefits and drawbacks of each tanning option so you can make an informed decision next time you’re looking to get a glow. 


Sun tanning:

Anthelios Ultra Fluid Face Sunscreen SPF 50 from La Roche-PosayLet’s start with the pros. This is without a doubt the most cost-effective tanning method since it costs nothing to just lay out in the sun. Moderate amounts of sunlight stimulate vitamin D production which is a plus. It also just feels good to take in some sun, especially when us Torontonians are so sun-deprived for a good six months every year. But getting too much sun can be unreliable and dangerous. Many people find it difficult to tan naturally under the sun, and if you stay out too long, you increase your UV exposure and chances of getting a sunburn. If you’re looking for a deep tan, you’d potentially have to commit hours to laying out in the sun. And unfortunately, the longer you sit out in the sun, the more you increase your risk of getting skin cancer in the future. If you do choose to suntan, always be sure to wear an SPF! Our go-to face SPF is Anthelios Ultra Fluid Face Sunscreen SPF 50 from La Roche-Posay (Shoppers, $29), it applies well at the end of our morning skincare routine and is great for our sensitive skin!


Bed tanning:

Bed tanning, also known as indoor tanning or booth tanning is a marginally safer tanning option compared to sun tanning. Most tanning salons limit you to spending an absolute maximum of 25 minutes in a tanning bed, which contains your UV exposure to a safer amount. Tanning salons usually also prohibit their customers from tanning more than once in a 48-hour period, which keeps you from getting sunburned. But unlike outdoor tanning, tanning beds emit concentrated radiation within inches of your skin. What’s worse is that tanning beds emit mostly UVA rays, which penetrate a deeper layer of the skin, causing greater damage. The sun emits both UVA and UVB, UVB is still not safe, but only affects the outermost layers of your skin. Overall, exposing your skin to any type of UV rays damages your skin. The damage caused by UV is cumulative, meaning later on you’ll be more prone to wrinkles, uneven skin tone, skin discolouration, and skin sagging. 




There is an abundance of self-tanning options on the market, ranging from lotions to oils, to mousse. These self-tanners work over the course of a couple of hours to build up a deep, natural-looking tan. Depending on your skin-tone, you may have to experiment a bit to find the best option for you. If you choose to self-tan, make sure to moisturize and thoroughly exfoliate your entire body beforehand. Self-tan can attach to dry spots on the skin, causing a blotchy result. You’ll also want to use an applicator glove to ensure the product spreads evenly and to avoid making your hands stained. It’s best to apply self-tanner if you have someone to help, it’s super hard to get your entire back unless you’re double-jointed… While the tan sets for a few hours, be cautious of what you wear/touch because the tanner easily rubs off and can stain fabric. If this seems like a lot of work, but you like the idea of avoiding UV rays, we have one last tanning option for you…



Spray tanning:

The mobile spray tanning booth set up in a spray tanning client's homeIf you’re worried about sunburns, skin damage, and blotchy tans, spray tanning is the option for you! Instead of UV rays, spray tans use an all-natural solution that causes a reaction with the pigments in your skin, turning them darker. Spray tans have gotten a bad reputation in past years, people fear that oompa-loompa orange tan. But this is an issue of the past, spray tans today don’t use orange pigment, only brown. And what’s better than a safe, spray tan? A spray tan done in the comfort of your home. So @ all you lazy girls that would have attempted self-tanner, skip the blotchiness, and book an in-home spray tan with our mobile technicians. Our spray tan technicians are trained professionals, they can customize a tan that’s exactly as dark as you want it to be. The best part of in-home tanning is that it eliminates that post-appointment stress, you don’t need to worry about rain or which clothes you’re willing to get tan on. Pictured to the right is the tent that’s used for mobile appointments. It’s super compact and can be set-up in even the smallest spaces. There’s a fan that keeps the mess contained to the tent, so you’re left with zero cleanup after.


To book your next spray tan and view our available spray tan technicians, click here!


If you have any other questions, feel free to email us at

about primped

Primped is an online booking technology that combines the availability of multiple freelance beauty pros who will bring their services to you, meaning you can book appointments according to your schedule and enjoy the convenience of in-home service.