Colour blending — the true art of spray tanning. But what does the term colour blending really mean?
To blend is to mix together thoroughly, and in the realm of spray tan solutions this means we colour blend solutions with skin undertones to create flawless, natural looking results. If you haven’t already been applying some type of colour theory to your spray tan method well, there’s no time like the present and I promise after reading this article, you will feel inspired (and confident) to apply colour theory to your blending process. Why? Because nothing will have more of an impact on your level of service as a spray tan artist, than the careful application of colour theory.
Across various artistries, colour theory becomes an integral pillar of curriculum. Makeup, hair, special FX, these all require a baseline understanding of colour theory. Unfortunately, it is not taught in spray tan artistry — which, in itself, is a major fault within the system. Spray tan technicians are all artists in our own way, and given the intricate nature of working with skin undertones, colour theory should be an essential part of our education while being certified. This is something that should be deemed as critical within training and, in my opinion, prospective artists should have to pass a test which demonstrates their knowledge of colour theory before receiving their certification.
To get you started, I’m going to go over a basic breakdown that can be useful for any spray tan artist. You can also check out my previous article detailing how to work with specific D.H.A colour bases (hyperlink this). For those of you with a vested interest in expanding your knowledge of colour theory, you can also download our colour blending guide for spray tan artists.
The three topics I am going to address today are:
- THE COLOUR WHEEL
- WARM, COOL, NEUTRAL TONES
- MIXING & BLENDING DHA & MATCH UNDER TONES
THE COLOUR WHEEL
What is a colour wheel? The colour wheel is a remarkable tool that empowers spray tan artists to effectively determine what solution will be a good fit for their client. In simple terms, it is basically an arrangement of colour spectrums (shaped in a circle) that reveal which colours are complimentary towards the other. The colour wheel consists of 3 types of colours: primary, secondary and territory. For a more detailed breakdown of what each of these categories means, click here.
Now, if you don’t own a colour wheel I would highly suggest you buying one (or downloading one online to keep on hand), as this will help you to successfully choose solutions that enhance and compliment a client’s natural skin undertone.
WARM, COOL, NEUTRAL TONES
There are three types of classifications for skin undertones which are then subcategorized into different kind colours. For example; you may have a warm undertone that offers a peachy hue. In this circumstance, we would use a green based D.H.A to compliment and counteract the “peach-like colour” found in your skin.
Those three classifications for skin undertones are warm, cool and neutral. This is where colour theory becomes especially important, as applying the wrong D.H.A with the wrong skin type can create a glaringly unnatural result, or even an orange/blue tone (which definitely isn’t the result your client is paying for). There is a reason there are so many different D.H.A based solutions on the market, after all, so pay close attention when matching a solution based with each client’s skin undertone.
MIXING & BLENDING DHA & MATCH UNDER TONES
Once you’ve established a thorough understanding of tones, shades, skin types and skin undertone, you can begin to master what I like to call D.H.A mixology. By this, I mean you can ‘create your own essence’ in the industry by blending different D.H.A based solutions within each other, creating customized results for your clients.
Utilizing colour theory in this manner will allow you to differentiate your services and offer unrivalled results (that keep clients coming back time and time again). Rather than limiting yourself to simply applying straight products onto your client’s skin, you’ll be able to leverage a competitive edge in the industry. Not only that, but as you progress as a spray tan artist you might decide you want to create your own solution line for your salon. With a strong foundation in colour theory education, you’ll be able to guarantee results of your product by understanding the cosmetic makeup example behind each solution.
Finding success as a spray tan artist requires the curation of a perfect tan, for each client, every visit. Taking the time to expand your knowledge as a technician will not only equip you with the tools to enhance your service, but will instil the confidence and expertise you need to make a name for yourself within an ever-competitive industry.