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Like everything else in this sport there is no one correct tanning product or only one way of applying them - but here are a few things you need to consider when choosing your tanning product.

Do you have sensitive skin?

What category are you entering?

What colour is your bikini/costume/trunks?

Are you taking time off prior to your show?
Do you have to be tan free straight after the show?

Will you have someone to help on the day?

Do you get very nervous and stress badly?

Over time you will develop your own preferences to tanning and its applications but as beginners it is better to keep it simple and fuss free!!

Some federations have bans on particular tanning products so make sure you check with your promoter prior to purchasing something.

Some tanning products do not mix well with oils while others require an oil spray to bring out the best colour and appearance for stage.

Figure and sports model girls will sometimes use an application of glitter hairspray over their tan to highlight even further without adding more oil. This also helps set the tan.

Style on Stage stock one of the most comprehensive tanning product ranges in Australia. we believe that no one tanning product is the right tanning product – each has its benefits and I have tried to outline some of these below


Phil has been making and selling competition tanning products in Australia for as long as I can remember. I did my first show 17 years ago and I used his original contest colour back then.  Both the Acetone and Acetone Free Contest Colours are designed to be applied over a couple of days prior to your show date, using a number of methods – paint brush, roller or spray gun.   The acetone free formula is perfect for sensitive skin though it does not have the same drying quality that the original acetone version does. A mousse is also now available in the contest colour range and can be successfully applied with a sponge or puff.  After one or two applications (and a 6-8 hour wait) the excess tan and residue needs to be rinsed off in the shower – but not using soap – and then patted dry. Repeat application process until the desired darkness has been achieved, don’t rinse off the last coat though (unless it appears patchy and muddy with residue).

A top coat like body shimmer, tan master or dream tan (when allowed) can be applied over the base coat – normally applied the morning of the show or back stage well before you are due to go on.

Contest colour can also be worn without a top coat but will need the application of an oil or glaze for depth and shine.

Body shimmer and Tan Master are both top coat creams made by Phil Kabakoff Enterprises. The shimmer is translucent while the tan master is more opaque. You will need a good base coat to make these tans work well, as neither give complete coverage but act as a ‘highlighter’. Both are good products to use but do not dry completely (which means you have to be very careful of posing suits and bikinis) – and are applied like moisturiser, rubbing into the skin then patting out with the palm of the hand to smooth any lines from the application process.


Jan Tana is one of America’s most popular tanning products with 2 main versions available.

Hi Definition Mousse – A lovely golden brown product that is applied the day prior to your show with 2-3 coats recommended, but I suggest going maybe 3-4 coats as Australian competitors tend to tan darker than Americans do.

Ultra 1 Mousse – this product is designed to be used the day of the show – it is a stronger formulation than the Hi definition and tends to be a little redder in colour – but this will alter with each person using it.

Both products are affected by the application of deodorants and perfumes, so ensuring your skin is prepped and neutralised are highly recommended –  has excellent directions for use. Jan Tana recommends using her scrub and moisturiser for the week prior to your show.  The beauty of Jan Tana is that there is no need to rinse off in between coats and the mousse is applied with a sponge/puff, making it relatively mess free.

The use of top coats in not actually recommended but I know plenty of competitors that apply body shimmer or dream tan over Jan Tana successfully.  If no top coat is used then you would need to use the hi definition glaze to give a sheen to the skin.


Another popular American product, Pro Tan have been tanning competitors for years and years. Their base coat is very easy to apply and gives a beautiful golden brown tan. The bottles are only 250ml so 2 bottles would be recommended to ensure you have plenty for your show.  I do stock a large bottle with inbuilt spray gun but as it is an aerosol I cannot post this airmail so don’t readily advertise it – an awesome idea though!

Their range includes 2 different top coats that are applied over the Overnight Competition Colour – very similar to the PKE products in that one is opaque and the other is more translucent.

The Pro Tan range also includes a variety of other products which are generous in size and cost effective, including an exfoliator, hair remover and gel glaze. They also produce ‘bikini bite’ a roll on suit adhesive – a must for every figure girl to ensure her top and pants stay put!

One of the biggest drawcards for me is that the entire Pro Tan range is certified cruelty free and totally vegan. It may not be something you consider when choosing your tanning product but this company does not test on animals nor purchase base products that do either, and I think that is awesome!


The dream tan top coat cream is probably one of this country’s most popular tanning product – for ease of use and depth of colour it is awesome. For all its great attributes it also has some major downfalls. It is petroleum based which means it is very difficult to remove from surfaces like walls and toilets and vanity units. There has been many a case where promoters have had to fork out thousands of dollars for professional cleaning of venues after inconsiderate competitors have wiped their hands and feet on curtains and carpets or leant on white walls around the backstage area. This is the main reason that Dream Tan is banned from many overseas events (actually any product that can ‘wipe off’ has been banned in some US competitions) and here in Australia. There are still many competitors that think they can trick those around them by putting dream tan into a body shimmer tub............... it doesn’t work, the product has a very different  look  than most other products and we can tell when someone is wearing dream tan and when someone is wearing body shimmer or similar.

On the flip side – it is an awesome product when used correctly – NOT applied a few minutes before going on stage where it will leave you looking wet and slimy, but applied early the morning of the show or even the night prior to the show will ensure the tan is dry and has soaked into your skin leaving it with a beautiful golden shimmer. Dream tan applied too thickly will also smooth out hard earned definition and vascularity.

NOTE: Jo Rogers is the director and owner of Style on Stage, Australia’s biggest and most comprehensive ‘onstage preparation’ business and has been working in the fitness and body building industry for nearly 20 years. Her expertise is highly sought after and is a result of many years of hard work and trial and error. With this in mind it would be appreciated if this tanning information flyer not be copied or plagiarised in any way.

For further information or assistance feel free to contact Jo at

Posted By Style on Stage on 29th October 2015

Updated : 4th November 2015 | Words : 1372 | Views : 2823

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