When we introduced spray tanning nearly 16 years ago, it created an exciting opportunity that spawned an industry—but it also created a major problem.
The first spray tanning was literally done with traditional handheld airbrushes that created great looking tans… but took WAY TOO LONG to administer. The problem was simple: airbrushes were designed to create precise artwork in a relatively small space. The idea of covering an entire body with that equipment—and doing so all day long, tan after tan, for years on end—was neither practical nor realistic.
So the spray tanning industry looked for a way to apply a tan FAST with a reasonable amount of precision. Various types of machines were tested—everything from modified “power painters,” to large compressed air tanks, to “reverse vacuum” cleaner engines (where the nozzle is placed on the blower side instead of the intake side).
The Results, Unfortunately, Were (And Remain) Ugly:
The “reverse vacuum” motors, also known as turbines, have become the industry standard. Turbines were originally designed for applying paint to wooden furniture, doors, and fences and not for spray tanning people. These machines are loud and hot; they create a ton of wasted overspray, deliver a crude-looking tan devoid of artistic detail, and wear out, burn out, and die prematurely. This includes the TOP brands in the marketplace—Infinity Sun, Evolv Sunless, Sun FX, and Norvell. And every other major brand worldwide.
FANTASY TAN refused to take the easy and cheap route. Our equipment is so far ahead of the industry it is truly incomparable. While others were tinkering in the vacuum aisle or looking at power painter motors, we found a portable compressor being used by the US military to administer to emergency medical treatment in war zones. By necessity, the unit is small, lightweight, and completely portable. It’s a compressor, meaning it creates and uses compressed air which is much more manageable and reliable than vacuum cleaner turbine-powered air.
The Results Are Stunningly Superior:
- Our unit is self-contained in a roller-board suitcase and completely portable.
- The hoses that supply the air are smaller than your pinky; the competitors, more like a garden hose.
- The spray gun itself is much smaller and lighter—12.8 ounces vs. theirs at 1.5 to 2 pounds.
- Think about the above in terms of the energy needed from a technician applying 20 tans a day…
- Airbrush allows for super-realistic tans—even around hair lines, finger tips, knees, elbows, & other tricky spots.
- Modular—if you need service (rare), individual components can be sent instead of the entire unit.
- WAY QUIETER: Ours hums along at a pleasant 40 decibels; the others are in the 80 to 85 db range…
- That doesn’t sound too bad until you consider 80 decibels is actually TEN TIMES louder than 40 db…
Some of the deficiencies of the competitive equipment (loud, heavy, non-durable, expensive, etc.) MIGHT be forgivable if those machines produced a better-looking, more realistic tan. Unfortunately, for all their drawbacks, you ultimately end up with a machine that makes your customers look WORSE. In fact, MUCH worse.
The genius of the Fantasy Tan equipment is that it has not abandoned its airbrush origins—it still uses compressed air to propel the solution out of the application gun and onto your customer. Compressed air is far superior to turbine-based equipment (based on vacuum cleaner motor technology) because it delivers a much FASTER airstream, and thereby allows for much greater precision and control of the solution being applied.
Think of it this way: A vacuum motor simply does not create enough energy to push air through a hose fast enough to create a “pinpoint” thin stream of powerful air. That’s why the other brands use a huge hose—approximately the thickness of a garden hose—and a massive, imprecise spray gun that looks more adapted to painting a car. Our hose is thinner than your pinky and our mini spray gun is a svelte and elegant as an artists’ tool. Because it IS an artist’s tool.
Simply put, the imprecision of the vacuum motor turbine causes a TON of overspray, which causes you problems in at least THREE major ways:
Costs Too Much
More of your solution ends up on the walls and floor, which means you lose money on wasted solution.
Mess To Clean Up
When more solution ends on the walls and floor, you’ve got a huge mess to deal with.
The reason the solution is ending up on the wall and floor is because it’s not spraying in a tight, precise pattern. This makes for an awful looking tan.
Let’s dwell on that last point for just a minute—how does your customer LOOK after a tan? Can you tan right up to the hair line and fingernails? You can with Fantasy Tan. Can you make knees and elbows look as natural as a real tan? What about working around blemishes, moles, scars, and other skin problems? No problem with Fantasy Tan. In short, your customers will look FANTASTIC. With the vacuum motor-based “power painter?” Not so much.
Believe it or not, when we designed our equipment, we took some inspiration from the airport. Specifically, we knew that many salon owners or mobile tanners would want to transport this equipment from location to location to maximize their revenue potential. But to do the job right, the equipment must have a compressor and be heavy duty enough to withstand all of the back and forth abuse. The equipment weighs about 40 pounds—is this a bit heavy for the average technician?
We took a field trip to Chicago’s Midway airport to find out. We observed people with suitcases; big ones, little ones, heavy ones, light ones. And to our surprise, we observed that just about anybody could easily tote a 40-pound bag around provided the suitcase had wheels and a handle. Even the most petite women could easily manage a medium-sized bag of this weight. That’s how we decided to build our system right into a roller-board suitcase with a telescoping handle—to make it EASY for you to deal with.
Weighing in at 40 pounds, it’s still one of the lightest products in its class. Our major competitors that offer heavy-duty systems weigh in somewhere in the 80 to 90 pound range—yes, more than DOUBLE the weight. Why so heavy? Because they are not really mobile systems; they were designed to stay in one place, but competitors will sell them as mobile. Buyer beware. Some of them do offer “mobile” versions… which sounds pretty good until you realize that the tradeoff for size & weight is a micro motor with even less blowing capacity which applies spray tan even more crudely (and with even more overspray) and wears out even faster (generally only lasting 6 to 12 months). These mini systems were not designed for professional use. Their original purpose was for at-home use.
Which of the following is worse?
Risking your technician’s long-term hearing by constantly exposing him or her to 80 to 85 decibels of ear-pounding motor whining… OR, annoying your spray tanning guests who have to listen to the same racket while unpleasantly getting their tans applied… OR, destroying the tranquility of your spa and ruining the experience for the rest of your guests?
The answer, obviously, is ALL OF THE ABOVE. But unfortunately, that’s exactly what you’re guaranteeing when you go with a vacuum-motor-based HVLP turbine spray tanning system.
That’s because vacuum-motor-based turbine machines are loud. Really loud. They have an average sound level of 80 to 85 decibels—the equivalent of a garbage disposal, freight train at 15 meters, a propeller plane at 1,000 ft, or a food blender (see chart below). Fantasy tan equipment, meanwhile, is made from medical-grade compressors that hum along at a pleasant 40 to 45 decibels— about TEN TIMES QUIETER (see chart); about the same as an exhaust fan.
What’s worse is the companies that manufacture these eardrum-splitters have painted themselves into a corner: by enclosing the loud motors in sound-muffling plastic cases (that also attempt to make them look prettier), they raise the level of heat generated to dangerous levels (dangerous to the equipment, that is). That plus overspray getting inside the machine spells double trouble.
Frequent breakdowns and dramatically reduced equipment lifespan is the inevitable result. In fact, the average potential lifespan of Fantasy Tan’s equipment is unlimited, compared with 1.8 years for the vacuum motors. Not to mention the fact that those hot machines will quickly make small salon rooms swelter after an entire day of tanning. Once turbines break down, they are usually unrepairable—or not worth repairing—and need to be replaced.
And Our Equipment’s Modular Design Means If You Do Need Repairs, They’re Fast, Easy, & Inexpensive
It’s not rocket science, and it’s not an empty promise. It’s a simple fact: our equipment lasts a lifetime longer for 3 simple reasons: 1) It’s built using stronger, medical-rated components, and 2) because its compressor-based, it’s not prone to the rapid deterioration caused by excessive heat and motor wear.
Click here to learn how heat and overspray absolutely kills equipment. 3) It’s modular. This means that all components are plug-and-play. If a component fails, no problem. Just remove it and put the new one in and you’re back up and running in MINUTES.
3 Year “Bumper To Bumper” Warranty: Everything’s covered for 3 full years; there’s nothing to worry about. And if you’re wondering why the warranty (3 years) is shorter than the lifespan… it’s simple: it is a machine, it does need some basic preventative maintenance (similar to how a car needs oil changes). If you take care of your equipment, it will take care of you. And last for a lifetime.
So Easy To Fix, Even YOU Can Do It (Yes, YOU!): After 3 years, if you do need to make repairs, over 95% of them can be easily be made by YOU. That’s right—our machines are modular, meaning that it is easy to pinpoint the problem, then we can overnight a replacement part to you… which can generally be installed by removing a couple of screws with the help of telephone support and our video walk throughs. Very, very easy. For the other 5% when you may have to send your machine in for service, we can issue a loaner to get you by in the meantime. We’ve got you covered. Your downtime is always minimal, so you keep making money. No video to watch.
Jump to a question:
- What Do You Mean By “Vacuum Cleaner-Based Motor?”
- You Say That Other Spray Tanning Equipment Is Loud… Is It Really THAT Loud?
- Why Don’t Other Spray Tanning Companies Adopt Fantasy Tan’s Air Compressor Technology?
- I’ve Heard That Fantasy Tan Solution Is “Cold” When It Sprays On Is That True?
- I Know Nothing About Tools Or Fixing Things… Yet You Say I Can Fix Your Machine Myself?
Q: What Do You Mean By “Vacuum Cleaner-Based Motor?”
A: All other brands of spray tanning equipment are based on equipment with motors that “blow” air through a hose at a rapid rate. Generally, these machines are based on the exact same technology as a vacuum cleaner; but obviously, they blow air OUT instead of sucking air IN. These motors are very loud and are not meant to run continuously for hours on end… and they easily overheat and burn out with extended use (like what is normal in a salon environment). These types of equipment should be avoided at all cost.
Q: You Say That Other Spray Tanning Equipment Is Loud… Is It Really THAT Loud?
A: At first glance, the difference between 40 decibels (Fantasy Tan) and 80-85 decibels (other brands) does not seem too extreme. But when you realize that the difference is NOT double the loudness, but actually 8 to 10 TIMES louder, that gives you an idea of how loud those systems are. The reason is simple: They use a vacuum cleaner-based motor that, well, sounds like a vacuum. Have you ever tried to hold a conversation with someone while vacuuming? Now imagine that for an entire 8-hour day. Yes, the other equipment really is THAT loud.
Q: Why Don’t Other Spray Tanning Companies Adopt Fantasy Tan’s Air Compressor Technology?
A: It’s simple economics: Their equipment costs far less to produce, so they make a lot more profit on each sale. And since their primary interest is in getting you to continually buy tanning solutions, they’re a lot less worried about making the equipment work right. Think of it like the hardware and software of a computer… with spray tanning, the equipment is the hardware, and the solutions are the software. Fantasy Tan is the only company that excels at BOTH. We’re the only company that has put any reasonable effort into maximizing the durability, operator comfort, effectiveness, and portability of our equipment.
Q: I Know Nothing About Tools Or Fixing Things… Yet You Say I Can Fix Your Machine Myself?
A: Nearly 100% of the time, yes. First realize that your Fantasy Tan system is not very likely to break down in the first place. But if it does, every part of the equipment is modular, meaning that the broken part can be isolated and easily replaced, usually with the removal of a couple of screws. We’ll ship the replacement part to you and have a technician walk you through the repair over the phone—this will speed up the repair dramatically, and reduce your down time (where you’re NOT making money) to less than a day. Other brands require the entire system to be (expensively) shipped in for service—leaving you with no spray tanning system while they repair it. Most of the manufacturers don’t actually perform the repairs themselves. They have to send it out to a 3rd party, which increases your down time even more.