How Much Does Tanning Cost?

Written by: Staff

Tanning can happen via a tanning bed, spray, or even by simply rubbing a lotion on your skin.  Of course, the most natural way is by the sun itself, but many prefer a bed due to the speed, convenience and results.  The cost of tanning is going to depend on the location, the type of tanning, length of session and the company.

tanning bed by Whatsername?, on Flickr
tanning bed” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by  Whatsername?

How much does tanning cost?

On average, a single session at a local tanning salon can cost anywhere from $7 to $25 for a basic tan that lasts around 7 to 20 minutes. This price could be higher if the salon uses a higher-end tanning bed.

Tanning salons may charge either by the month, which allows you to tan an unlimited number of times; it may also include a bulk minute package, where once your minutes are up, you will have to renew.  Monthly tanning rates for a tanning bed can range anywhere from $20 to as much as $125.  On average, most people spend between $20 and $55 a month.

Zoom Tan, a popular tanning salon, for instance, charges $12 per visit or $59 per month for unlimited tans.

Bulk sessions can also be purchased and something like this can cost anywhere from three sessions for $15 to $60 to 15 sessions for $45 to $200.

Spray tanning can cost anywhere from $20 to $65 per session depending on how it’s done.  A machine will cost about $25 to $50 per session, while an airbrush can cost up to $75.

Tanning lotions that do not require a bed can cost anywhere from $15 to $75, depending on the brand.

Sol Sisters Tanning, located in Wisconsin, charges $8 to $20 for a one-time tan, depending on the level.  Its unlimited tanning memberships can cost anywhere from $30 to $70, again, depending on the level.

Tanning beds can often be found at gyms as well.  Some franchises, such as Planet Fitness, may include it in its memberships, other gyms, such as Anytime Fitness, may charge an additional $20 per month, but this all depends on the gym’s owner as each one is independently owned.

Tanning overview

Tanning salons will commonly have two options:  either pay as you go or a monthly membership.  Pay as you go is just what it is — you pay every time you want to tan.  Monthly memberships, on the other hand, will have either a set amount of minutes or it can include unlimited tanning.

The most common way to tan is by using a bed, but another popular method includes spray tanning.  As a nice alternative, spray tanning will take a few minutes and can either be done by a machine or it can be done by a professional using an airbrush.

For first timers, an employee will show you where the beds are located, along with all sanitizing products and how the bed works.  Most tanning beds will be hooked up to a computer and will be automated, meaning the bed will turn on and off automatically.

Most tanning sessions are going to last up to 20 minutes.

What are the extra costs?

Tanning bed lotion is optional, but most will recommend it.  Lotions can cost anywhere from $15 to as much as $80 depending on the brand you purchase.  Most salons are going to mark up their prices at the salon, so it may be best to purchase ahead of time from a local retailer.

Many salons offer a VIP membership that allows you to receive special perks such as discounts on products, front of the line perks, unlimited tans, and more.  These membership cards can cost a few dollars more on top of the monthly membership fee.

If you tan a lot, tanning goggles are highly recommended.

Tips to know

Remember that the tanning salon has a limited number of beds; you may have to wait if you go during a busy time.  Some tanning salons may allow you to set up a reservation ahead of time.

Some salons may not allow you to go in without tanning lotion.  While some may offer a small sample packet, some may force you to buy it.

While spray tanning may seem like a good idea, it has gone wrong in the past, as notes.

To prepare for a spray tan, exfoliate your body to get rid of any dry/rough patches.  Next, shave any unwanted hair because excessive hair can often prevent the spray tan from sticking to your skin.  Lastly, wear loose clothing that you don’t care for as much because some sprays may rub off on your clothing when you leave the salon.

How can I save money?

Tanning is not necessary and of course, is for cosmetic purposes only.  When considering tanning, know about the dangers of doing so.

Tanning lotions work just as good as the bed.  Invest in a higher quality lotion and the results may be the same if not better and it will only be a fraction of the cost.

If you’re going to consider going to a local salon, consider looking for coupons and promotions in the local papers.  Since it’s a competitive industry, many will offer a discount to those who purchase packages up front in bulk.

If you only plan on going a few times, purchase the minutes instead of an unlimited pass.  Depending on the salon, these minutes shouldn’t expire and you can spread them out over the next few months.

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