Savanna Jackson entered her first contest at just 10-months-old and now undergoes monthly tanning sessions.
She stands in a special tent while being sprayed with an airbrush and a roller is then used to even out any blotchy patches.
But her mother Lauren Jackson – who spends up to £3,000($4666) per month taking Savanna to pageants – says the process is perfectly safe and her daughter "loves" her darker skin tone.
"I just want her to have the best possible opportunity to win. Besides, Savanna loves it. Now, it's a must for every pageant," she said.
"To me the pageants are about having fun, building up her self-esteem, and giving my girl the best possible opportunity in life.
Ms Jackson, 26, from Michigan, USA, first entered Savanna into a 'natural pageant' – which allows little or no make-up and limited amounts of embellishments on the gown or dress – when she was just 10-months-old.
To the delight of the family Savanna won, and she has been entered into pageants ever since.
Within a year Ms Roberts, Savanna and grandmother Sherry were travelling up and down the USA competing in pageants.
They soon realized that young contestants of Savanna's age were using spray tans and took the plunge themselves.
"There is a line but I strongly feel I've kept Savanna on the right side of it," she said.
"I'd never even consider surgery or Botox – she already wears more make-up than I do!"