Spray Tan Tips

What is Spray Tanning? 

Spray tanning is a method of sunless tanning, where a tanning mist or spray is applied on the body. Since tanning creams sometimes get flack for being a bit streaky and messy, avid tanners often opt for faster, simpler solutions—the spray tan.

There are three types of spray tanning: Salon spray tan booths, airbrushing, and self-tanning sprays in a bottle.

The following spray tan tips will guide you through the process of what to do before, during, and after your spray tan, to help you get the best results for that flawless tan you’ve always wanted.

Tips For The Day Before Your Tan

Spray Tan TipsShaving and Waxing

It’s recommended that you wax or shave the day before your spray tan, at least 24 hours before. The reason for this is that it will allow your pores and hair follicles to close up before you get your tan.


For all the mani and pedi lovers, make sure to get your manicure and/or pedicure before your tanning session. If you get your mani/pedi after spray tanning, the nail polish removers (with chemicals like acetone) and other scrubs used at nail salons can potentially remove some of your tan, and we don’t want that now do we.

Spray Tan Tips For The Day Of Your Tan


One good spray tan tip to remember is to make sure to shower before you go in for your tan, since you will not be able to touch water for 8-10 hours after your tan. Remove any moisturizers, body lotion, make-up, deodorant, or perfume as these can affect how the tanning solution absorbs into your skin.

Try not to use any bar soap of any kind; soaps generally leave a thin layer of film on your skin, which can potentially be a barrier to the tanning solution.

Oil Products

Try not to use any products with oil in it, since the oil in these products can be a barrier to the spray tan solution making proper contact and absorption onto your skin.


Any products that include moisturizers (lotions, etc) can block the spray tan from properly absorbing into your skin.


One tip to a long lasting spray tan that many look over is the exfoliation piece. When the tanning solution is sprayed on your body, it affects the top layer of your skin. If you haven’t exfoliated, your skin will have a thicker layer of dead skin cells, making it easier and faster for the tanning solution to rub off.

However, if you exfoliate properly, you will have a thinner layer of dead skin, making your tan last much longer. Make sure to exfoliate your skin thoroughly the day of your tan, before you get your spray tan.

If you shave, you should shave the day before, and exfoliate the day of, as shaving creates microscopic cuts which can make exfoliating on the same day painful.

Brushing Your Teeth

Make sure to brush your teeth before your tanning session appointment. If you brush your teeth after (within 8-10 hours), you may get streaks from water dripping down your chin or arm, or it may leave a white ring around your mouth.


Avoid touching water for at least 8 hours after your tanning session; your tan still needs time to set, so you want to make sure you get maximum absorption before getting in contact with water.

During Your Spray Tan


For women, you can wear a bathing suit, bandeau (strapless bathing suit or top), thong, or opt for nothing at all. For men, generally speaking, you can wear boxers, briefs, swim suits, socks or thongs; however, men cannot tan nude.

Make sure to check with your tanning salon if want to learn more about their policies and rules on what you can wear during your tanning session.

Barrier Cream

Most tanning salons will provide customers with a pre-tan barrier cream to use before the tan, to protect hands, feet, knees, and elbows from the tanning solution.

These areas generally tend to absorb more product. If you are using a self tanning spray, you can also use Vaseline or a similar ointment as a substitute, if you don’t have barrier cream.

After Your Spray Tan Tips

Barrier Cream

Make sure to wipe off any barrier cream after tanning.


You can put your clothes back on after the spray session. Generally speaking, tanning sprays should not leave marks on your clothes. However, you should avoid wearing the nicest things in your closet, just to be safe.


Avoid using any lotions, moisturizers, or perfume on the same day after your tan.


When wearing make-up, use foundations and bronzers that matches your tanned skin tone, for even skin color.

Working Out

You can feel free to exercise and work up a sweat the day after your spray tan, knowing that your tan will look great and won’t sweat off.


Avoid contact with chlorine (so no swimming in chlorinated pools or water), since the chemical can make your tan fade out.


Try not to shave or use coarse products (e.g. exfoliators) for a few days to help your spray tan last longer.

Tan Extenders

Though the solution will continue to develop for up to 12 hours, it’s good to invest in a tan extender, particularly those with DHA. This will help decrease fading and give you a longer lasting tan.

Now Get Your Tan On

Sun tanningYour first time going to a salon for a spray tan or doing the tan at home on your own can be nerve wrecking. However, knowing some of the basic spray tan tips can really enhance your experience, not to mention, help you get that nice, gorgeous glow.

Read more about tanning lotions and accelarators at www.taninsider.com



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